The past few weeks, I've had a Saturday routine. Get up early, go through the breakfast and minor exercise routine, interspersed with laundry. Go for my long slow run in the morning, and get my laundry out of the way before my daughter shows up to do her laundry. Lunch with daughter, nice chat catching up on what's going on with her life.
Today, the schedule was made more challenging by tax training from 8:30 to 4:30. If I got up at 5, I could fit the long run in before training; but then I wouldn't get the laundry done. That decision was easy because I slept in till 5:30. Got the last mandatory load of laundry into the dryer before leaving for tax training, and lunch with daughter stayed on schedule. This forced the long run into the afternoon, starting at 2:45 to be sure I had daylight.
The good thing about this was that I got near-perfect running weather. 56° F, SSW winds 9-11 mph, and it felt so good that I told RunKeeper it was sunny. I later realized it was only hazy sunshine and being in a really good mood.
I was in such a good mood that I started out just running. When the app told me my pace was 7:22 per mile after the first minute, I made a conscious effort to slow down, but didn't really slow down as close to an 8 minute mile as I have in past runs. I need to work on that.
The plan was to run for 9.4 miles. This was mostly the same route as last week's 8.3 miles, with an extra detour near the end. Aside from failing to control my pace very well, it was a good run through the first 6 miles. Along about that point, I stopped caring about the pace. After all, it was only another 3 miles or so and I still felt good!
Two days of highs in the 40s and a half day of warm rain yesterday had left the shoulders all clear of snow, and the sidewalks mostly clear enough to run on, given that I could trust the wet spots to be water and not ice. There were only a handful of spots where I was running on sidewalks and had to alter my stride to avoid patches of snow and ice from either total failure to clear sidewalks or a business plowing the sidewalk shut at the intersection with its driveway.
I was composing in my mind a blog about how nice it was, and that this would be the longest continual run I've done in my life; but that turned out not to be the case. A bit after the last opportunity to turn and bail for less distance, I got an ache in my right hip. It's an odd spot, kind of like I just moved hard sideways into a brick wall. I had this same ache two weeks or two ago, and it altered my gait on Sunday. I didn't blog about it because it got better by Tuesday, but I remembered it.
Mr. Testosterone told me it was only another two miles, just keep running. I told him to shut up, stopped, and fumbled with my iPhone to stop the RunKeeper app. Then I turned around and retraced part of my route, walking the shortest way home as my walking cooldown. I listened to Mr. Testosterone too much a year ago. This year, I want to keep running even if I don't stretch the distance as much as I (or Mr. Testosterone) would like. So I did the adult thing, and quit when it hurt.
Back home, I stretched, found dinner, and got distracted by the Denver-Baltimore game. Through the evening, I kept getting up to walk around the house doing more laundry, and various other household tasks. I recalled that last time, the hip got better with gentle use more than with total rest.
So, the total run turned out to be 7.88 miles in 58:07 for an average pace of 7:23 per mile:
RunKeeper shows a total variation of 113 feet in elevation. Running the hills felt good. I got to where the gentle inclines were pretty much like running on level ground. It was all good, except the part about having to stop before I was done. And even then, the bad foot didn't complain any more than anticipated. It was a different ache that stopped me.
But that's the way it is. First priority is, stay healthy enough to keep running. If it turns out that I can't stretch to 13 miles by the end of April, that's the way it turns out. That's my mantra, anyway. I need to keep reminding myself of this, because having paid the entry fee to that half marathon makes Mr. Testosterone's voice a bit louder.
Right now, I'm glad I didn't realize I was only a mile and a half short of done instead of the two miles I was thinking. If I'd been thinking it was that short, I might have listened to Mr. Testosterone. And that would have been a really stupid thing to do.
I think I'll be able to run a shorter distance on Tuesday, and that's Plan A. There is a chance that I'll need a Plan B, but I'll address that if it happens. I think if I had kept running that last mile and a half, there would be a major chance I'd need a Plan B for Tuesday, and some chance I'd need one for the following Thursday as well. Been there, done that. I'd rather not go there again.