Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Little Pacer that Could

 I think I can..

Sometimes a 20% chance is all you need to make something work.
Tired of feeling tired, I decided this was the best thing for me. I tried to look at the bigger picture, and I seriously thought about what the universe was trying to tell me through all the running articles directed at the importance of a long, slow run. 

I really had to forget about my pace this time.

This ringing in my ears since Hurricane Sandy, my increasing heart rate, eating improperly - things just seem like they're going downhill. Where is all that energy I had just a few months ago? And that weight that I lost? (Well, I have Breyer's and my lack of will power to thank for that) Could all this be partially because I'm trying to run faster than I was built for? 

If I think back to when I started running, the first thing I remember wanting to find out is if running would lower my resting heart rate. I think at the time, my RHR was between 76-84 BPM. All it took for me to hear it pounding in my ears was climbing a flight of stairs, or lifting weights with 15 second rest in between sets. I wanted to be healthier than that. I was also carrying around an extra 12 pounds for a year or two. I wanted to know if running would help me loose that weight. It turns out that running alone brought my heart rate down.  Eating less calories AND running, and then cycling as cross training- helped me loose those pounds.
So, here I am at the end of the year, having started running 9 months ago with a new set of issues. I'm so glad I stuck with my plan to slow down and go long to see if anything changes.

I went back to that lovely neighborhood with the Italian residents. I learned today that they don't like to get into a cold car. I counted about 9 cars that were running, without a driver, in driveways and on the streets. Cough, cough.  Early on in the run, I waved to a police car with two officers in the car. Surprised, I got an enthusiastic wave back from both of them. I said a silent prayer of thanks that they were patrolling the streets and protecting lone runners like myself.

Now, being only slightly embarrassed,  I will tell you that I went out with Runmeter on my iPhone, my Magellan watch, AND MapMyRun on my old HTC EVO.  One of the guys I work with is running with MMR, and we are sharing info. I felt a little obligated to give him something to look at and help encourage him. I turned it on, stuck it in my coat pocket and forgot about it. I played a bit more with Runmeter, and set up an activity to run for TIME, and even though I tried to ignore pace, I did tell it that I wanted to remain between 9:45 and 10:30 per mile. So, I had some feedback which kept me somewhat accountable.

I felt really, really good. I brought water with me, and I drank a few ounces every time I came back around to the car. At one point, I was so HUNGRY that I figured taking more water would take care of the hunger pains - and I was right. I slowed down to a walk for about 10 seconds that only time. At about mile 8.5 - 9, my left knee started bothering me laterally, and my plantar fascia was tightening up on my right foot. I tried super hard to vary my form, trying everything I learned over the last few months. At times, for a few yards, the pain would dissipate, but then return again. I saw that I had about 12-15 mins left out of my planned 2 hour run - but I didn't want to take a chance. Cardiovascularly, I could have gone on, which is different than my usual runs. My legs were getting heavy, and the pain I was experiencing was putting my head in a negative place. It was time to stop. 

Getting into the car I found that I was just as soaked through as if I had run a race. But, my breathing was steady and slow, I did not feel like I overdid anything. On the ride home, I fought that nagging feeling of 'coulda, woulda, shoulda'. Maybe I should have tightened the time on that activity. Really? 10:30? I could have come in much sooner, and maybe finished the 2 hours before the knee pain.(ha)  I tried to remember my previous long run times.  I told myself that everything is variable, and to let it go.  But then, I could not resist looking back at the numbers.

All this data was taken from MMR for consistency sake. These were all runs above 8 miles.

Yeah, so I'm slowing down. But I can run 10 miles!

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