Friday, June 01, 2012
Last August, when I started training myself to be a runner, my first goal was to run the entire 3.5 mile course of the 2012 Chase Corporate Challenge in Rochester, NY. I had participated in this event every year since 2005, and had never been able to keep running the entire way. The best I did was run the first 2 miles; the worst, I didn't make it through the first mile.
More ambitious goals followed that one, as it became apparent that I could do more than just keep running for 3.5 miles. Before the CCC rolled around, I ran a 5K , then a 10K, then signed up for a half marathon, then got injured and had to back off to the 5K associated with that HM. Lately I've been bothered by running more than I should at my current state of leg development, and having my calves take turns telling me so.
A week before the CCC, I had a great run. That was my last blog. Then I ran out of time to write blogs. The short version is: Thursday, great run. Saturday, good run. Monday, decent run cut a little short because of that same left calf. Intentional rest till Thursday, the day of the race. Calf feels okay, not great.
Get my packet from the team captain on Wednesday. This year, the bib is a nice bright red, and my number is 730. Hmm. I've never seen a 3 digit number on this race before. The team captain must have got in really early.
It turns out there were some changes to how the race was managed this year. Instead of a single mass start for about 10,000 runners, the start was staged. First stage was for racers and fast runners, with red bibs. Second stage was for runners, with yellow bibs. Third stage was for walkers and non-competive runners, with green bibs. My team captain had asked what time I expected, and I told him my goal was 24 minutes. That qualified me as a "fast runner."
From my perspective near the front, the staged starts (yellow 2 minutes after red, green 2 minutes after yellow) was a smashing success. It didn't take very long to get to the start line, and while there was traffic to run through early on, there weren't a whole lot of really slow people to go around. In the entire course, I only passed one person who was walking. He had a red bib, and I think he took himself out for injury.
At mile one, the timer called out 6:30. That's too fast for me to sustain. At mile two, the clock said 13:20. That second mile turned out to be close to my average for the course. By then my left calf was bothering me, and if this had been a training run I would have slowed to a walk. But there was that goal of running all the way, so I just ran a bit slower. I think the clock at mile three was somewhere around 20:30, but I don't remember exactly.
I do remember coming into the home stretch and trying to pick it up to beat 24:00 at the finish line. I didn't make it, gun time. The clock said 24:05 when I crossed. But this is chip timing, and doesn't start until I cross the start line. A co-worker with a smart phone scanned my bib and showed me the 23:58 chip time. I made my goal, and that was good! It was also the fastest score on my company's team, which gives me some office bragging rights.
Miscellaneous race notes: The web site tells me there were 9,967 participants from 399 companies. There were plenty of people finishing ahead of me; the overall winner was a familiar name from the local running shop, at 17:33. The fastest female finished at 19:44. This year, the event shirts from Chase were tech shirts instead of cotton. Everyone I spoke to was happy with that. In fact, up near the front at the start just about everyone was wearing a tech shirt from their company. I think I only saw one runner up there in a cotton shirt.
The aftermath: Today that left calf really bothered me. I skipped much of my normal morning exercise routine, and my normal lunch walk. I did get a 30 minute walk in late this evening to get my 10K steps for the day, but that's about it. No running for me today, and no running tomorrow. Sunday running is doubtful at this point. If I do get a Sunday run in, I need to strictly limit it to 5K. The next important goal is to get the legs healthy enough to support running 3 times a week, even if the runs are only 20 minutes long.
I will probably enter more organized races before next year's Chase Corporate Challenge, but I'm in no hurry to sign up right now. Work is crazy busy, and it will be enough of an effort to get regular informal running in. If I take another week to write another blog, it's not because I don't have anything to write about; it's because when I only have so much time, blogging loses to planning food and getting the exercise in.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
After last Saturday's calf problem, I planned to rest from running till Tuesday. Tuesday came, and the calf still felt sub-par. Plus the old bad foot was making itself known. I decided to skip Tuesday's run. Wednesday was a non-running day anyway due to scheduling constraints.
Today is Thursday, a work at home day. Time schedules are tight, so I needed to keep a lunch run short. I figured 5K would be about right.
It was sunny with a hint of future higher humidity. My remote thermometer told me it was 82.9° F when I started. Ran most of my standard, flat 5K route, but couldn't resist adding a short detour near the end to add distance. That short detour took me back over a very minor hill, more of a bump, late in the path; I wanted that bump because there is a small hill on the course of next Thursday's race.
Had a bit of gas left in the tank for a little extra speed as I approached my driveway; but it wasn't really enough extra speed to be called a sprint. The run timed out at 21:41, and I figured I was running about a 7 minute mile because I wasn't making any effort to run slowly. It mapped out to 3.19 miles, for an average pace of 6:48 per mile.
Best of all, the legs felt normal when I stretched. Yes, I can still tell that the left calf is a little tighter than the right calf. Yes, I can still tell that the right foot isn't 100%. But it's close. More importantly, the legs and feet aren't keeping me from doing anything. If there was a limit on speed, it was more due to cardiovascular conditioning and temperature than legs.
I do have to think about taking a water bottle with me now. I would have used one on this run if I'd had it. That might have slowed me down a little, but it will be worth it as the weather gets warmer and the runs get longer.
