Nothing more foolish than a man chasin’ his hat. ~ Tom Reagan
If I have learned anything over the past several years of running, it is never a good idea to obsess too deeply over any given day’s effort. Certainly there will be times when your performance does not match up with your expectations – I am not saying you shouldn’t invest some time trying to sort out the why – but I have found that beating yourself up about an off day is rarely productive.
After Friday’s day off (intended to ski with my dad and his fiancée but the weather didn’t cooperate), I got back to business on Saturday with a good ski with good friends and a quick run to shake out the cobwebs a little bit. Pete, Edy and I hit the Basin in the morning and conditions, though still wanting, were a lot better than the last time I was up. More terrain open which meant I was actually a bit sore the next day from using muscle groups that haven’t gotten a lot of action over the past 8 months. I hit the treadmill on the way home and felt like I was ready for Sunday’s effort.
Janet asked that I try to tone it down a bit for Sunday’s run since the last three efforts were a bit higher than prescribed so the goal for Sunday was to keep the heartrate down and just have fun. I headed west along a route that took me to the far western edge of Boulder then worked my way south along city streets, eventually meeting up with the familiar system of Boulder’s vast network of trails. These were snowpacked and icy for the most part so I donned my YakTrax and made my way up Enchanted Mesa to Mesa then down Bear. Other than residual soreness from Saturday’s double-up, I felt pretty great. I was able to move at a relatively steady pace without spiking the heartrate. Just steady, relaxed and easy.
I made my way back northeast, via Boulder’s equally awesome network of bike paths and wound my way back to my car with the plan being to use this as a staging area to refuel. As you have read, I have had some ongoing issues with knee pain in the medial posterior region of my right knee. This cropped up again on Sunday’s run and it was really bugging me by the time I made it back to my car. I also was experiencing some unbelievable chafing for some reason and these, combined with a storm quickly moving in from the west and my having ditched my jacket at Pete and Edy’s place early in the run (temps were much milder than I expected), pushed me to the decision to call it a day with only 14 miles and 2:23 covered out of a projected 24/3:50. Not a shining moment but one on which I refused to dwell (especially given that the skies opened up with a serious snowstorm no more than 10 minutes after I called it a day).
I was still a bit sore on Monday and went to the gym to work in some upper-body weights just to knock the rust off a little bit and try to get more consistent about full-body strengthening. Yesterday, I was back in action with a nice little run around the ‘hood on snowpacked and icy roads. I then found a relatively flat section that was also dry on which to do some surges. These felt a bit harder than normal (mostly because the odd numbered surges were slightly uphill and into a headwind) but I really focused on staying relaxed and using good form over blazing speed (which, you are probably aware, is not really in my skillset anyway). It felt great to get out and I was able to work on some stride adjustments throughout the run that appear to relieve some of the wackiness I have been experiencing with my hamstring.
Today’s planned group run was kiboshed by work priorities so I’ll run solo this afternoon and get in some good tempo work. Planning to continue to test this new form to see if it is something I should work into my regular stride. I am sure Janet will have some recommendations and feedback when I meet with her tomorrow.
All in all, though last week was not my finest effort (only ran about 30 miles), I learned a lot, had fun and continue to be consistent which, at this stage of the game, is probably more important than actual numbers. I feel that I continue to make progress and that is the key.
See you out there.