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First run of 2011

I’ve been both looking forward to and dreading my first run of 2011.  After my injury and painful 2.4 mi run earlier this week, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I haven’t been eating or hydrating like I should when I’m in training and our schedule is completely off so I wasn’t that prepared physically or mentally for this run. 

I slept horribly last night, mostly because I unwisely shared my bed with my daughter and puppy, so when my alarm went off at 6:15am, I was still exhausted.  Probably clocked @ 6 hours of total sleep.  As soon as my left foot hit the floor, it hurt. Great.  Kept hurting the entire time before I left, too.  I knew it was going to be cold out there so I dressed in layers and made myself a cup of coffee.  As I gathered all of my things together, fighting the sleepiness and dreading the cold, I thought to myself…”I’m paying money to do this to myself…really?”  I almost talked myself out of joining the team run a few times but I knew I needed to see my running buddies and coach. I hadn’t seen them in over a month and I need to get anchored back into my running mentality.  I opened my front door and pow! COLD AIR…UGHH.. But then I reminded myself that I’d run the Decker Challenge in similar temperatures but with an added north wind and loved that race.

I drove up to Rogue and made my way into the building.  My coach was talking to the group and saw me and waved…made me smile.  I knew this was the right thing! I tried to read the board to figure out how many miles my group was running but couldn’t tell.  The long runs contain groups in training for several different races (10Ks, half mara, and full mara) so it’s usually a large group, but this morning it was pretty small.  I look over to the left and see my team!  Hooray!  I sure have missed those smiling, encouraging faces.  I walked over to them and explained why I’d been M.I.A. for so long and everyone had hugs and words of support. Sure love these ladies!

Everyone left but I stayed back to talk to my coach about what I should do to work myself back into regular training.  She said I should run 4 miles on the Guadalupe route and it was a route I liked, which made me happy. I wasn’t happy about 4 miles, though.  Only 4? She said to try and when I returned if I was feeling okay, I could add 2 more. 

I left the building…POW! COLD AIR!…turned on my Garmin, put my earplugs in, fired up the ol’ iPod, and started to run.  Although my foot was a big concern, I was mostly concerned about my stamina for the run. I really wanted to have some enjoyment out there.  My coach warned us not to start out too fast, in an effort to warm up, so I closely monitored my pace on my Garmin.  I don’t always trust what it says but I know it’s in the ballpark and it was showing low 10s so I slowed down considerably.  Then I just tried to find a comfortable pace and paid close attention to how my left foot was striking the pavement. It doesn’t hit the ground the same way my right foot does. Very weird. I think it contributes to some of the problems I’ve been having so I’m trying to be more aware. When I was about one mile out, I realized I still felt pretty good.  Encouraging.  Then I ran up past the Bob Bullock Museum and took a left on San Jacinto and really felt great.  I was supposed to turn around at that point but decided to go for 5 and kept running.

Side note – Can’t count how many homeless people I said “good morning” to on the way out and back.  It’s humbling to pass so many of these people along the way.  If they make eye contact with me, I wish them a good morning.

I made it back to Rogue and saw my total distance and time – 5.3 miles, 11:41 min/mile.  Better than I thought I’d do. I was dragging a bit that last mile, but really thought I’d struggle a lot more than I did.  I did my stretching and my coach showed me how to use the foam block and roller to stretch my calves better. Yowza!  It really hurt!  I realized how much more stretching I need to do in those areas.  I thought about buying a set of tools to help me stretch but they cost $100!  I’ll have to pay attention to sales or something b/c there’s no way I can justify spending that kind of money on things to help me stretch.  Maybe I’ll get my insurance to cover it once I go through physical therapy?  Hope so.

I didn’t get to see my teammates before I left because they ran 8 and were still out on the course.  My coach wants me to run 20 min on Mon or Tue and then attend Wed night’s quality training with the team.  I think I’ll catch back up pretty quickly and feel more confident about the 3M half on January 30th.  Can’t say I’m 100% yet, but I’ll say 65 =)

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