The plan now is two more short runs on Saturday and Monday mornings, then take Tuesday and Wednesday off from running to be fresh for the race Thursday evening. Pre-race info is out, and it says that "the front rows of the start are for runners planning to race at a pace under 7 minutes per mile." This year, I can legitimately line up near the front.
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Yesterday I was all bummed out about my left calf getting hurt while I ran. Those who were paying attention to detail will have recognized that this was my previously healthy leg, the right one having given me issues most recently. That aspect was particularly frustrating.
So I rested the leg. Among other things, I didn't even think about mowing the lawn yesterday. But the grass still needs mowing, and there's no one else to do it. So about 6 pm, with my handy remote thermometer telling me it's 90° F (32° C) outside my window, I started the routine to mow the lawn this evening. Go down to the basement to get cords for the electric mower. As I reach the main floor with the cords, I realize that I didn't notice my calf on the way down. Hmm. Go down and back up, paying attention.
Today is not a day to run on that calf, but it's much better than it was yesterday. I'd say there was a fair chance I'll be able to run again on Tuesday. *Maybe* I could get away with it tomorrow, but I don't think I'll chance it.
Now to go mow the lawn, which might put me over my 10K steps for the day. Yeah, it's been a pretty sedentary Sunday, mostly working on my work computer. And I need to do more of that after I mow.
Saturday, May 19, 2012
Today I ran 4.93 miles in 35:04, for a 7:07 pace per mile. The only problem with this was, it was a planned 5.20 mile run.
I started my Saturday by taking the luxury of moving slowly in the morning. Yeah, I was out of bed at 6 with the alarm; but I didn't hustle. I dawdled through breakfast, and went light on the morning exercises in anticipation of running. Got out on the road a bit before 9, and set out to run a very familiar 5.2 mile course.
Right now, 5.2 miles is further than I've been running. Thursday I ran 4.31 miles with a couple of small hills, so I figured stretching the distance to a course with only one minor hill would be okay. I made no attempt to run particularly fast, even on the modest downgrades in the early part of the route. A pace of a a bit over 7 minutes per mile felt sustainable. It felt good. The weather was beautiful, 64° F when I started, with sunshine and intermittent light breeze. I concentrated on paying attention to my legs, and making this sustainable.
Everything felt great. I got to the last downgrade a bit over half a mile from home, and picked up the pace just a little. Got to the corner to my street, and wham! Sharp pain in the left calf.
Well, I've seen that before. Stop running, look at watch, fish out iPod, stop the stopwatch, look back at watch to see how many seconds to subtract. Treat the remainder of the course as the first part of the walking cooldown. Stretch, take care of the legs. When stretching, the left gastrocnemious seemed to be the issue; but the way it hurt to go down stairs felt more like the soleus.
Sigh. As I'd been moving through those last 2 miles, I'd been thinking this would be my longest run for the next two weeks. The plan was to run less than 4 miles next week on Tuesday and Thursday, about 4 on Saturday, and limit myself to a 5K the following Monday before resting up for the 3.5 mile Chase Corporate Challenge on May 31. A real training plan, complete with taper!
Well. After being mostly sedentary the rest of the day, with some shopping to walk off whatever stiffness will walk off, the calf doesn't hurt all the time; but it's not in shape to run on, either. Maybe I can try again Tuesday, and maybe I'll need to wait longer.
When things go like this, my natural inclination is to hide from the online scene. It's a lot easier to write about running when the run goes well. But, I guess this is part of life. Sometimes, I have to find out how much is too much the hard way.
Oh, well. At least I can still do pushups and pullups.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
With a question mark, because I don't trust it just yet.
Today was a work from home day, which meant I could squeeze more time to run at lunch. I ended up squeezing a bit more time in than I intended.
Temperature at noon was in the low 60s F somewhere; I didn't look when I started, but it was 64° F (18° C) when I remembered to look later. There was a light breeze and sunshine. Good running weather.
I set out on my basic around the neighborhood run, adding two small hills to the known 5K distance. Today I added a different pair of hills than last time, to avoid training to the precise route. It also avoids knowing whether I'm faster or slower than the last time, which helps me not to second guess myself.
Got a bit of a late start, so I didn't warm up. I just figured to run easily at first and speed up when it felt natural to do so. I ended up trying to run a little faster on the downhills, and just trying to run at a sustainable pace on the near level stretches.
When I got near home, it was clear that I would be over 28 minutes and pushing 29. Can't resist that; clicked lap at my driveway to note the time, and ran up the street and back far enough to make 30 minutes for that 6th Spark Point. The total route mapped out to 4.31 miles in 30:10, for a pace right at 7:00 per mile.
Best of all, pretty much everything felt normal. Yeah, the bad foot isn't 100%. Yeah, there was some mild intermittent grumbling from my right ankle. Yeah, I'm still developing good runner's calluses, but the bottoms of my feet felt better than they did after Tuesday's run.
This is progress. Perhaps this weekend I'll try to run a bit further, maybe the known 5.2 mile route. My self-competitive nature wants to go for 10K, but my head says I shouldn't be there yet.
Two weeks from today is the 3.5 mile Chase Corporate Challenge. I've paid, and the team captain has ordered shirts. From a motivational perspective, when the captain asked what time I expected I told him 24 minutes if my legs were healthy. Looks like they're healthy, and I don't want to do anything to mess that up in the next two weeks.
And if I'm really going to run 3 times per week, it's time to start eating like a runner again.
Get An Email Alert Each Time MOBYCARP Posts