Saturday, October 20, 2012

Oh, my toes.

I love running on the weekends.  I get up at my usual time, have my coffee, a small bit to eat, no pressure. No time constraints. I make a decision how I'm going to run, and just get to it. But I'm always changing my mind and my goals as I'm running.

 Take today, for instance. I was going to do 10 miles, 10 EASY miles. I've been reading that the longer and easier you run, the faster you get. I'm not too sure about that yet, although I have seen some of my miles break the 9:00 mark. But it's not consistent. I decided to try again to start out slow, and just see how I felt. I've been driving to Bayville the last few weekends, instead of out to Wantagh. It's closer, still by the water, and since it's not on the ocean, there are fewer winds.

About 2 miles in, I was feeling very good. My goal of 10 easy miles was now morphing in my head to some thing like 8 faster miles. Then I yelled at myself a little, as I usually do, to stay on goal distance and effort. When I glanced at my Magellan, and saw mid 9's as the average, I felt good that I did not start out too fast again. I decided then to stick with the 10 miles, and I would be happy to stay at the pace I was running.

It started out foggy, but looking straight up, the sky was blue. as I started and made my way down West Harbor Rd, there were mauve colored clouds behind the trees in Mill Neck that resembled mountains in the distance, and it almost made it feel like I was running out west somewhere. It was quite motivating, and I felt instantly relaxed.

It's during these long runs that I've been working on my running form. Since I've been following Chi Running (about 2 months now), I've not needed to tape my knee anymore. My cadence has been averaging 180 spm, my step length is shorter, my arm swing more relaxed, and I've been concentrating on a flick of the ankle and a fore to mid foot strike. Lately, I find that if I add some trunk rotation, the run starts to feel more natural. But I have to concentrate on it. There are some aspects of the form that are becoming more ingrained as part of my rhythm, which I'm very happy about - that's less I have to think about. I'm hoping that as time goes on, my form will be flowing and not something I have to concentrate on at all times.

Every one on the road today was pleasant and courteous. I even slowed down a bit to say a few words to some dog walkers as I admired their hounds. Only the cute ones, though.  And I mean the dogs. :)
There were some cyclists riding in groups of 7 or 8, others, in smaller groups. There was a feeling of camaraderie, and I was glad to be a part of it.
Some where around mile 6 or 7, I can't remember which - a  little voice in my head started chattering again about just how far I wanted to go verses how far I should go.  Ugh. Not again. So, 10 miles turned into 10.5 or 11. I've already run 10 miles twice, and I managed to come in faster the second time.  Why should I run it again? Especially since I could tell I was not going to beat my 10 mile PR of 1:35:00.  I should go further today. Yes. I can do this today. And since I'm running mid 9's, I might as well slow down a bit more and do 13 miles. A half marathon. What? Did I just say that?? It took me probably another mile to reconsider that thought. I did not bring any water with me. I had two pieces left of PowerBar Energy Blasts as fuel. After ingesting one, and then another one quickly after that - I realized how thirsty I was. Running a half was no longer an option. By the time I reached mile 8,   I started having some cramping in my diaphragm, possibly my  stomach, I couldn't tell.  I put a smile on my face, and told myself I had a water/coconut water mix in the car, and when I passed the car again in another mile, if I really needed it, I would stop.
I slowed down a bit more, and soon I was feeling fine. Then I reasoned 11 was only one mile longer than 10, - not really too much of a game changer in my eyes. If I decided on running 13, I'd have to stop and drink, and really - what would be the point of running 13 if I had to stop? So,  I would do 12 miles  today - as a testament of what I could do by slowing down enough to complete a new goal. I was satisfied as I stopped both the Magellan and MapMyRun alittle past 12 miles, and  I walked about 5 minutes to get back to the car. As I settled in for the ride home,  I was acutely aware that my big toes on both my feet were throbbing. This was not going to end well, I thought.

Both toes, the same blister. I also had smaller blisters on the last 2 toes on both feet. I've run about 220 miles on these Brooks, and I have another pair of the exact sneaks that I just recently bought on sale. I think I'll need to break them in, and see if I have the same issue. I don't know if it's a sneaker thing, or a distance issue. I guess I'll have to experiment and figure it out soon. I plan on running another 10k before this year ends - so I'd like to get to the bottom of it soon.

Now, with tomorrow only 8 hours away, do I run again tomorrow? And if so, how far? :)

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