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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Unintentional Intervals

Alternating between speed and rest can make for a great workout.

If that's what you're trying to do.

If, on the other hand, you have a pain in your leg that is dormant sometimes and agonizing others, then the intervals aren't quite as effective as they might otherwise have been.

I had a great plan this morning, which was to sleep in and let my body recover, choosing to do my planned 5 mile run in the afternoon. This would give me a little extra time to recover from yesterday's 15 miles, and hopefully go a long way toward getting my entire body back on track. As usual, I did not consult the weather when I made my choice.

Maybe, just maybe, we'll be getting one of these famous Texas thunderstorms that I've been hearing so much about, but they keep delaying its expected approach. When I looked at around lunchtime, it was scheduled to arrive about 4, so I decided to use my lunch break to get in the miles. As of right now, they're not expecting it until 10. I guess that's what I get for checking the weather for once.

I decided to use my old shoes today, as I'm still breaking in the new ones. I don't know that I'll be doing that again.

Even as I headed down the hill, I could feel the muscles in my legs complaining about yesterday's workout. After almost getting hit by a car within the first quarter mile, I did not feel good about what this might portend for the rest of the workout.

Within the first half mile, my leg was flaring up pretty badly, so I settled into a slower pace. At about two miles, I was stopped by the devil light and took some time to stretch, which actually felt really good. And shortly afterward, things started to go badly. As I restarted, the pain in my leg spread quickly to the foot and the hip, and my stride was shortened significantly. At 2.5, I stopped for a minute and really took a stretch.

The joy of an out-and-back course is this: I know that I can motivate myself to the halfway point of any run, and once I've gone out that far, there's only one thing I can do, which is to come back. Despite any pain or exhaustion I might feel, I need to get home, and the faster I run, the sooner that happens. 

Today, it happened that I had to stop every half mile or so to stretch, as my muscles were cramping, which I think was causing all the pain. With a thunderstorm on the way, the humidity in the air was almost suffocating, and all my thought was focused on trying to ignore the pain in my leg. Like when someone says, "Don't think about monkeys." That's all that kept coming to mind.

As I neared the last mile, I reminded myself of my new mantra from yesterday; don't give yourself permission to be weak. It was a slower jog than normal for me, but I ran the whole way back up the hill, despite almost being hit by a car once again. 

Seriously, people, look both ways when you're turning right on red.

My time got much slower throughout the run, but it was still very strong, despite the pain. I thought several times about stopping, but refused to give myself permission. Anything I didn't run today would have to be made up tomorrow, making that day harder. Since I completed everything I needed to do today, tomorrow's 3 will be nice and easy, and then I get an intentional day off.

They're always better when they're planned.

Tuesday's Run:
67 Degrees / HUMID
5.05 Miles
36 Minutes, 5 Seconds

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