Taking the Run Back

After a couple of weeks of worrying, stretching, chiropractoring, resting, icing the left calf and heel, I finally decided to get back in the game this week. The hill training this week left me feeling way more confident. Of course I still huffed & puffed and walked at times on Tuesday’s Marshes workout (see earlier post) but I completed it the best I could.

I ran while I was in Houston around Chumki didi’s neighborhood. I had mapped out a nice route of 2.5 miles out and back (or so I thought). I was proud of my planning and the fact that I got into bed early enough (usually I yap with Chumki didi until at least midnight). But I still woke up late – plan was to get out and run at 6.15 but somehow the alarm didn’t ring and I started only at 7.05. I began running faster because now I had less time but I still wanted to the 5. That of course didn’t feel good and I have such a hard time the first 2 miles anyway. And then, I realized that I was running on newly (relative to Austin) laid concrete – it was hard, unrelenting, unyielding. I felt like something was banging against my feet and legs. And running fast wasn’t helping. The leg pain wasn’t wearing off, the concrete was terrible to run on. So I did a walk-jog and I was so slow I had to turn around at a something around 1.3-1.5 miles. So though I got in 3 miles it was a huge waste of effort I think. I hated the run, my legs hurt, made me curse Houston and its darn concrete roads. Yuck! Next time I’m there, I will take Chumki didi’s advice and drive to the park. My legs ached the whole day and I was glad for the off day on Friday. Almost thought I’d jeopardized my Saturday run.

But come Sat, I felt fine again and swore to myself never to run on hard concrete again. Asphalt in Austin is not so bad – the roads are old and worn in so they have variation in slope and are much softer. Today we ran Guadeloupe again. I can’t believe it’s my 5th run already! I love this course because I had my first great run on it, 3 Saturdays agao. But then I ran 5 miles so today feeling a lot more confident I was going to all 8.

Though the course was the same as before, this wasn’t an ‘easy’ pace run. We ran 2 miles at easy pace and remember 2 miles is what it takes for me to warm up. I ran all the 2 miles. Then, next 4 miles was at half marathon goal pace (HMGP) and then last 2 miles at easy pace. I wrote about that when I described the Warhurst. Since I hadn’t done the time trial, all I knew was this was a faster pace than the first 2 miles (according to Coach Lorrie, you can have conversation but not too much :)). So off I sprinted a bit faster than usual starting off at San Jac and MLK, right in the middle of campus. It felt alright. My legs were beginning to tire but after the first 2-2.5 miles, I can usually get my breathing down to an even, easy pace (the trick here is to breathe in at 2 seconds, breathe out for 3). Then I focus on my legs and making the run easy for them :). After all they’re doing all the work.

After we got onto Duval, I spied the inclines. However having run  on the concrete, I mentally felt like the hills were a welcome hardship. With training, I can run the hills. I just never want to set foot on concrete again except when I walk. The first incline was a bit hard so I ran it up at the same pace – got tired and walked a bit. I walked for about a minute or two in between but was able to run most of it. I don’t think I managed to do the faster pace on the second set of 2 miles. But the 3rd set was much easier even though there was a gradual incline on the way back and I gained some speed. I ran the 3rd set of 2 miles at an average pace of 12.24 or so a mile and I was damn proud of myself. Thanks to the pace there were stitches and once I stopped and bent over, much to the concern of another runner. Then I said to hell with the stitches, they’re such an annoyance. I kept running. The last 2 miles were again easy pace – I was having a hard time slowing down this time because I’d gotten into momentum and didn’t really feel like going easy even though I was quite tired. It was an effort to slow down and that, I am finding very hard to believe myself.

Got back into Rogue at 9.24 am. I’d begun at 7.37 am so that’s roughly 117 minutes or 13.45 pace. I’ve definitely gained 1 minute overall but since we varied the pace that’s an average, which means I did good on the 4 HMGP miles. So that was a fantastic run and I am so back in the program. Took me 5 runs or so to feel like I’ve caught up with the rest on my terms.

I’m not so hot on my running form though. I sometimes look into passing glass windows and I just never look like those cool runners. I dont slouch or lean back (so that’s good) but my strides are short. Bharath says its cos of my butt that sticks out and today in those mirrors I realized he is right! All these days I thought his impersonation was well, just an insult. Today I realized it was pretty darn accurate. Well not much I can do about that eh?

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