Monday, July 21, 2008

Aches & pains and the whole darn thing

I would have been writing from a much more heartfelt perspective if I'd had time to write early this morning (before, during, and after I went running). Now I'm just writing from memory, as my body has almost returned to normal, and I am not sore in every muscle, joint, and pore of my skin.

What was the cause of this minor agony, you might ask? Just a simple, easy 15-mile run yesterday morning. Oh, it was easy enough then (as much as a 15-miler can be). It got a little harder last night, as I fed myself Tylenol before bed; and then this morning, at 6 a.m., I felt every hilly mile. In retrospect.

Yesterday was my last long run before the Anacortes Half-Marathon on Saturday. Ideally I would not have planned a really long run a week before the race, but thanks to the 5K last Saturday, my longest run last week was under ten miles, and I really wanted to hit the distance one more time.

Originally I was going to do twelve miles, but I was having trouble coming up with an uncomplicated 12-mile route. So I decided just to run to and from Mukilteo, using the most direct route possible, which would make the total about 14-15 miles.

I knew the road was hilly—I went about halfway there on a previous run and have done their 10K a couple of times. But what I'd sort of blocked out was the generally downhill nature of the road into Mukilteo, and thus, the generally uphill nature of the return!

I didn't leave home until about 10 a.m., lazily lounging in bed watching the Food Network for far too long. Luckily, even though it was a sunny day, it wasn't outrageously hot, and with a sleeveless shirt I never really got overheated.

The first few miles had some pretty decent hills (up), until I got about three or four miles along. At that point, while the road dipped both up and down, I was generally heading down towards sea level. I made myself a deal that if I got to 7.5 miles, I was turning around whether or not I was in Mukilteo. But I hit Lincoln Avenue at somewhere past seven miles, and that was my designated turnaround point.

And yes, the road out of Mukilteo was an uphill climb. Still, I was maintaining a pretty steady pace and felt okay. I knew I had passed pretty much the worst of it when I got to the 76 station by Our Savior's Lutheran Church. Only about four miles left to go. I stopped at the gas station to use the bathroom and get a new bottle of water.

Then, standing by the freezer chest, I remembered how much Laura had enjoyed a popsicle during the Boilermaker 15K, so I bought one of those too. Well, I sort of bought it (no I didn't steal it). The water and the popsicle came to two dollars and change, and I only had two dollar bills and a credit card. The store clerk didn't want to take the credit card, so I told him to take the popsicle back (I needed the water more). But he took my two dollars and let me keep the popsicle anyway!

And that was a delicious popsicle. Although I wouldn't want to try it in a real race. Eating the popsicle slowed me down by at least 30 seconds, maybe more, during the mile I had it. (Although really, would I be able to say no to a popsicle if handed one?) But by the time the popsicle was gone, I was past Forest Park and on my way into Everett proper.

At that point, less than three miles from home, I realized that the rest of the way was either downhill or flat. For a moment I relished the thought of just cruising home. Then I decided that I should take advantage of the down slope and pick up the pace. So for miles 13 and 14 I pushed myself into a quasi-half-marathon pace (meaning faster than I'd been running before that, but not quite as fast as I hope to be able to run on Saturday).

I would have kept it up for the final mile as well, but I had less than half a mile left before stopping at QFC and Starbucks. (Actually, when I got to the QFC parking lot I ran around the lot a couple of times to make 14.5 miles before stopping at the store.) Then I went into Starbucks and got a latte to take home with me. (I walked home, of course. Running with a latte is not recommended.)

I was in the house fiddling with my iPod when I realized I'd never stopped the Garmin. It said 14.99 miles. I walked around for a moment till it clicked to 15, then stopped it. The last mile, with the first half running, the second half walking, and at least a couple of minutes just standing around, took 16:44 minutes total.

I didn't feel half bad considering the long run. I soaked in the bath for a while before heading over to my parents' house for the afternoon and dinner.

Then came this morning. I didn't feel terrible or anything. I was tired—not unusual on a Monday morning. I was achy—also not unusual for a Monday, especially after a long run. I don't think I would have taken much note of how less than stellar this morning's run was, had it not been for the Garmin.

Pre-Garmin, I have taken a lot of runs on the day after a long run or race and felt incredibly slow and sluggish. Pre-Garmin, I had no idea exactly how slow and sluggish I was! This morning, I am shocked to say, I ran 5.25 miles and not one of them was under eleven minutes. I am sure this is not unusual. I've just never had visible proof of it before!

Well, I did have visible proof of it. However, there was a glitch in the Garmin and I could not upload today's run data (and now it's been erased). In many ways I should just be happy that the evidence is gone. But of course I fear that there is some problem with the Garmin that will prevent me from using it for future runs. I'm going to test it tomorrow by using it when I walk to work and then trying to upload that data. If it doesn't work... well, let's hope it does.

On top of the Garmin fear, of course, is the fear that I will be just as slow and sluggish in the half-marathon. There's no reason why I shouldn't do as well as any other half-marathon, even last year's Anacortes run, when I was not nearly as well-trained as this time. But yet I worry. (I have an extra incentive, because I have a ferry to catch shortly after the end of the race. If I'm too slow, I might miss the ferry and the wedding I am heading to!)

I am actually intentionally tapering this week. This morning I cut my run to 5.25 miles (and honestly, there was no time for anything longer), and Wednesday I won't do any further than that. Then Thursday and Friday off from running.

My mother thinks I may be overtraining (she said something about me being very edgy and snappish yesterday; I don't know what she's talking about) and encouraged me not to go to the Y tonight. It didn't take too much encouraging, because I'm really tired today. In fact, I'm going to bed early-ish tonight in hopes of getting some extra rest before tomorrow's early morning (at the Y).

Achiness and exhaustion—two things I want to avoid on Saturday. So I'm working on not overdoing it during the week, and trying to get plenty of rest. (I am eating pretty carefully Monday through Wednesday, and then will carb up a little on Thursday and Friday.) I guess rest means not sitting around staring at a computer screen trying to think of clever things to say... so I'll stop now. Good night.


Samantha said...

Hey I face the same problem too! It's really irritating. When it gets real bad, what I do is just run a computer check up. That usually does the trick in solving all these issues. You might want to give it a try too, i believe its free at

John said...

"Just a simple, easy 15-mile run yesterday morning."

I would never describe a 15 mile run as either easy or simple. Then again the longest I've run in the last year was 4 miles. ;-)c