There’s just something peaceful about morning running. Maybe it’s the quiet of the day or the darkness that hasn’t quite conceded to the bright glow of the majestic day ahead. There are not many cars around nor other runners where I am or even people walking dogs. It’s just quiet almost to the point that I can hear my thoughts out loud. I love that first breath in of fresh crisp air that purges my lungs of night air and fills my soul with brightness. It calls me to it, envelops me and makes me its own for 30 minutes of bliss. I can see the glow of a dawning day in the windows of my neighbors and see those who have started their day. I can smell those ambitious enough to cook something that appeals to my palette as I run on an empty stomach thinking about the pancakes and eggs I’ll make when I return. As dawn lights my way, revealing my form I realize this is the best run that I’ve had in many days. I enjoyed it a lot and am happy I didn’t wait until tonight to go. When I run in the morning I have no worries, no problems, no distractions. My phone isn’t ringing, I’m not tied to the internet and I’m not trying to organize anything. It’s just me, in the dark blending in with what remains of the night. Free as a bird and not weighted down by life at this very moment.
Today as I make my way through my neighborhood wondering who knows I’m passing by, my mind is on my race on Sunday. I’m running The Falmouth Road Race and thinking about how the race will go and whether it will be my race. It may not be. Because of the time of the month it may have to just be fun. I’m not expecting it to be a stellar race because I just don’t do well a few days before I get my period. 2-4 days prior, my legs are heavy, it’s hard for me to breathe and it’s just a struggle. Even if it’s a struggle, I’d like to beat last years 1:18. I’m much stronger this year in my core than last year which will be helpful. Nonetheless, if I go into it not expecting too much and not trying to be faster than last year I think it will be fine. Slow it down and I’ll have more fun. My friend who runs this race with me might like company for the entire 7 miles rather than being dumped at the starting line like I usually do. I well know how not fun running alone is so that might be the way to go I think. It’s all about the fun and the experience.
Just WTF! I need a new watch! I just have to break down and buy one because mine is dying. First I cracked it, then it stopped syncing properly and now it won’t even record a run. It goes to that screen and connects to the GPS but then it won’t turn on. It must have gotten wet on Saturday when my wingman and I did 8 miles and got drenched in a downpour on the second 4. GRRRR but that’s fine because I have the Map My Run app on my phone so I turn her on, flip my watch off and away I went. All is well, I’m kind of struggling through tired legs in mile one but nothing I’ve not worked through before. Today it’s cold but with every step I’m warming up and waiting for my assistant to start reading off my stats. Now she tells me I’m at a mile before I know that I’m at my true 1 mile mark. Ok, it wasn’t far off so I stop the app and and stretch my shins that are protesting a bit. I don’t stop long and head on my way through mile 2. That is where the arguments began with the stupid app. As I approached somewhere in the vacinity of 1.75 miles she lowers my music and announces that I’m at mile 2. NO I’M NOT you stupid lady in my phone! Now I’m irritated but all i really need to know is the time because I know the distance by heart. Whatever, I keep going pausing just for a few seconds to again stretch my shin then move along to finish mile 3. The thing that bugs me is that she tells me I have these rediculously fast times that i know I can’t hit. Irritating. Half way through mile 3 she says I’m at 3- LIAR! It doesn’t matter really, just bugs me. So now I need a new watch and potentially a new app as backup. The run was ok overall but just took my mind off my running focus. Some days it’s just the little things that drive you crazy especially when it’s the stuff that you rely on to keep tabs on your progress.
So yesterday I had an 11 mile run scheduled. My wingman James was tired from a long hard day working on Saturday so I didn’t bother to wake him up at 6 to keep me company for my journey. I left early so I hit the cool part of the day but sadly I did not escape the worst part, the humidity. It was a tough run I’m not gonna lie about that. I again intended to run slow knowing in my head how hard it is for me to actually slow down. I figured if I could keep it to 10+ minute miles that would be good. That wasn’t a problem yesterday. Of my 11 miles most were where I wanted them except miles 3,4,5 and 11 which hit just under 10 but not by much. Still too fast for what I was trying to practice but it’s ok, 7 of them were good. Now, 7 of the 11 miles were good but mostly because it was horrible out. I stopped every single mile to take a sip of fluid and rest for a minute. This seems to be a habit on long runs these days but I’m not sure if it’s because it’s summer or just because no one really cares if I stop. I in fact would recommend that to any other runner who was self conscious about it. It was 71 when I left my house at 6:15 and of course I now wished i had gotten up at 4 instead but we’re here now so we make the best of it. I don’t care about stopping. Stopping every mile broke the run down for me into little tolerable pieces rather than struggling to do the entire thing or big sections without stopping. The humidity killed me from mile 1. Much of my run was shaded so thank God I wasn’t baking for 11 miles! I knew it was going to be tough right out of the gate as I struggled to get my breathing under control before I even left my neighborhood. So I reminded myself that it meant slow down and take it easy. That’s how it went until mile 7. When I hit 7 I was looking forward to being done and counting the minutes until the next mile buzzed on my watch so I could stop. Mile 8 my husband, who was worried about me and checking on me regularly, suggested I take an alternate route back home that included a big downhill finish. I didn’t even think about it. If it was shaded and downhill, at that point, that was for me! Everything after 8 was just hard. My hips were hurting, my legs were getting tired and my upper body felt like I was running stiff because it too was tired. After I started mile 8 I apparently didn’t hit the GO button on my watch the right way because it displayed the recovery heartrate message which means it’s stopped. DAMN! I ran a little bit not on the clock. Are you kidding me! Any other day I would be ok with the error but today it was like slow motion torture that just didn’t seem to have an end. SO, now I have a choice. I can either finish the run and let my stats show that I didn’t complete 11 miles OR I could run a little more and make it right by my watch OR I could edit the mileage after I sync it. I’m a little OCD sometimes because as tired as I was and as much as I was really struggling, I added a little side street so that when I got home my watch was right. Control freak I know but I’ve run further before and it wasn’t all that far (less than .25 mile- NBD). I was having such a hard time that mile 9 was a 12 minute mile….12 minutes! For me that is super slow which is what I say I was trying to do but never accomplish because I just run too fast every single time. The worst part was I had to run PAST my house to hit 11 miles which totally sucked because I wanted to stop so badly. Needless to say, the minute my watch beeped I halted immediately! I was super happy to be done and pretty much considered that whole struggle equal to running with a blister. Every mile hurts, you stop frequently (at least I would) and you cannot wait to be done! I really wish James were with me for it because he would have taken my mind off the struggle and made me laugh. Happy that it’s over….next Sunday is 12 miles. Here’s hoping for the best and a wingman!
