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Monday, April 4, 2011

The Last Straw

I've got two posts to write today. The first is about the run that I took on Friday. The second is about why I haven't run a step since then.

So, to the good news first.

Friday was scheduled as a race-pace 6 miler, and I was excited to get out there and do it. Taking Thursday off, according to my training program, was relaxing and, I hoped, exactly what my body needed to get back on track to running without pain.

And for my first two miles, it seemed to have worked perfectly according to plan. My legs felt incredibly strong, and while I told myself not to push it too hard, I had a great amount of power in my stride. That first mile downhill gave me a huge boost in confidence and put a big smile on my face. I was even okay with the fact that I had to stop at the devil light before making my turn toward the trail.

Crossing the Lamar footbridge, I smiled even more, as I saw one of the "Play Me, I'm Yours" pianos. For those who aren't in Austin (or those who haven't heard of this), as part of the Art City festival, several pianos were placed around the city (including three on my 6 mile course) for public use. I got to sit down at one and play for a while yesterday, which was quite nice. I kind of wish they'd keep them out all year, but leaving them out in 1000% humidity is probably not great for keeping them in tune.

With a great mood and a hard pace, I started down the ramp off the bridge and a searing pain shot through my right leg, the same stupid shin issue that I've had day after day. I kept telling myself not to stop, and managed to get through another mile before I had to pull over and stretch it out. I would stop twice more before I finished the run.

The upside of whatever injury I'm fighting is that it goes away with stretching, and it only hurts after a few miles. Most of the research that I've done (which I'll talk more about later) says that the real concern comes when there's pain constantly, which thankfully is not the case. The downside is that when it comes to race day, I can't have them stop the clock so that I can stretch. In doing my training runs, I stop the time when I have to take these breaks because I want to know what my actual running pace is, so that I can make sure to know how it feels in my legs. It doesn't, however, adequately represent my total effort, because it doesn't include my rest time.

I took a lot of time to think about my next step after this run, and I'll get to that in a little bit. The important thing about today was that I stopped when it hurt, but still finished the run in a time I could be proud of (not counting rest/stretching).

However, with the pain in my leg, running has not been fun for me the last few weeks. It has been a chore, and a very uncomfortable run. It becomes increasingly more difficult to motivate yourself to run when it gets increasingly more painful each time you do it. I had to make a change and take some bold steps to make sure I'm in good shape when it comes to Seattle.

I'm going to have to rest.

Friday's Run:
84 Degrees / Cloudy
6.01 Miles
40 Minutes, 49 Seconds

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