Monday, May 24, 2010

You're better than your last run

A view of Griffith Park Observatory taken last week from the deck of the house in the Hills where I stay when visiting LA. It is a 5 mile round trip from where the picture is taken to the Observatory and back.

I still haven't tried out the new Brooks Cascadias yet. I plan to do a trail jaunt this week as soon as I recover from the most brutal run I've ever done. It all started yesterday a.m... I remember it as though it were yesterday... I awoke around 6:30 feeling pretty good - maybe a bit sluggish. But nothing a bit of coffee and oatmeal couldn't cure. I took my CoQ10 and some potassium. I swallowed a spoonful of chia. I had a quick shot of EmergenC. I don't normally do EmergenC prior to a run, but since the weather was hot and humid, I thought that having some extra electrolytes might be a good idea. I also grabbed my Amphipod belt with a water bottle (something else I don't normally carry). I was a bit concerned about the heat. I also did something I never do - I brought along identification. I don't know what was going on in my mind. The day (or maybe it was just me) felt a bit different than other days I had gone for a run.

So I took off heading south into a pretty strong headwind. The route I was on would require running into it for about 4 miles before turning perpendicular to it. As I ran, I felt OK, but not in top form. As I came upon the 6.2 and 8.5 mile bailout points, I thought that perhaps I should take one of them. But I chose to continue, thinking that I usually run through any issue. And I couldn't specify what felt wrong. At about the 6.5 mile mark, my right quad began to hurt. Each step was a little bit painful. I drank most of the bottle of water, and slugged down a shot of Accel Gel that I had brought along. I hoped that I'd get an energy burst. The burst was never to arrive, however. The rest of the run became a painful slog.

To get through it, I tried several different things. I tried to think of my right leg as unnecessary. I concentrated on pushing off on my left leg, and letting the right one flow along. I counted steps and cracks in the pavement. I watched sweat stream off my cap like a small waterfall. Nothing really worked. I thought, at several points, how good it would be simply to stop and walk. But I stupidly have an issue with that course of action ever since reading the book, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. He doesn't like to walk when he sets out on a run. I, for some reason, subscribe to that philosophy as well (though after yesterday, I think I'll change that plan in the future). I can't recall ever feeling as bad during a run.

When it ended, I bent over and remained in that position for a bit of time, trying to ascertain what was wrong. I took an Aleve when I got indoors. Had another EmergenC, then sat down. For the next two hours the muscles in my legs would fire off in painless spasms. It was interesting to watch, but it kind of freaked me out because it had never happened before.

I'm taking today off. In the next couple of days I plan to do 2-3 miles on the levee or on trails in order to ease myself back in to the groove. The plan is to cut down on miles a bit this week and next - with the longest run being 8 miles next Sunday. That should put me right on schedule for a good time at the Hospital Hill half marathon in a couple of weeks.

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