Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Back on track, pretty much

Now that more than two weeks have passed since the marathon, I feel like I am pretty much back in the running groove. Actually I have never felt like marathon recovery really hampered my running, although after a slightly rough run three days out, I took the rest of the first week off from running to heal a little more.

In the second week after, I resumed my typical running schedule, although I am holding off on speed work and tempo runs until after the New Year. I am intentionally running easy, although I am plagued by concerns about whether I have "slowed down." Seriously, most of my runs have been at a much slower "easy pace" than I am accustomed to (10+ minute average mile pace as compared to 9:30-9:45 before). I don't know if this is residual from the marathon, whether the dark mornings and unpleasant weather play a part, whether several pounds of post-marathon/cookie weight are dragging me down, or whether I have just lost my edge and will never run fast again! (No, I'm not dramatic at all.)

After my painful fall on Monday the 14th (6.0 miles), I went out for 7.87 miles on the 16th (holding my injured arm against my body to reduce jarring), and then 9.13 miles on Friday the 18th. In a mathematical FAIL I thought that would add up to 25 miles for the week (I thought at the time I wouldn't be running on the weekend). Then afterward I figured out that it was actually 24 miles—oh well, good enough.

If you are a math whiz, or just cleverer than me, you have already noticed that I was still wrong. The actual total of those three days was 23 miles. It took me several rounds with a calculator to believe that I could have gotten it wrong twice! I didn't figure this out until I was adding in my unexpected Sunday miles.

Even though I didn't really "need" more miles for the week, I contemplated going for a run on Saturday to pump up the total a little bit. But it was misting heavily out, and although I don't avoid running in the rain (otherwise I might not run at all in the winter), I just didn't feel like facing it (so I went to the Y and did the elliptical instead).

The warm wet weather that prevented my run on Saturday was, however, also a problem for skiing plans on Sunday. Rod reported 34 degrees and rain on Saturday night at Stevens—an unappealing prospect! I was tired from a grueling day of Christmas shopping Saturday afternoon (most of the gruelingness came from driving and traffic), and was more than willing to forego a ski trip on Sunday. So I was not disappointed to cancel at 6 a.m. Sunday morning!

That did free up Sunday morning for an unplanned long run. If I were a good girl I would have been out there at 7 a.m. and done by 9 or so. But no.... I made myself a big bowl of oatmeal for breakfast and ate it in bed watching Meet the Press. Then, stomach warm and full, I turned on the Food Network for a bit and ended up dozing off again!

I woke up just in time to watch Nigella's Christmas Kitchen (chocolate cookies, beef with port and stilton gravy, Christmas Pavlova, oh my!), then finally got into my running clothes. The weather was not quite as misty as Saturday, although it did rain steadily from miles 8-10.

Since I had chosen not to run the 12K's of Christmas race, I thought I might do twelve miles instead. For now, I am going to limit my long runs to twelve miles. Okay, "for now" might just mean through the end of the year. :) But even when I do increase a little bit I think 14-16 miles will be my max until I start marathon training again at some point.

I am pretty glad I had the opportunity to do this mid-morning Sunday run, because it gave me a little confidence that perhaps I haven't lost my speed entirely. My average pace ended up at a very respectable 9:30, although I still had a mysterious mid-run slowdown which is not consistent with my typically progressive pace habits. I was happy, though, to be running 9:30's and not feeling like I was trying too hard. I was also happy to want to, and be able to, push it a bit in the end for a couple of faster miles!

I ran my 10-mile loop, adding extra blocks in the middle to squeeze in a couple of extra miles. One of the things I don't like about long runs is the difficulty of finding an interesting but long enough route!

Here are my splits (some are partial miles due to bathroom stops, then at one point I reset the watch to get back on even splits).

.52 mile at 9:42 pace
.29 mile at 9:54 pace
.18 mile at 9:43 pace
.20 mile at 9:15 pace

TOTAL: 12.20 miles (on 12/20) at 9:30 average pace. That made me happy.

On Monday morning I was less happy after 7.77 miles at an average pace of 10:16. It was going to be an eight mile run but, seriously, I was going so slow that I didn't have time for the extra quarter mile while still getting ready for work (2-3 minutes is the difference between being on time and being late, or being a little late vs. being really late, etc.). I probably should have cut it at 7.5 miles, as it was.

My arm, unfortunately, is still exhibiting the effects of my fall. Specifically, it is still swelled up huge (and of course, bruised). It doesn't hurt a lot, just some. The hurting is not nearly as much of a concern as the disfigurement. I am debating how long this can go on before I go to a doctor. It's hard to make that call when I am not in excrutiating pain. Still, when I can't even put on certain jackets because the sleeve is too tight on that side...this is not right.

In other stressful news, Christmas is approaching fast! I feel like I've finished the shopping I need to, mostly, but don't know if I feel ready for the actual day. Tonight I am going over to my parents' house to make lefse to go with our traditional Norwegian Christmas Eve dinner. Perhaps I will save all my dinner calories for sampling....

No comments: