After all my iPod difficulties of a few days ago, I did manage to get enough stuff back on my playlists to restore my favorite running playlists, plus a few podcasts that I have enjoyed listening to enough that I have gone for one-hour walks several days after work this week, just to listen. (That may be the longest sentence I have ever written. Yes, I was an English major!)
But this morning I encountered the most basic of iPod problems: dead battery. How this happened I don't know. I suppose during my use this week for running and walking I could have run it down (even though I just had it plugged into the computer the other day, I thought). I also suspect that I may have forgotten to lock the screen while carrying it around in my purse, so the play button may have been pushed and run it down. Who knows.
Anyhow, it was a problem. By the time I discovered the discharged battery it was already after 8 a.m. and I didn't have time to wait around for the battery to charge. If I had checked on this at 6 a.m., when I first woke up, or 6:30 when I fixed breakfast, this wouldn't have been a problem. Of course, I could also have checked last night when I made sure the Garmin was charged!
I woke up in the middle of the night, around 2 or 3 a.m., to the sound of pouring rain. By 6 a.m. the sound had changed to dripping. I didn't know if it was still raining lightly or just dripping off the eaves; I didn't bother to check, but opted to stay in bed and wait for it to really stop raining. Which it did, by the way.
Today was a hint of things to come in the fall, though, as I realized that there would soon come a day when I had no choice but to run in the cold, cold rain. (Happily, today was not that day.) But even without rain, I felt (from inside my 60-ish degree house) that it was a chillier day, and opted, for the first time this summer, to put on my capris and a long-sleeved shirt. (As it turns out, it wasn't really that cold; I would have been fine with a short-sleeved shirts and even shorts. There was even a few minutes when the sun came out that I was kicking myself for over-dressing...luckily the sun went back behind the clouds and I was fine.)
But back to the iPod problem. What to do, what to do. I wasted some more time fooling around with my BlackBerry in hopes that I could listen to a talk radio show by way of its website (couldn't) or that I could listen to a Phedippidations podcast through that website (nope, at least not on my BlackBerry).
I was resigned to braving the run without any audio entertainment, but decided to give Pandora radio a try. I had downloaded it to my phone a few weeks ago, but that time the program crashed after just a few minutes. This time I had a little more luck.
First I had to pick an artist to build a playlist with. This was hard, because I couldn't think of one single artist on my running playlists that would epitomize what I wanted to hear...I have such an eclectic mix. I was also trying to make a quick decision, and my brain was just empty. I finally typed in Natalie Cole, not because that was a good choice at all, but basically because she's recorded a lot of music over the years, a few of which I do have on my playlists.
Now, these Pandora radio programs, if you've never tried it, play music not just from your selected artists, but various artists who have a similar style. So my "Natalie Cole radio" gave me a very pleasant, if not hard-driving, selection of pop-jazz music...including Natalie and Nat King Cole, Michael Buble, Louis Armstrong, Aretha Franklin, and others of the like. Not exactly the music you want to push you through a run, but frankly, I was just happy to have music at all.
So I jogged lightly through the first few miles without managing a very impressive pace. I had decided to do my long run for the weekend today (12-14 miles, a cut-back week), to make things easier over the weekend. I wasn't trying to run very fast, luckily.
About 40-45 minutes along, the music stopped just before the end of a Michael Buble song. I got the phone out and fiddled around with it, trying to restart it, create a new playlist, or do anything to bring back the music, but it was no go.
So I ran the next few miles accompanied only by the sound of my breathing and my feet hitting the sidewalk. I decided that after almost an hour and a half the iPod had to have achieved some charge, so I diverted the route to return to my house at the 8 mile point. Sure enough, it was about half charged, so I plugged myself in and (after a bathroom stop), headed back out to finish the run.
Twelve to 14 miles, and I had done eight. That meant four, five, or six to go. At first I thought it would be cool to do another 10K (for a total of 14.2), but I wasn't sure I wanted to run that far. Also, I was so late from my delays earlier that this would probably be unwise.
As I retraced my steps through downtown, it became apparent (or at least, likely) that about 13.1 miles would be a good distance to shoot for. I could manage that by only tweaking my route a little bit, not enough to seem too difficult. I ended up running downhill on Everett Avenue in the last bit of mile 13, which was ideal, because I like ending on a downhill! I stopped the Garmin at 13.26 miles on the doorstep of Starbucks. I used one of my free drink cards to get a mocha and walked the rest of the way home.
My right ankle and achilles tendon had been bugging me a little throughout the run, which is a bit disturbing because I count on the soreness going away after a few miles. When I got home, even though I was really late and needed to get to work, I spent about 15 minutes with that leg in a chest of water and ice. (The one kind of ice bath I can do successfully!) I may do another course tonight. Or at the very least put an ice pack on it.
My pace for the run overall was about 10:08 (I believe that is correct; I haven't downloaded data yet). I accept that as an okay easy run pace. But I have been a little concerned that my long runs and easy runs seem slower this year than they were last summer and fall. I am sure (without actually taking the time to check) that I was managing a 9:30 to 9:45 pace, even in the very long runs. And I have always done those runs at a "comfortable" pace, without pushing myself until, perhaps, the last few miles. This may turn out to mean that my marathon pace is going to be slower as well. I guess I'll have to wait and see...it's too late in the game to make any big training changes now.