Saturday, July 8, 2017

Slowly Getting Faster?

That's my best 3.1 mile time of the spring and summer by over 20 seconds. Managed to go a little faster each mile, but didn't have a strong kick for the last tenth.

I didn't feel great today at the start. Tired, some pain in my left shin and ankle in the first half mile, but I just wanted to get this one over with.  When the cooler weather comes, I'll be ready.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Listen to Your Stupid Body

I ran 5K in 36 minutes (ok, 35:59) this morning, bringing to an end a week of really good runs. But, normally, I'd say "It's ok.  At least I got out there.  That's what this summer is all about."

But no.  I shouldn't have gotten out there, I should have stayed in bed with a heat pack on my back.

You see, I got trounced at badminton on Monday for about an hour and 15 minutes, my first time playing any racquet sport in several years.  I knew my back and shoulder would be sore.  And they were.  I was a little sore yesterday, but I felt ok yesterday and went on my run without incident, finishing 3.1 miles 34:29.  Pretty good!

Today...MUCH worse. It started to feel worse last night, when I was having trouble getting into a comfortable position to sleep, but it was even worse this morning: every motion was agony and if I did find a comfortable position, the muscle would painfully spasm after a few seconds.  "Maybe a run will loosen it up", I stupidly said to myself.

I got over to the school, back still spasm-ing, and my legs felt weak as I walked up a slighly inclined part of the parking lot.  "I'll feel better once I warm up", I stupidly thought.

I was wrong on both stupid counts.  I felt terrible, legs week, stride uneven, suffering through my 3.1, with my back feeling even worse when I finished.  At one point, around 9:30, I got up from my office chair, couldn't straighten up, and fell back in the chair with a "thud".  After a miserable day of back spasms, I'm only starting to feel a little better 13 hours later with a heating pad on my back.

I have been trying to tell myself that I won't always feel strong and have motivation, so I have to take advantage of the days that I do and get out there, rather than depending on that motivation to still be there that evening (when it's 85F) of the next day (when bed is so comfy).  But on the other hand, all the motivation in the world isn't going to help if you're legitimately injured.  Think before you run, and rest if you need it.  Don't be stupid like me.

To add insult to injury, my new Nike singlet looks very unflattering on me.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

I've Been to Hill and Back Again

I woke up a little before 6am, and my Vivoactive said it was 72 degrees.  I figuree that was the "coolest" weather I'm likely to have the rest of the weekend, and well, I don't always have motivation, so when I do, I need to make sure I get my butt there.

The sun was already bright by the time I got over to Northeastern.  I got out of my car.  It felt warm already, and I was dreading it.  I decided to make things worse.  I've been running the same 3.1 miles route since April, focusing more on consistency than speed or distance, and running the same route over and over really lets me have a good comparison from run to run.  Was I faster than usual?  How did I feel compared to other days?  It makes it nice when there's a day like Thursday, where I can say "Ok, I felt worse than usual, but it was because I was about 30 seconds/mile faster than usual".

Well, today I decided to mix it up.  I have a hilly 3-mile loop that starts at Northeastern High School in Manchester, goes down Maple Street & Walnut Street into Mt. Wolf, climbs up to Six Street, cuts over to Chestnut, which provides a steep downhill followed by a en even steeper uphill that takes me back to board road and my start.  It's brutal, and I'm disappointed by how non-hilly it looks on this GarminConnect elevation map.  (It looks much more impressive on my phone, but I left my phone downstairs and then I'd have to transfer things over to my computer and it's a pain).

Here's my normal route (my run from yesterday) for comparison:

Anyway, it hurt, but I'm really happy with how it went.  I had a faster pace than yesterday, even on a more difficult route.  It was a few degrees cooler and less humid, but with the sun beating down on me, I still felt like I was boiling.

While my wife and I were training for the Shamrock Half in 2016, we'd run our long run either Friday night or Saturday morning, and then I'd run this on Sunday, and I found it to be a good test of strength.  I think I'll start mixing it in again.  As Frank Shorter says, "Hills are speedwork in disguise."