well, i can positively say that mapping/determining my running route the night before a run is a very good idea, especially when it’s 35 degrees F in the morning and the last thing anyone would want to do is go out and run…
today i did two loops out at Bent Creek. it was just under 11 miles, and I did the whole thing in 1 hr 50 minutes. Not a really fast time, but not exactly slow either… that was about 10 minute miles: the first loop was slower than the second.
because it was so cold this am, i really bundled up, but expected to loop by the car at the halfway mark so that I could discard some layers… wore full spandex pants, warm socks, thermal long sleeve, fleece gloves & earwarmer and a light windbreaker (that breaks into a vest, it’s great, you should get one… had it sitting around from my crazy cycling days)…
anyway, in the pockets i stuffed kleenex, chapstick and a coffee flavored hammer gel. i figured that for the longest run of my life i’d probably want some energy.
before i left the house, i had two spoonfuls of honey and a couple sips of water. did my body looseners at the house: the thought of doing looseners in the windy shade didn’t exactly appeal to me.
while mentally preparing for the run this morning, i wasn’t sure how far/how long i was going to go. i knew two loops around bent creek were around 10 miles and i knew that i could walk back to the car if i got done in my time-limit and wasn’t finished with the distance. i also knew it was familiar territory and pretty, so it would be a nice running environment.
i did two full loops of the run, but the last 1/2 mile I walked. That would make it just over 10 mile run… in 110 minutes, i am okay with that!
i focused mostly on the 90 degree armswing and keeping my chin down. I was able to work with breathing a little bit too, even through my nose, because i brought kleenex! …
my knees started to ache at about hour 1 (which is right when i got to my car) and i ditched my windbreaker arms and gloves… i sucked down the hammer gel sort of slowly and sipped a bunch of water (while jogging, i tried to not stop at the car longer than 30 seconds…) and ditched the bottle for my return trip.
i didn’t get cramps after eating the gel, which was a good sign, and something to consider as a regular thing during my longer training runs and on race day, if i need it.
so, like i said, my focuses were: arm swing and chin down.
the arm swing thing is really nutty. my shadow was helpful in keeping me in check, but i realized that when i took the water bottle a couple weeks ago in biltmore forest for my LSD run, i think that’s when i picked up the bad habit of running with hyper-bent elbows… habits are quickly learned, eh?
and with my head: i started thinking of using my head to lead my body, leaning from my for head and letting my forehead lead me. i got away from focusing on my chin because it was just messing me up. obviously, after all this time, if i don’t have my chin right, i need to look at things from a different perspective. I think ‘leading with my forehead’ was a good antidote.
so with my knees being achy at hour 1, i was trying to focus on leaning more and taking smaller strides. i was thinking of gathering chi instead of issuing it (see this article danny wrote about issuing and gathering), especially on the second half of the run.. my hip never hurt, i never got a sideache, i didn’t take music so i basically had a meditation for almost 2 hours. my heart rate was remarkably low: i don’t think it got about 174, and for the 2nd loop of the run, it was at 167-169 for a few miles…
i get a little leery about heart rate drops: when i was on the triathlon team in college, i got overtrained and for the longest time, couldn’t get my heart rate up where it needed to be for effective cardio training. granted, today being an LSD, the high heart rate wasn’t the focus (really does it ever need to be?!) but i wondered briefly if i was having a drop because of overtraining…
Nah, i got around the lake and for the next several miles back to the car, i just picked up the pace. it was crazy, i couldn’t imagine stopping or slowing down, and i didn’t want to! i got into a groove, and while i know i wasn’t going very fast, i was going fast than i had gone previously in the run… i kept going… and going… and going.
like the energizer bunny. even though my knees still ached, i didn’t have any other issues to stop me… i kept thinking of these places along the route where i could imagine stopping and then walking to the car. But then I’d get to that ‘stopping’ place and just keep going. So I had planned to run for 1.40 or 1.45 and instead ran 1.55! An hour and 55 minutes? WHAT?!
Well, I just didn’t want to stop, I guess. It just felt so good to keep running… i mean, ChiRunning really is the stuff that runners ought to be made of… injury-free and effortless running?
I had a few times during the run where various parts of my ankles/feet were getting talkative. i think part of it is that the terrain wasn’t concrete. I was running on gravel or wood chips for the whole run today, which is substantially different than running on asphalt, as you know. probably, my ankles and feet took some more twists and turns than they have all week. I kept my feet loose for the whole run, so the pain wasn’t actually pain like i had hurt myself, but more like twingey pain of something that’s been a minutely strained… i was able to body sense and recognize that i had some discomfort in my feet/ankles, but didn’t dwell on it and tried to imagine gathering chi from the ground to help heal those sore spots: facilitated by small stride and high ankles, i got the mid foot back in order and the pain went away.
when i got to the car, i stretched a bit, and had some water with supplements in it… got home and did a leg drain and some more stretching and soaked in Epsom salts in the tub. no sore muscles yet!
tonight, my knees are achey. we took a walk to a neighborhood pub earlier, and they were a little twingy starting off, and after sitting for awhile my knees are stiff… plan to massage some arnica into them later, but part of it might be the weather. do you think it’s possible for a 26 year old to have weather-congizant joints? I thought that was only for the advanced-aged folks.
overall: 10. thank you all for reading this and for being part of my journey to a ’10′ run. i did it! and i’m sure i’ll do it again!