Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Haiku, Volume XVI

Big change in weather
Fifty degrees out today.
Too cold for haiku

I went out for another middle-of-the-night run last night, and the temperature was in the low 50s or the high 40s. Bliss. For other stuff, I like weather in the 60s and 70s best, but if I had my choice I'd run every run in temperatures of 30-50F.

That said, it was a shock to the system, being my first cool weather run (by my probably skewed definitions) since, I suspect, April. For the first two miles, I found myself wishing I'd worn my light gloves or long sleeves so I could tuck my hands in. I ran 8 miles and it was nice to actually be able to enjoy the run and think about nothing, rather than be distracted by how disgustingly sweaty and gross I felt.

My approach to last night's run was a mixed bag. I must have left my Garmin turned on because the battery was dead. Though Chris offered her identical one, I took it as a sign that I should just go out and enjoy myself and not worry about pace. I did time myself with my watch, and I ran one of my most familiar courses so I know approximately where each mile "mark" is, but it prevented me from obsessively watching my pace.

But, despite my resolve to just go out and not worry about pace, once I got out in the chilly night air, it felt like I was pushing myself pretty hard. Though I'd contemplated 10 miles, my quads were aching pretty bad, and it was the middle of the night, so I decided I'd stop at 8 rather than taking the 2ish mile loop down into Mount Wolf. My fast pace turned out to be an illusion, though. My 8 miles was was at a pretty average (for me) pace of 9:54. I enjoyed the run, but I'm curious as to why it felt like I was going so much faster than I actually was. A couple theories:

1. Though I love running in the cold, it seems like I'm a little older and creakier in cold weather. Knees felt stiffer than usual and quads were much sorer than they should have been at this pace and distance. I do my IT band stretches before every run, but I have to remember to stretch the quads out more in the cold.

2. On the other hand, this could have been some leftover soreness from Tuesday's four miles at quite a bit faster than usual pace.

3. The neighborhood where I run is a pretty quiet one, but between it being 10:00 at night and not being distracted by how warm and humid I was, I was much more aware of the sound of my own footfalls than usual (which was kind of neat).

4. It really did seem like I just turned my brain off for a good portion of this run, which was nice, so I suspect that somewhere between mile two and mile five I slowed down w/o realizing it.

Whatever. It was a nice run.

It's been a good week of running. My 15, under pretty gross conditions last Saturday, gave me my confidence back and for different reasons Tuesday night's 4 miles and last night's 8 were two of my most enjoyable runs all summer. I don't think we're quite done with the heat and humidity here in Central PA, but this was a nice preview of the Fall.

I ignored Hal Higdon again this week, but my heart was in the right place (in the middle of my chest, slightly to the left side). Four miles on Tuesday was what he recommended, and that's what I did. I skipped Wednesday's 8-miles because of the rain, but then made it up yesterday, instead of the scheduled 4. Except it turned out that I misread the plan and it was supposed to be 7 miles. Oops.

While not officially a step-back week, this weekend is a step-back. It says "half marathon" on Sunday instead of a Saturday long run. I think that means I'm supposed to either be in a race or simulate race pace. But, since I treat the marathon as a long, slow, distance run, I'll probably just treat this as a regular long run, even though I've "raced" two half marathons previously.

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