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It’s All Out the Window

May 18, 2009

Hamstring pain has radiated to the knee, which feels like it’s not tracking too well.

I made this discovery on an early Sunday morning run. I don’t usually run Sundays, they being my Sabbath, but my long run was sabotaged this week to the possible injury and the fact that the Boss went gleaning with the church* that day, meaning I had to stay in with the kids.

So, I put in an easy four Sunday morning, and made a couple interesting discoveries.

It might be that it’s May, and it hurts to run the first couple of weeks of May. Knowing I was only going out for 4 or 5, I didn’t carry water, and I was pretty hot and thirsty by . . . mile 2. Part of my struggle in the early miles was just settling into a rhythm, and though some of it had to do with the possibly-hurt leg, plenty had to do with just being . . . ugh. And I think that’s the arrival of summer, just being unaccustomed to the heat and humidity and having to work into that.

Having said that, my leg did bother me. I remembered Bob‘s advice (he commented on my last post) about taking it easy and running “to the point of awareness,” so there was plenty of stopping and walking in that first mile. Interestingly, the pain diminished after I got into a good rhythm, just as it has on my last few runs.

It wasn’t the hamstring that bothered me, but more of the knee, like it wasn’t clicking right. I’m always particularly concerned about my knees because it’s the only place I’ve ever had a diagnosed injury–after my first half marathon, my orthopedist said I had a slight case of patellar tendinitis, brought on by classic doing too much too fast and muscular imbalance. It was easily treated by avoiding hill work and speedwork for a few weeks, as well as cutting down the training days for a while–ran four days instead of five from May of last year until about August.

Okay, having said all that, I’ve decided a few things, some short, some long-term.

I didn’t run today. For right now, I’m throwing out my off-season goals, or, rather, concentrating on goal #1: avoiding injury. I still want to run that 5k next Monday, so the plan right now is to run Tuesday, rest Wednesday, run Thursday, rest Friday, and do a long run Saturday. How long will the long run be? Well, a lot of that depends on how smart I am during my runs Tuesday and Thursday. I don’t plan to do speedwork, though I do have the race coming up, because I’d rather be fast for the race than hurt myself worse and sacrifice my performance on race day. I might do pickups on Tuesday, or something easy like that, but nothing organized. Saturday will be an easy long run, 10 or so, and definitely no bridge work this time around.

Long term, I’m looking at swapping rest days. Like I said before, I usually rest on Sundays, and I thought my logic was sound, it being a day I dedicated to spending with my family and in worship. The upshot of it was, however, that it was my day to sleep in. Then, due to family and church commitments, we’d end up not getting home til 10 or so, and I’d not be in bed til 11, then up by 4:30 for quiet time and on the road by 5 on Monday morning. Migraine city.

Yesterday was actually a better day because, by being up early to run, I got some good prayer and Bible time in, got breakfast before the rest of the family, and was happy (though stinky) by the time the rest of the family got up. In addition, for once, because I knew I’d be up and out the door in the morning, I got clothes laid out and everything ready for Sunday the night before. See, I should do that every week, but the illusion of an extended morning fools me into thinking I’ll have time to do it, then I end up rushed.

Silly how I actually got more done the day I got up to run. Then we got to bed late, as usual, and I wasn’t stressed because, after all, I didn’t really have to get up to run if I didn’t want to.

So, I’m thinking of swapping rest days. My only concern is whether my legs can take running an easy 3-5 miles the day after a true long run–say 18 to 20 miles, once I’m in marathon mode.

So, for this week, all mileage and pace goals out the window. I’m still holding on to the hope of holding an 8-minute pace at the Run for the Pineapple, but a lot of that will depend on what the heat is like that day.

Until then, thanks for all the good advice, and Bob, here’s hoping for quick healing.

*Harvest was late this year due to the freezes, so instead of truly gleaning, the farm allowed about 150 volunteers from area churches to harvest about 4 rows of corn by hand and distribute whatever was gathered among the poor in Palm Beach County. The Boss and his dad were out there, and report it was hard, dusty work. In the end, volunteers report it was the most prolific Gleaning Day ever held–the truck couldn’t hold all the corn collected, and church volunteers came home with boxes of corn themselves. Praise God, and may He continue to provide for His children and, through them, to all those in need.

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