If any of you has a horse, and you’d like to save some money this year, I would be happy to come hang out in Mr. Ed’s stall so he can lick the salt off me after I run a long time: it would save you buying a salt block and it would save me from taking a shower.

Ugh, gross. Of course I am kidding, but do you know what I mean? I got through running today and even my hands are salty. I sat down after I got home to have a glass of chocolate milk, but I couldn’t drink it till I washed my face, as the salt from my face was getting in the way of a nice milk-drinking experience.

My run today was 9 miles in 90 minutes. Plain and simple, low incidence of aches or pains, and I feel good now. It was my LSD run for the week and I figured I was up to about 9 miles. I wanted to run 1 hr 33 minutes, as I did last week, and I know in the grand scheme of things, 3 minutes isn’t huge for a training run, bit it could have made a difference in the quality of my run…

Here is the run. I hadn’t run in Biltmore Forest before, though Ivan and I have test-ridden some road bikes near where I ran. I didn’t realize it would be so hilly. I was looking for flat and paved. I definitely got paved and beautiful, but not flat.

I took music AND water and a computer printout of the route with me, which turned out to be sort of obnoxious, all the things together. I wish that I had a sport belt so I could attach some water to it. And an arm band for my iPod. And a GPS device to direct my run… But alas, I don’t, so I just carried stuff.

My right knee was a little twingy this morning, and I wasn’t sure how that would translate during the run, so when I started off, I was really paying attention to keeping my feet landing forward and letting my lower legs really relax. The first part of the run was uphill, so that kind of got my heart rate up in a jiffy, and I frankly really didn’t take the time to do gear 1 warm up. I saved gear 1 for later in the run around mile 5/6 when there were so many uphills I thought I was just going to have to stop.

I DID have to stop a couple of times to get my bearings and look at the map. If I do a run in an unfamiliar neighborhood again, I’ll drive it first. It’s annoying to stop and check out a map, and it slows me down. I think there is probably some mental breakdown around that too.

I had a great list of music on the iPod, which really was more background than anything. Despite En Vogue and Michael Jackson serenading my ears, I was really able to focus on my form. I wore a hat and sunglasses today, so I was trying to keep my chin down by remembering it keep the bill of my hat almost in my line of sight. That worked.

My main focuses of today’s run were (which I determined AFTER I got going because I wasn’t prepared for the hills):

  • Trying not to think about my lower legs except that there were just there and they were loose
  • Trying to keep my arm swing as normal as possible (with holding a water bottle and an iPod, not easily done) and really working it UP on the uphills
  • Letting my cadence stay as quick as possible. Oh yeah, I took the metronome so I periodically checked my cadence throughout the run and it stayed right around 87, even after 5-6 miles in and a bit tired.
  • I was remembering my knee, too, so I was trying this visualization: Every time my right leg swung forward, I imagined my quad ‘leading the way’… Not pulling my leg forward, but just setting up a good straight path for my knee and leg to follow. It’s something that Kathy Griest suggested during the CRCWIT in October, and it really does work. So if you have knee issues or a little twingey ankle, trying to just imagine a straight line under that side of your body, just let your quad/knee/ankle/foot, follow that straight line all the way till your next leg’s turn.

So, the run was good, I was just motoring. I took my time on the uphills, didn’t try to do anything crazy, but did try to keep my legs limp, my arm swing exaggerated. There were a few hills around mile 5/6 where I really was kind of ticked off at myself. I don;t really know why, except that I felt like I was going to slowly and I should have been going faster. I got over that eventually, but it was hard to keep motivating. Thank god for downhills.

On the downhills, I was focusing on trying to keep my core engaged, allowing my head to lead my body, and keeping a good cadence, not opening too much and slowing my cadence. I didn’t honestly think too much about hip rotation, but I just wanted to enjoy the hills and they all felt good.

On the flats, I just used 50% upper 50 % lower and tried to do one-legged posture stances a lot. Right before the two hills around mile 5/6, still on the flats, I decided that my right calf was tight and my foot was starting to tighten up. I tried to really focus on just relaxing and not using my legs at all. I think it really worked, and I also focused on keeping that straight line from quad to kneed to ankle to foot on the uphills so that I wouldn’t do something weird to my foot.

When I was done running, my knees where a little achy but not bad. My foot didn’t hurt, my knee didn’t hurt, and when I got home I noticed a little twinge in my calf, but that can be stretched out.

I didn’t do a leg drain (shame on Liz) so we’ll see how stiff or sore I am tomorrow. I am expecting a little bit because of the hills and because I had a pretty quick pace for that long of a run. Last week I ran  three minutes longer, and only 8.5 miles, so I definitely had a faster pace today.

Scale 8. I just realized that I didn’t have any snotty nose or slobbery dog thing going on today, and only had to blow my nose once. Otherwise I felt pretty good and had smothered my lips in chapstick before starting. Allergies seem to have backed off for the time being. I did notice just now that when I took a deep breath, my body tenses and I cough, which might be allergies, might just be from the run. The weather was awesome during my run, probably somewhere around 65. Lovely!


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