Saturday, January 30, 2010

quietly slip-sliding into a run

Have you ever been angry about being a runner? Or if you're not a runner, about anything that is essentially who you are, how you're known, what you build get the idea. That's exactly how I felt this morning when everyone else was out there slipping and sliding their way through the ten mile training run, and my yaktrax remained strapped to my polka-dot rain boots! under armour tech clothes and man gloves for me this morning. Just my stupid shorts and shoes that needed no special gripping devices to walk about the perfectly un-slick gym floor. I'd been preparing for this, though. All week I'd talked to myself abut how a couple weeks to heal a minor injury is far less maddening than months of recovery. Good gravy, I know this! I'd just done this! I'd decided early on to go to spin and then meet the group for coffee after, but that was before the ice storm hit... My gym opened late, spin was cancelled, I couldn't imagine another hour on the elliptical, and I was absolutely righteous because I wasn't running outside! I love those kinds of runs - the ones where people look at you like you're absolutely nuts for being out there. Yes, they're right but that's beside the point. Anyway, I tried unsuccessfully to wipe the pout off my face as I walked into the gym and headed for the cardio equipment. I meant to walk to the elliptical. Truly, I did. For some reason, though, my eyes wouldn't even acknowledge its existence. I was subconsciously giving it the silent treatment, which was perfectly in keeping with my childish mood this morning. I barely glanced at the rowing machines, squeezed right by the bicycles leaving the arc trainers unnoticed as well, and stepped onto a treadmill for the first time in over a year. "Just a mile," I told myself. "I need to guage my left leg...see how it really feels." Now, to those of you in the midst of your exasperated sigh, put it on hold for just a second, because I did start at an easy 9:34 pace. The downfall came when I turned my iPod on, though, and "Holding Out for a Hero" comes blaring through the headphones. I picked it up to an 8:31 and didn't even pretend that I'd stop the hamster game after a mile. So go ahead and finish that exhale. I deserve it...but leave my cheesy 80s running music alone. I was feeling free, despite my confinement to that one square foot in the world. I had uninterrupted rhythm, both in thought and in stride. My head was totally in my run. Nobody even noticed me, much less knew I hurt, so I didn't have to lie about how my leg was feeling. All focus was on putting one foot in front of the other and feeling the exhilaration of a racing heart. After 5.5 miles (of which a good 4 was to the beat of the aforementioned song), I quietly stepped off the treadmill, secretly pleased with my act of rebellion, and headed over to the weights.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

it's never good to be called to the office

"Good questions! For now, lay off running and ice the area several times a day. I will be back in OKC late Tues and I can look Weds AM. Are you available ant time Weds? If so, when? Don't do anything about shoes until I look at it and your shoes again.

How does it feel when you waken in the AM? If it is tight and sore, you need a night splint. The splints are known as 'plantar fascia' night splints. Several runners have them."

The wording above is copied and pasted from an email response from the running doc. Yes, the response was to me. It seems I'm getting called back to his office, and we all know what that meant last time! In the interest of catching you up, since I've resumed training with the group my achilles has been talking to me. Sometimes it screams, but generally speaks in its inside voice. My hamstring has, too, but I know exactly where all that yelling is coming from. I did a 10 mile hill run too fast. Oh, and my last time on the hills prior to that was at our Mt. Scott trip last July, so yes, I deserve a bit of back-talk. Anyway, this Saturday was a 12 mile flat training run. Piece of cake! I'd taken a running break since the Tuesday prior and hadn't really felt anything, so why not run it. Right? Right??? Of course, I caught one of my favorite runners early on who happens to be much faster than I'm ready for, so I had to stay with him. It's stupid, but perfectly in keeping with my running personality. I only lasted a couple of miles, though, until we caught up with another friend. Thankfully she was running slowly that morning due to calf issues, so I had good company for the remaining miles. When we reached the end, I kept going...straight to the bathroom, the coffee pot, and to the doc, where I basically hand him my left leg and ask how to fix it. First, he tells me to quit charging the hills (I love hills) and quit trying to run faster than I'm ready for. Then he prods and squeezes and contorts me about in a gumby-like fashion, and tells me that it's not bad, relatively speaking. I love this! He then tells me that I need to switch to stiffer shoes. I hate this! He points out that all the technology of my shoes is in the heel and given that I only seem to use about a square inch of the outside forefront, I'm not getting any of the benefit. So by Sunday evening (hey, it's been 24 hours!) I'm still concerned with the lack of left leg cooperation and the idea of switching shoes, so I spit out a quick email. Oh, did I mention that Austin was three weeks away, and it's not known for being a flat course! I'm pretty sure doctors like to be told how to do their job, so in my email, I let him know that my options are to a) lay off until the next weekend's training run, b) lay off until Austin in 3 weeks, or c) a complete left leg transplant. It's his choice, really. Upon opening his reply, I was pretty pleased with what he had to say. That lasted about two sentences in when he starts sputtering something about me coming to his office. Last time I got called in there, which by the way was just last July, I didn't run for 14 weeks. 14 weeks! Even then, my runs hurt. It took an exhausting amount of willpower to lay low in the running world until spring training officially started and I am NOT about to do that again. So at the moment, my intention is to lay off running for the week, go through enough ice to melt and fill the Pacific ocean, and stretch like I'm in training to be a yoga master. I'm following most of his advice, but the trip to the office hasn't quite been solidified into my plans yet. Stay tuned...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

a brand new year

A new year, a new training season, new runners amongst us, and a new round of ITB screams. It's FANTASTIC!! I woke up this morning feeling like a kid at Christmas. Today is the first day of official 2010 spring marathon training and I'm so excited that I almost don't need coffee to get me going! I haven't gone completely mad, though, so I fill up the moka pot anyway. Normally, I'd be scrambling about searching for a sock while burning my hands on the bread pan that I just ripped out of the oven and eating my oatmeal out of the pot on the way to the start line. This morning, however, I put on both socks at the same time, ate my oatmeal in front of the news (still out of the pot, though), and left with unblistered hands because the post-race bread was made the day before! Henry even got extra time outside, running about the snow before reclaiming the last of the melting snowman that each of his neighboring pup friends had briefly taken ownership of.

It was icy and cold, but that didn't stop the 100+ runners from piling into the overflowing parking lot at Hefner. What a cool sight it is, too. There is nothing like watching everyone scurry out of their cars, bundled to the point of unrecognizability, and hearing all the garmin beeps as we take our first steps onto the street. For six miles (well, seven if you're in my group that missed the turnaround because we were yammering), I listened to family holiday horror stories, nervous chatter about marathon training, and grandiose New Year's resolutions, and it was perfect....absolutely the way a training run should be.

Those seven miles were supposed to be followed by a few more on the Arcadia trails - a fun run put on by a friend of mine. It's worth mentioning that the longest course he has measured out for us is 50K. Sounds fun, eh? You can, of course, choose your own distance. I chose four. My leg, however, chose .75. Guess who won. Luckily, I was in the company of someone who HATES trails with every running fiber of his being and was more than happy to escort me back to the trail head. No, really. If he said that he truly thought that the trails intentionally moved about to position roots in the perfectly to bring him down attempting to actually knock his legs off his body, thereby causing him to never run again, I'd venture to say that he actually believed it. Nevermind this amusing, albeit irrational, fear of nature running, I was grateful for the companionship. So off we went with day one of spring training officially down - a few miles shorter than planned, but happily headed home to wrap up in something warm.