I've been a bad boy. No running for nearly a week. We went to visit family for Christmas, and though we brought running clothes, they were never used. We did, however, get in a leisurely 4 mile hike on the famous Dipsea Trail in the Muir Woods. So beautiful! I'm trying to convince myself that the rest did me some good, and in reality, I'm sure it did, I'm just not sure I needed nearly a week of it... oh well.
So, today's run was an easy 1 hour (58 minutes to be precise) and I ran almost 7 miles in that time. I averaged a 8:30/mile. It felt good to get out and run. It does my soul good.
Saturday's 14 miler was tough. From the first mile on, my quads were heavy, and I just didn't have a lot of gas in the tank. I rolled my ankle around mile 4. The left one. Again. It didn't hurt long, but it was pretty tight the next morning coming down the stairs. I took sunday off, and was supposed to run a progressive run today, but my quads were still sore so I did an easy 4 miles on the treadmill.
Yesterday's run, intervals, went pretty well. All total I ran for about 1/2 an hour, and averaged a 7:32/mi. I'm pleased. I'm not gonna go into all the splits here. Why? Today's easy 45 minutes went well. My GPS watch didn't help me out at all, due to a dead battery.
My coach has been on me to get some racing in. I always figured it was because it forces you to run harder than you're probably used to. Gets those competitive juices flowing. I'm a pretty competitive person, so it was good to run it. I awoke at 5:30 to overcast skies and 53 degrees... perfect running weather. Sure, it's nice when the sun is shining and it's 70 degrees, but as soon as you start running, it gets much hotter. I had a few bowls of cereal with rice dream, (trying to cut back on dairy wherever possible, my acupuncturist thinks its wise), a cappuccino, and finished up with two pieces of toast with just a drizzle of honey. It's nature's energy gel! I arrived at the race with about 15 minutes to spare, parked about 1/2 mile from the start/finish line to avoid the parking mess and get my warmup in.
I got stuck about halfway back in the pack, so my first mile was probably around an 8:15. In retrospect it was probably a good thing to prevent me from going out too fast. Around mile 2 I was stuck near some heavy breather. He kept exhaling real loud- "WHEW! WHEW! WHEW!!!" I looked down to see I was running in the 7:20/mi range and worried I was going too fast, but hell, I felt good. It was around mile 3 I decided to just not worry about my pace, and just start to race. I tried to focus on keeping relaxed, and staying steady. Mile 4 brought a focus on other runners ahead of me, and a need to pick them off. It usually involved fixating on someone wearing a peculiar hat. First there was the woman in the santa hat, then it was a guy in a Dr. Seuss Cat in the Hat hat. Finally, around mile 5 I saw some dude wearing a hat, backwards, emblazoned with a pot leaf. I had to pick that guy off... and I did, about 30 yards from the finish line. Does that make me a dick? Maybe. One bad thing though- I got picked off by some dude near the finish I had passed 1/2 mile earlier on a short uphill. That sucked, but hey, it was my fault, I kicked too early. I didn't leave enough gas in the tank. I felt like I was gonna revisit my breakfast, but was able to keep things where they belonged. Two runners I saw weren't so lucky. One guy threw his groceries in the timing chip removal area.
I don't run many 10Ks, this was probably my 3rd or 4th, with my best time being 42:00 or around there that I ran many years ago. Today, I ran a 43:38, and was pretty pleased. I went into it just hoping to break 45 minutes.
I went on my run wednesday, a "Pain is Your Friend" run. (I thought it was my buddy, hmmm, I guess it's a different kind of friendship) It was an interval workout, 30 seconds hard, 1:30 walk, 1 minute hard, 1:30 walk, 1:30 hard, 1:30 walk... you get the idea. Well, I ran it at night, and for some stupid reason felt the need to be all anal retentive about logging splits... what a dumb ass I am sometimes. Anyway, it got to be too much, and really what's the point? Later that night I had some sinus problems. Big shocker, I know. It felt like I was catching a cold. Due to that, I 86'd my 7 miler scheduled the next day. I had class and was looking ahead to a 10K on saturday, which brings me to...
Yesterday's 11 miler was tough. Within the first mile, I knew it wasn't going to be a fun one. I had a rare, (though not unheard of) saturday audition in Santa Monica. Coincidentally, I had to play the role of a marathon runner, so I was dressed in my running clothes. I ran in Santa Monica right afterwards. I ended up running the very same route where I met my wife. I remember it like it was yesterday...
(cue the harp and squiggly lines onscreen)
We were training to run a marathon in Dublin, Ireland for the Arthritis Foundation. Every saturday morning, I'd make the long drive from Eagle Rock to Brentwood to train with the group. The coaches would separate us into different groups based on our fitness level and experience. I was running in the group with two other guys, or "the advanced group" and my wife was told to join us. I wanted her to feel welcome, so I told her to set the pace. I thought I was being nice. If you ask my wife, she'll tell you that she thought I was being a wise ass. I wasn't trying to be. Honest! I really just wanted her to feel like she was being accepted. She demurred, but I persisted. Finally, she accepted the offer, put her headset on and ran ahead of us. I remember thinking that was kind of a dick move. Well, the advanced group was somewhat accustomed to finishing each run with a bit of a kick. That run was no different. We did the kick, and passed her within the last mile (after she apparently killed herself to stay ahead of us). That's how we met.
And to think she actually married me.
Anyway, I ran that same route yesterday, and enjoyed the trip down memory lane.