It was bound to happen sooner or later and with all the training I’ve been doing sooner was more like IT. IT is as you may have guessed, some minor and irregular discomfort on the outside corner of my knee cap. It’s been bothering me for a few days but infrequently. Since my 10 mile race on Sunday following a dose of Ibuprofen, I thought it felt better at least I had no pain. When I say pain I really mean uncomfortable and sudden twinges that are painful for a moment…stairs or if I put pressure on the knee leaning or getting up from sitting mainly. When I’m at work or walking or just not running I’m fine. Yesterday I went for a run and not 50 feet out of the gate what felt like a sudden shard of glass poking my knee caused me to hop and interrupt my motion for a moment. It didn’t happen again but it did make me think to look it up to see what it could be even though I had a pretty good idea already. Sure enough I didn’t have to look far before I found the obvious, IT Band Syndrome. Iliotibial Band Syndrome aka IT Band Syndrome, shows up when the outside ligament running down the thigh (hip to the shin) is tight or inflamed. The IT band is attached to the knee and assists in stabilizing the joint. When it isn’t working properly, running and sometimes knee movement becomes uncomfortable and even painful. If it isn’t monitored a happy runner can be taken off the road for quite a while. Funny thing is that when you look it up on Google the first thing it says is to stop running. LOL it’s almost like getting yelled at by the doctor.
So I’ll do some adjustments like taking today off from running and making it a Tabata strength training day which in order since I try to do it every other day if possible. Riding my bike is a great and recommended alternative in addition to swimming which I just haven’t found the time to add into my jam packed fitness schedule. Hopefully a day off is all it needs. I’m also proactively taking Ibuprofen for inflammation despite the fact that at the moment my legs don’t feel swollen nor does my knee feel tight. Better safe than sorry. I have so much going on this year in terms of races that I have to monitor regularly and modify whenever I can if I need to so I can make it to the end of the running season. Yes, I take the winter off from racing. I just don’t like winter races much but 8 – 9 months of the year I go at it hard so I need to be careful. I
Since it just showed up all of a sudden and since my running shoes are just about ready to be changed out, I’m going to try that to see if maybe it was caused by end of life gear. This time I’m going to try a pair of New Balance to see if I like them. I have been a devoted Saucony disciple nearly exclusively give or take a few Reeboks and Asics here and there. My friend runs in New Balance and loves them so we’re going to head over and see if we can find a pair we like. Wouldn’t it be interesting if it was indeed caused from needing to change the guards so to speak. We’ll see and advise. Till then…
For more information about causes, prevention, symptoms and treatment of IT Band Syndrome you can read this article from Runners World http://www.runnersworld.com/tag/it-band-syndrome
Some days it’s just a Runch kind of day. It’s 41 this morning which is ok with me because I like a little chill in the air when I run in the morning. What is not ok with me however, is that my intestines are not cooperating so that I can appropriately get ready to run. I hate that and I was totally prepared to risk it but at the drop of a hat I just thought about how around lunch time it will be 73 and sunny and warmer and most likely I will be intestinally set to go for a run. You have to love Summer running! Sometimes it just doesn’t take much to convince me to switch up my plan. I would actually go after work but I have an obligation that interferes with that so RUNCH it is! It’s good to switch it up so you run new routes, new times and new places, after all life is not a spectator sport. Go be adventurous and switch it up. You just have to be open to it.
What things do you do to switch up the sameness of your routine?
Every runner has issues at one point or other regardless of how well, fast, often, slow or consistent they are. Whether it is a bathroom issue or a developing weather issue, a running out of water issue, cramp issue or whatever, we all have them. I will say that the girlies of the world have one in particular that actually drives me crazy! Yep it’s dealing with that time of the month. I don’t mean whining about cramps or wimping out because I’m tired. I’m talking about the swollen body, michelin tire-man inflation that happens 2 days before the dreaded 5-7 day ordeal. I am finding that my legs in particular are swelling a lot lately and they feel like I’m dragging bags of rocks down the road. It’s not lack of hydration because I drink a TON of water. It’s just nature taking it’s course and I have to say I’m not a fan! Maybe it’s age and impatience because i’m done having kids. I am all done with this game of monthly misery. I don’t usually complain but today it was ridiculously difficult to push through 3 stupid miles and all because I have boobs and a uterus. I know, I could have other issues or illnesses or something that should make me grateful for having that issue but whine whine I”M NOT! Maybe it’s the turn of the seasons to Summer and it’s just seasonal swelling but I don’t like it either way. So today was icky but I did it and I will continue to deal with the Stone Runner each month but I don’t have to be happy about it.