Friday, March 22, 2013
This is spring?!
We went through the whole winter with nary a flake of snow in the lowlands, and on the third day of spring we get this? The picture does not really show the wet, cottonball flakes falling from the sky, or the inch of wet snow on the ground, or the slushy, icy puddles that fill every depression in the street or sidewalk.
The worst of it for me, is that it really put a damper on my spring running rejuvenation that had been going quite well until today!
That sounds a little dramatic, I know. But I really have felt a new spring in my step (ahem) since March 1 (even though spring just officially began this week). I am pretty sure I have managed to keep all my weekday runs to an average pace of 10 minutes per mile or faster (even with the inevitably slow warm-up miles).
Today, however, harkened back to the bad old days of deep winter, when the mornings were dark, wet, and cold, and my legs felt heavy, tired, and slow. You see, two things that always slow me down are darkness, and a non-paved running surface. Running on an inch of snow is like running on dirt trails to me...soft on the body, but slow on my feet. Average pace this morning (hanging head in shame)--11:17 minutes per mile. (I might add that I did not push myself at all...the wet snow was also quite slippery, and the last thing I wanted was to fall! Which I also why I am always so much slower in the winter.) I had to cut the run short to 5.6 miles, as I ran out of time and really was just done, anyway.
But looking at the positive side of things. It was pretty and sort of fun to run in the snow. The soft surface was definitely easier on my body, which is kind of good as I have had back issues since Tuesday and it is just today feeling noticeably less sore. I guess I could also call it a taper of sorts, since I am doing the Mercer Island Half Marathon on Sunday and would like to make a strong effort. (I am praying that the weather forecast remains dry for Sunday!) Even though I wasn't able to do any goal pace miles today, at least my legs will be fresh.
Today's run (per my schedule) was supposed to include three miles at 8:44. That just was not going to happen. Luckily I did manage to accomplish my speed work yesterday! After 2.2 miles warm-up, I did three miles (with a couple minutes recovery between each) at 8:20, 8:13, and 8:21. Goal pace was 8:15, so...pretty good.
Tuesday was my "easy run" of the week (who knew today would turn into "even easier" run?). My legs were a little sore from the weekend (this was before the back issue kicked in), but after a slow warm-up I picked it up enough to finish with my sub-ten average pace. Thanks to a light afternoon schedule, I was able to go to a yoga class at noon, but it wasn't the delightful experience I hoped for. I wasn't crazy about the class, and some of the stretches were just awkward and bizarre to me. I'm not sure if I overstretched or what, but about halfway through my lower back started complaining. I wasn't even able to do a bridge without discomfort! And I could only hold a plank for about ten seconds before my back hurt too much to go on. (Proof that when your abs are weak, you compensate with your back.)
My back issues persisted throughout the week. At night I put a hot water bottle under my back, and that felt great. I was able to walk, elliptical, and even run without too much difficulty, but I could barely bend over to put on my socks. And let's not even talk about putting on and taking off compression socks....
Last night I tried some child's pose and a downward dog to see how things were, and I could tell that my hips and glutes were very tight. I couldn't even really straighten my legs in the downward dog! I am feeling much less discomfort today, though. I think by tomorrow I will be almost back to normal. I have a yoga class I really like on Saturdays, but I am reluctant to risk it tomorrow, since I am concerned that the poses (particularly the core poses) might put too much strain on my back, too soon. I can't be laid up in the middle of marathon training! (Well, I don't want to be laid up, ever.)
That picture at the top was from downtown Everett in the middle of my run. It was my second attempt at a snow picture. The first time, a few minutes earlier, I had stopped to take a picture and while I was standing still on the sidewalk, I slipped on the snow and fell down! While standing still! No injury, just a wet leg. I also managed to step in several slush puddles and a giant hole of ice water in the McDonald's parking lot.