Today, I discovered a new maxim by which I will live. Do not, less than 15 hours before a long run, eat a box of macaroni and cheese.
Yesterday morning, my scheduled long run day for this week, I woke up with some pain still in my knee. I was very tired, having had a late-night rehearsal, and I could feel - actually feel - the fact that it was wet and rainy outside. I rolled over and went back to sleep. Knowing that today was set aside for "cross-training," I decided to switch my days. I did some walking, but took it easy for the most part. After my late rehearsal, I made an ill-informed dinner choice and went to bed not long after.
This morning, I didn't have any more time to push back the long run, so I got up and prepared to head out into the still rainy weather. My wife has started running as well, much to my delight, so she was getting ready at the same time. The dog was very concerned.
It made me exceedingly happy to have such an energetic start to a Sunday morning. One of the major reasons that I restarted this journey was to force myself toward a healthier lifestyle, and now it feels like we're living it. I took some time to stretch, and warm up my muscles just a little bit. My wife took the dog with her, and I headed down the hill.
My current training schedule stresses maintaining an easy pace as opposed to building any sort of speed, especially early on. I've found something interesting about this goal, though. By trying to maintain a slower pace, I actually end up going faster than I want. As of right now, I don't know what my goal pace feels like, so I'm having some difficulty making myself stay in it, but of course that's what training is all about.
As of right now, I shouldn't even necessarily be timing my longer runs, but I like to keep track for my own records. I think it's still okay as long as I'm timing myself in the hopes of being OVER a certain time, instead of under it.
I was under my time for my first four miles, at which point I made it onto a trail, and it was far more difficult to know where exactly the mile splits were. Once I got to this point, I tried to just hold my pace where it was and hope for the best. Not thinking about my time gave me a chance to look around at the other folks on the trail, which, despite the rainy weather, was exceptionally full. I saw a few finisher shirts from last week's races, and all of them made me smile. I even saw one person I knew on the trail, which doesn't happen very often. I don't know many people in the town yet, and seeing someone familiar makes it feel just a little bit more like home.
The trouble didn't really start for me until almost the 7 mile mark. With one mile left, I learned my aforementioned lesson about what not to eat the night before. I stopped my watch and looked around for a port-o-john, and I saw two. Neither, I soon learned, was suitable for human occupancy. I pulled it together, cleared my mind, and headed up the hill for my last mile. Today's Hero Song was Eminem's Till I Collapse, which took my mind off other issues and put my focus squarely where it belonged. Up the hill.
Drenched with sweat and some rain, I crested my last hill and took a deep breath. I 'd just run 8 miles without any pain in my knee, and without any issues other than meal choice. I felt strong and satisfied, and I'd run faster than I had intended, while maintaining what felt for me to be an easy pace. I'm excited about season 2.
And I'm excited for tomorrow's run.
55 Degrees / Rainy
1 Hour, 0 Minutes, 16 Seconds