It was the only thing I enjoyed on that run. Sometimes, you feel like crap, but push through that feeling. You stay with it, and down the road, you're rewarded by feeling a lot better, and kickin' ass. Yesterday there was no ass kickin'. After 2 miles, I knew I just had to gut out the next 9. The first 5 1/2 miles were all uphill, and when I turned around to run downhill, the wind buffeted me.
And from the "More-Information-Than-You-Needed- File", my left nipple got pretty chafed. Ouch.
Yeah, no surprise there. I've gone through puberty. But I have a theory. If my legs are hairy, I will fall on the trails, if they're relatively hairless, I'm good. No falls. You see, I have shaved my legs in the past. For running. Actually, if I'm honest, I waxed them a long time ago. Myself. Oh yes I did. I did it while I watched football one afternoon. (had to counteract the girlie-ness of it I guess) and yes, it did hurt about as much as you would expect. Now you're probably asking yourself, "Jeff, why in the hell would you do that?" Good question. I have done it for the same reason that cyclists do it. I used to think that they did it for speed, aerodynamics, crap like that. Not so. Cyclists do it in the event of a crash. You see, when you hit the pavement at a high rate of speed and you've got hairy legs, it doesn't scrape your skin off, it pulls it out in nasty clumps because of the hair. When you've got smooth legs, you get the nasty road rash, the scrape, but it's relatively clean, and when you're treating the wounds, it's much easier to do so when there isn't hair. All the scabbing... and trying to shave the area after you've had a bad scrape? Yeah, that sucks pretty hard too.
Great, great, Jeff. Can we get to it already?
Of course. In the past, when I've gone on long runs on the trails, I fall down occasionally. Could be a turned ankle, could be tired legs letting me down, just your basic stumble bum scenario, but whatever the reason, I have fallen on the trail too many times to mention and have the scars to prove it. That's when I started to get rid of most of the hair on my legs. I don't shave them. Sometimes I'd knock it back a bit, get the majority of it off, and it was like an insurance policy. If the legs were relatively hairless, then the trail gods would smile down upon me and let me pass unimpeded. But, when I have hair on them, and I start running longer distances on the trails, you can bet your butt that I'll find myself with blood running down a knee, or two...
My trail runs are getting to be in the 12-14 mile range, and my legs? Hairy.
You do the math.
Today's run: 4 mile negative split looked something like this:
Man, if I had a dollar for every time I had to scream that at the top of my lungs during a road run... well, let's just say I could bail out the big 3 automakers and still have enough for a new pair of Mizuno's. I had to scream it 3 times yesterday, along with a few other choice expletives. Always, it's the same thing. Someone, usually on their phone, with a dumb "Who, me?" look on their face as they nearly run me over. It usually happens when people are trying to beat oncoming traffic to make a left turn. Sometimes they're rolling through a stop sign to make a right turn. How do you miss a guy wearing a highlighter colored running jacket, reflective patches on the shoes, the jacket, the shorts... the flashing red light on my arm. No, really, I have it. I look like I f*&$#ing belong on the Las Vegas Strip.
Last night's run, 5, 3/4 mile repeats with a 1/4 recovery between each... I gotta tell ya, I was flyin'! At least it felt that way. It wasn't until the 4th repeat that I was starting to feel it, but still, I just felt strong. I felt fast. Could I be, (have a seat, this could be big) getting stronger?!
(cue the 2001 Space Odyssey theme)
Last night, I took my life into my own hands and ran on the road, in the fog, and ran 5 miles in 37:24. It averages out to 7:29/mile with an average heart rate of 156/bpm.
Now for those of you who run, and run like the wind, those numbers will be, less than impressive. But for me? The Red Kenyan? The guy with cheeto legs? Those numbers represent not the next great thing in marathoning but something smaller, less perceptible. It's there if you look closely... little closer still. There it is: Progress. BOOYA! Yup, it's not big, it doesn't have Haile Gebrselassie (world record holder in the marathon) shaking in his skips or anything, but it does prove to me that hard work and patience will be rewarded.
I just returned from my easy One Hour Run this morning, and damn if I didn't feel good, again. I'm probably jinxing myself on this, but I did feel good. I ran 7.30 miles with an average of 8:28/mile, and 148/bpm heart rate.
There's a strange bump on the instep of my left foot.
How's that for a teaser at the beginning of a post?
I don't know if it's a bone spur, or just a natural bump on the bone of my foot, but when I press on it, it hurts. Solution: Don't press on it. Nice. I only bring this up because it seems as though my trail runs bother it more often than my road runs. Coincidence? Perhaps. In any event, it doesn't seem to really bother my running much. It aches usually only after a run, not during. Well, not yet anyway. I should probably have Dr. Schwartz, my podiatrist check it out in the new year.
The 12 miler on saturday felt pretty damn good, if I do say so myself. The 2 mile downhill on pavement to finish the run, however, did not feel so damn good. It beat the shit out of my little chicken quads. Bawk bawk bawk!
Well, as expected, my Turkey Trot never happened. I just couldn't swing it. Not with 12 people coming over for Thanksgiving dinner last thursday. And really, let's be honest, the idea of getting up at the crack of ass just to drive all the way to Long Beach to run a 6 miler with a couple thousand of my closest friends, and then race home to help set up, cook and clean for Thanksgiving? Um, no. Or rather, no thank you. My wife and I ran a nice 3 miler together, so that was good.
On another note, the football on Thanksgiving? Terrible. Really. What a joke.