Well it finally happened – I had a very bad run on Wednesday. I have been feeling so great in general and especially on my runs that I knew a lousy run was bound to happen eventually, but this one is 100% my own dang fault.
I was so busy at work on Wednesday that I only ate snacks and not my lunch. I basically had fruit and carbs, no protein whatsoever. I had plenty of water throughout the day but too much coffee. I debated having a GU before my run but didn’t want the added caffeine (and I’m out of the caffeine-free ones). I was also out of clean socks – I have done laundry exactly ONCE since the marathon on April 17 – so I wore my knee-high compression socks that I haven’t worn since the fall along with shorts since it felt somewhat warm out.
Bad ideas, all around.
I felt terrible by about half a mile in. I debated walking or stopping altogether at Mile 1, but forced myself to keep going. But by Mile 1.25, my calves were rock hard and I could not continue. I tried stretching them both ways (flexing my feet, pointing my toes) but nothing seemed to help. Eventually I said “screw it” and just started running again, and by some miracle my calves eased up. My feet were numb the whole time because these tall socks are tight on my calves but way too big on my feet, so they provide no foot compression whatsoever. I was able to finish the 3.5-mile “easy run” my training plan called for, but it was anything but easy. I struggled the whole way, feeling faint and tired and just generally awful. I also hadn’t estimated my distance well, so I ended up having to run laps around my neighborhood at the end when all I wanted to do was lie down in the middle of oncoming traffic. I somehow ended up with a 10:17 average pace, but finished feeling like I had been running 7-minute miles – that’s how truly terrible I felt. In the shower afterward, I felt like I was actually going to pass out. The steam felt too hot and my arms were like noodles when I was washing my hair, even though I hadn’t done an upper body workout. I ended up having a giant protein “smoothie” (2 clementines, some frozen mango, protein powder and water in my NutriBullet) for dinner and crashing rather early. I knew I could not run on an empty stomach like that ever again.
Fortunately I redeemed myself on Thursday. I ate well throughout the day and stayed hydrated.
I hate coming home from a long day of work, walking my dog (Rags for years, now Chip), and then rushing out the door again to run. It’s not fair to them. So after our walk, I changed into running clothes but played with Chip for a while first. He had a LOT of energy. I had a dog walker come around noon but my brother was out of town – and Chip had gotten used to him being home all week this week – and I also don’t think he loved this walker (her “report card” for him was kind of passive aggressive, saying he was wary of her at first and very protective of his home – even though I told her I just rescued him so everything is new and he is nervous and thus I left her a bag of treats on my front door to help with the introduction), so I tried to wear him out. Fortunately when I did head out for my run about 20 minutes later, he stayed quiet. In fact, the only time he was crying/barking when I left the apartment was Thursday morning before work, and there seemed to be no rhyme or reason – my brother was home sleeping and Chip’s whole morning routine was the same as it had been all week.
Anyway, I felt really great on my run. I was doing a 35-minute tempo run, and I planned to do a 10-minute warmup in the 10s, 15 minutes in the 9s, and a 10-minute cooldown back in the 10s. As usual, I had trouble maintaining a slow-ish cooldown pace and was a little too fast. I stopped into Marathon Sports during the first mile. I needed a sip of water and wanted to see if they had the new colors of my running shoes, and they did! But then I saw another color combination online later that night at now I’m torn between these two:
I don’t need new shoes yet – my current white ones have about 166 miles on them, and they last for 300 miles. And then I was back on my way. I had to stop a few times to loosen my shoelaces and try to reapply the Rocktape on my arch – but Rocktape failed me for the first time ever and would not stick up my shin. KT Tape has failed me often but Rocktape never had, so I was pretty disappointed. This was a brand new roll so I will give it another shot but it may be defective.
For those who don’t know, a tempo run is where you run a warmup and a cooldown, and in between you run at a “comfortably hard” pace – this is the tempo pace. Let’s be honest – I am not a runner by design. Every run is “comfortably hard” for me, honestly. My heart rate monitor stats prove that – my heart rate is in Zone 5 (on a scale of 1-5 for normal people where 1 is sitting, 2 is walking, 3 is jogging/power-walking, 4 is running, and 5 is sprinting) almost ALL the time on my runs. I love this advice to run by effort instead of pace, but it’s not practical for me. At least not right now. I hope that changes by the end of this summer as I introduce speedwork, intervals, tempo runs and other training methods into my workouts, but for right now I am really just trying to go slow-fast-slow for my tempos/intervals.
I ended up averaging a 9:34 pace and felt really good the whole time. When I got home, Chip was being good as usual, but he must’ve smelled my disgusting sweaty self and literally would not stop licking my face (he’s big on kisses – but this was clearly an attempt to eat my sweat) as I sat on the floor to stretch.
No less than 90 seconds later, I facetimed my mom (yes, she got a smartphone last month) so she could witness the lickfest but Chip went into his crate and fell asleep as if nothing happened. He is one funny dude.
My training plan called for 5 miles today, and with the exception of the Marathon itself, it was my longest run in over a month! I was planning to run this 5K around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir at 8am plus 2 miles beforehand, but I realized that they were charging $35 registration and that’s just silly for a tiny little 5K. So instead I just ran on my own. I woke up around 6am but was so tired that I went back to sleep, but apparently while I was in the bathroom Chip decided to go too…in the kitchen. I didn’t notice it until I got up for real around 7:30am. He’s used to going out at 6am so totally my fault, but it was nice to get some extra ZZZs.
We took a long morning walk – the route that was always Rags’ favorite morning walk but one I’d only let us take on Thursdays (because I worked from home), Saturdays if I didn’t have a long run, and Sundays. It was a treat but he came to expect it during the final few months, and it was hard not to give in and just be late to work.
Chip loved it! It probably would’ve been a 15-minute walk but he had so much new stuff to smell and pee on, so it took us over 25. By that point I was so hungry that I knew running on an empty stomach (I was too tired to make dinner last night) with just a GU for breakfast wasn’t going to happen, so we stopped at the coffee shop for a small iced coffee and a plain English muffin. Chip waited patiently outside for me – something I didn’t think he would enjoy – but he was very good!
After a mini breakfast, I went out for my 5-miler and felt pretty good. It was cool but of course I was hot, sweaty and beat red by Mile 1. I was pretty tired by the end and felt a slight sense of panic as I realized I am going to be racing this distance next Sunday, but I never once looked at my watch or worried about my time, and ended up finishing with a 9:46 pace. Not bad for not thinking about pace!
I’m closing out the week with 5 runs for a total of 18 miles! Now it’s time for a real breakfast (bacon, egg, cheese and avocado on a croissant and another iced coffee) then a shower and my first softball game of the season!