Month: June 2016

Finding Grace Through the Long Run

Opposites, they happen in running, especially during long runs. One week can be sheer disaster; they can be all pain, horrific to get through and then the next can be everything you want it to be: smooth, relatively pain free, even FUN.

Today, as opposed to last week (When Runs Go Bad), was incredible. I ran 16 miles and except for a couple tight spots, it felt good the whole time. I spent extra time at the gym on my core and rolling. Endless rolling. I’ve been nervous about this run for days. I was so nervous about it that it was hard to get to sleep last night.

I woke up early this morning, had a good breakfast, coffee of course, as I can’t live without it, and went out into the morning. I chose a route that didn’t have many hills and I had to pick one away from my normal spots because the Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon happening today.

About Mile 2 I got nervous; my knee started getting twangs of pain, but it went away after a couple moments and I sighed, relieved. It wasn’t until after Mile 8 on a long, straight stretch of 3rd Street that I had to roll my leg out. I thoughtfully brought my hand roller with me. It was a life saver!

Dancers on the pier

Dancers on the Pier

I only used once more a few miles later, but the rest of the run everything felt great. I kept my pace nice and slow, but not super slow, at least for me. It was a nice pace and one that if I could keep up with in the full marathon, I would be very happy with. I’m so pleased with my run and grateful to be able to run. There was a feeling early in this run that I would be OK, though. After my knee scare, I knew that if I could keep my pace slow, the rest of the way would be fine.

And the weather was quite warm, which I think it will be in late July at the time of the race. I’m a happy runner tonight. Next week, I go for 18 miles. Let’s have another week of good runs!

Cheers!

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When Runs Go bad

Sometimes, our runs, especially our long runs don’t go as planned. And sometimes they have to be stopped very short of our desired mileage. It’s happened to every one of us for different reasons. It happened to me this past Sunday and I’m still disappointed over it.

I was scheduled to run 16 miles, in preparation for my marathon in late July, but after the first mile, I could tell my right IT Band was going to give me issues. So, I took it slow and for a while, everything was great. But then, after mile 6, my leg started acting up and I knew I didn’t have far to go. I ran a few more miles and gave up. It wasn’t worth trying to get the mileage I wanted to, for a couple of reasons. I build some safety nets into my training. If there are a couple long runs with glitches, I can switch things around and get away with running a shorter length once or twice. I’ve learned from past mistakes that I can never have an all or nothing training plan. Life happens and sometimes the runs aren’t what we want them to be.

And as I walked to the bus stop, I knew why I couldn’t go the full planned mileage. “Such a rookie mistake,” I grumbled to myself, shaking my head.

I had not spent enough time stretching and strengthening my IT bands that week. I love working out at the gym. I especially enjoy working with weights and even planks, squats and lunges! Yes, I love all of those. But the repetitive stretches and band work I do to keep my IT bands and knees happy is not exciting at all. I do them to run, that’s it.

But instead of hating them, I have to look at them a little differently. To improve my running, I should view them as a means to an end, much like brushing one’s teeth. Is it exciting? Nope. But by doing all the stretches, the band work and the rolling, I can continue doing the one thing I love more than nearly anything else in my life!

It is THAT important.

As I continue to add mileage, leading up to my next marathon, it won’t get easier. It will be harder and harder, so I need to roll even more, push myself at the gym more and prepare for this old bod to push back more. It’s worth it, right? RIGHT?

I think it is.

Cheers!