Friday, April 30, 2010

I Think I finally Get it...A Flashback

Farmington Canal Linear Park trail 49 freakin' chilly degrees. 4 miles; Splits: 8:45; 8:24; 8:23; 8:22; 33:54; 8:28 per mile pace...I'm getting faster :-)

*Started this on Wednesday, finished it on Thursday. Re-posted it on Friday. :-)

Physical Therapy (P.T.) works. You knew that, right? P.T.'s have magic hands. Seriously. I've had P.T. for groin (You may laugh) and knee issues before, and have always managed to recover quickly and well. OK, just to clarify the groin part, no, the P.T. didn't use his hands on my groin area. (You may laugh again).
Yesterday I could have run, but chose to take an additional day off since I had P.T. and had used the gym. Not that I couldn't have run afterward, but decided to wait the extra day just to be safe, since my left knee isn't quite 100%. It's probably 98%, but hey, why should I have risked it? OK, I confess that I dogged it. Instead I ran today with a 25 mile per hour wind blowing into my side and a chilly 49 degrees temperature. My attire of the day consisted of wearing both a short sleeved and a long sleeved tech shirt, and shorts. I refused to wimp out and wear long running pants. I drove to the linear trail, figuring the trees there would help block the wind, and also knowing the wind would be blowing into my sides rather than my face. Smart, huh?! Had I run my road route, I would have started my run by running into the wind. Not smart. Call me a wuss if you'd like, but at least I was a warm wuss unimpeded by the wind. I decided to wear my MP3 player so I would focus more on the music and less on the sound of the wind howling.
The trees trick worked, the music sounded great (I ♥ the 70's tunes), and so did my wind strategy. Even more important, I felt fantastic. My knee wasn't an issue at all. Once again I felt the old faster mojo return. Flashback here...A few weeks ago, as I was just beginning P.T., I was looking at my 5K race times and my road run and linear trail run times from a few years ago. Three years ago almost to the day I ran a 23:24 5K (7:32/mile pace) race. At that time, I could run a 7:45-8 minute per mile pace on the road and trail. I never incorporated any kind of weight training, speedwork, or anything extra into my routine. I just ran, and ran well. Then came my running 4 marathons over a 2 1/2 year time period, from May 2007 to November 2009. Again, I was just running, and not doing any extra training. During that 2 1/2 year period of time, I learned how to pace myself in order to survive the 26.2 miles marathon distance. That meant running more of a slower and steady pace. More training meant running longer distances, running longer distances meant being more susceptible to injury (Hey, I feel 23, but I am 53), and lo and behold, I've had foot, knee, and groin injuries the past 3 years. Last year after training for six months for the NY City Marathon using the Jeff Galloway run-walk-run training method, I decided to test it by run-walk-running the Hartford Marathon first. I was afraid of "hitting the wall" while running the NY City marathon, since my previous marathon, the 2008 Hartford Marathon, I had done exactly that with about 7 miles to go. I toughed it out after having a mini meltdown, which consisted of me giving the spectators my "death stare" as they cheerfully proclaimed that I "only had fill-in-the-blank starting with 7 miles to go," and also stopping at the remaining water stations and drinking water and crumbling up the empty cups and slam dunking them into the garbage cans. I finished with my best marathon time of 4:22:19...go figure. So after run-walk-running the Hartford Marathon October 10 and the NY City Marathon three weeks later (November 1), I decided that I was done running marathons forever. Yes, I still feel that way. Anyhow, the groin pain I had been ignoring for the months leading up to those two marathons finally got the best of me, and I ended up going to P.T. and seeing "Nuno/Nemo", Hot Chick, and ADHD Dave for the month of February. For those of you new to my blog, it's all documented in my February posts. After finally being cleared to run, I was somehow able to run and finish the NY City Half Marathon on March 21st, despite having a "long run" of 7 miles. My left knee pain returned from a 2 year hiatus the beginning of this month, so it's been back to P.T. since April 6th for me. I decided that even though I liked Nuno/Nemo, Hot Chick, and ADHD Dave, I was going to go back to the P.T. place I had used before. Today (Thursday) was my last day seeing "Sweet Melissa." She told me I have "graduated" from P.T., since my only remaining problem with my left knee is the stiffness that comes and goes. The "snap, crackle, pop sounds" that I still have are due to crepitus, but that's nothing to worry about. I gave "Sweet Melissa" a thank-you card with 5 scratch off lottery tickets in it. She wants to go to Hawaii, her fiancee' wants to go to Paris for their honeymoon in October. I told her she'll win enough $$ to be able to do both.
All this babbling leads me to the present/now/today. My pace per mile has been improving a great deal since I'm groin and knee pain free. For the first time in a long time, I can run normal, meaning without compensating for having pain. I'm starting to think that just maybe I can regain most, if not all, of the speed that I had three years ago. I'm no longer training for marathons, so the slow and steady running rule can be put to rest. I've always been a better than average runner, meaning I usually finish in the top 60-70% in the 5K races I run in, and around the middle of the pack in longer distances races. I like it like that. There's absolutely no pressure for me to run any faster than I want to or am able to, since I'm "average." Last May I actually finished 2nd in my division, in a 5K that was new. For that I received an award of four 2 oz. bags of Brioni coffee and a "Hotel California Tequila" t-shirt. You may laugh, but I was damn proud to receive that award in front of my fellow runners, and having them clap for me. If that's the one and only time I win an award running, so be it. At my age, I'm more interested in the pure enjoyment of running. As it says on the top of my blog, "I run, therefore I am." Being able to run is a gift; a gift we should be thankful we have, a gift we should always appreciate and enjoy. Being a runner is a privilege. A privilege that not everyone can enjoy. As a runner, we owe it to ourselves while out on a run to do whatever it takes to have fun. Bask in your ability to enjoy the sights, smells, and sounds while you're running. There are no bad days of running. A bad day of running is better than a good day of not running or not being able to run."
P.S. Duct tape does a great job of holding an ice pack to my knee. However, it hurts when I pull it off my skin. So I guess I don't recommend using duct tape to keep ice on your knee.

