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Monday, April 11, 2011


I took ten days off running in an effort to get my body back to performance level without a nagging pain in my shin. Was it a success? Yes and no.

First of all, just because I wasn't running this week, that doesn't mean that I was sitting around doing nothing.

In fact, a couple Sundays ago, we had an exceedingly active day for us. We slept in a bit, but then we headed down to Art City downtown for a look at the different art for sale. We're only about 2 miles from the exhibition site, so we decided to walk, but stopped off on the way for some water and Gatorade, as it was a little hotter than we had anticipated.

Finally down at the show, we really enjoyed the artists down there. It was the kind of show that makes you wish for an extra $10,000 to spend on the decor in your place. As part of the show, you also got entry into the Austin Art Museum, so we walked up there, too, despite the fact that they were offering a trolley. It turned out that the museum wasn't really worth the walk, unless there were some other exhibits that we didn't see. Is there a second floor or something?

Anyway, we then walked all the way back home, which was probably another 3-4 miles. It's exactly the kind of cross-training that most training programs recommend, which is staying active in some way that is different from your primary workout.

Monday we got our taxes done, and that made it feel like I'd gone twelve rounds in a boxing ring. After that it was two nights of rehearsal for one show and then three nights of performance for another. Sunday held another rehearsal and my "cross-training" of following a trolley around downtown Austin for my sister-in-law's birthday.

Which brought me to this morning, when I was ready to get back out on the road. Problem number one was that I'd been sleeping in (relatively) all week long, so my body was not prepared for the prospect of waking before 6:30am. Problem number two was that I heard a thunderstorm happening outside immediately after my alarm went off, drowning my drive a little bit more. Number three, I really did not sleep all that well the night before. I woke up at 2:30 and 4:30 ready for the day, and though I took great joy in returning to sleep, it left me in a bad sleep cycle point when the alarm went off.

Needless to say, the morning run did not happen.

However, I regrouped. I determined that I would do today's four miles on the treadmill in the gym over lunch. This would save me some time, and offer me the option of stopping if my leg was hurting me too much. So at lunch time, I headed over.

I stretched for a very long time before I started, mostly because I was scared. If I got three minutes into the run and couldn't complete it, that meant a definite trip to the doctor, which is not something I really want to do. It could mean a more serious injury. It could even mean that I wouldn't be able to run races that I had already paid for months ago, and wasting money is not something I can really do these days (see above about my trip to the tax man).

So, I started out at a strong, but not too fast pace, and made myself keep it there for the first mile. I had some cobwebs and creaks to work out, but by the half mile mark, I was already feeling pretty good. I bumped the speed at the one mile, and again at the 1.5 to get into a long stride.

About mile two, I started to feel a familiar sting and my heart sank. I recognized the onset of my newest pain and made the choice to continue for the moment, staying at my current speed, and waiting to see if the pain got worse. And you know what? It didn't. There are still some nagging issues hidden in that leg, but the rest absolutely has worked, as I finished stronger and faster than I could have anticipated.

That being said, there is still some pain there, and at the end of a long walk with the wife and pup this evening, I could feel it nagging me again a little bit, though that's more likely from jumping over the 6 foot stick the dog was carrying. My father, who has had some shin splint issues of his own, gave me some stretches to do which I'll start up on tomorrow. I've got seven miles to do in the morning, and I want to get them done as early as possible, which actually shouldn't be a problem for me tomorrow. I need to get the wife to the airport crazy early, so I'll probably just come home and run right then. Who knows, I might even start working early and get a couple extra hours in.

The whole day can turn around if I'd actually get myself out of bed and on the road, and the key to doing that is to look forward to my runs. For the last few weeks, I've been dreading them, awaiting the next big thing that could go wrong, and I don't want to do that anymore. Life is too short to let the downsides of something keep you from enjoying the upsides. So tomorrow, I will run with joy.

And caution.

Monday's Run:
Indoors / Treadmill
4.0 Miles
27 Minutes, 49 Seconds

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