Tricia said...

"A bad day of running is better than a good day of not running or not being able to run."

LOVED that.

today on my blog I said, "After all...a little bit of running is better than no running at all." in reference to me having to come back slow from an injury.

Running IS a gift. :) Thanks my friend, this was great.
April 29, 2010 9:54 PM
Steel Springs said...

Yeah! Congratulations on your graduation! Great post.
April 29, 2010 10:35 PM
Cynthia O'H said...

Glad you're finding your mojo again.
April 29, 2010 11:15 PM


Keri said...

I completely agree.

RunKathyRun said...

Love this post! Congrats on PT success; can't wait to see what the future holds for you.

Anonymous said...

This rings very clear with me right now as I struggle to remind myself every day that I am lucky to run. Slow is okay.

I once took second in my age group at a 5k. Of course, there were only two people in my age group...

EZEthan said...

so you're telling us the self-proclaimed "marathonman" is never going to run another marathon again... ha... I'll believe that when I see it :)

lindsay said...

cannnn i still sue you for all your bucks? :) jk

i'm glad the running is jiving, feeling good and speedy. i would try saran wrap to hold an ice pack on. in college that's what the trainers always gave us. well it was kinda like saran wrap but it was a little more high-tech.

love the lotto ticket gift idea. hope she won!

Anne said...

Great post! I admit I'm really enjoying the fact that I have the priviledge of running pain-free...and although I hope to one day run a full marathon, everything I've read confirms my initial plan to just run one and then go back to halfs. I guess we'll see, I'm surely not the first to falsely assume I know what the future holds...for all I know I may end up running 10 :) ...but the plan is 1.

Glad you're enjoying running these days...I wholly agree that we are lucky to run at matter what our pace is!

Anais said...

This post could NOT have come at a better time. I so needed to read that. I've been feeling so down for the past week since I haven't been able to run (or do much of any exercise really) and I've been stressing out about the training I'm missing... but you're so right! I'd rather not run today (and ok, maybe tomorrow... and the day after) than to not be able to run ever again. Better safe than sorry!

With that said, I still really can't wait to run again :) My running shoes are calling my name! They look so sad and lonely in a corner!

Sherri said...

Great post!

I am thankful I can I hope to be pain free someday! The chiro did not work..I'm going back to the PT!

Never run a marathon..need to, but I do love the half, 10k and 5k!

Jill said...

You made me totally laugh with all your random babbling. Hahah. So happy that hot chick is making your running happy :)!!!

SeeGirlRun said...

I'm glad you're finding your mojo again. I can't imagine not being able to run anymore. I'll take what I can get and try to be responsible with what I do to my body so it will last awhile.

And isn't duct tape awesome?! Pulling it off isn't so bad if you shave your legs first. :-)


Running Diva Mom said...

Just found you -- looking forward to following your journey :-)