Since I had Monday off from work I rescheduled my long run. I did not want to attempt a challenging run after New Year’s Eve. Now, I did not go overboard during the holiday but I would need all of my strength (mentally and physically) to complete the session. I was a little bit worried.
So Monday I headed out to the trace to run 18 miles at a 7:30 pace. I planned out the run in my mind and used some advice from Pounds to Miles. Brandy had just completed an 18 mile run the day before. She told me that she broke the session up into two 9 mile runs. She did not look at the session as a continuous 18 miles – that was too daunting.
I have used these Jedi mind tricks in the past but I appreciated the reminder. I broke my 18 miles into three 6 mile runs. 6 miles is my everyday mileage. I don’t run many session under this mileage. This is manageable to me.
I started out down the trace towards campus and turned around at 3 miles. This meant I would cross by my house at mile 6 and then I would just have to do my normal 12 mile bread and butter run to Epley and back. No sweat.
I kept the pace nice and steady. I took gels at the water stations (I had already figured out the schedule – it would be miles 8, 12, and 16 – that is just the way the water stops hit).
At the Epley turn around (mile 12) I was feeling strong. Really strong. I decided to pick the pace up at mile 13. The last 5 miles were all under 7:10. After the last gel at Clyde Station I once again picked up the pace. I finished strong and the last 2 miles were in the 6:40’s.
I took a nice and easy cool down walk back to the house. I did not say it out loud but I thought that was a damn fine run – almost, Best Run Ever.
How many times have I heard that this year? Many times. Unfortunately, just to see an athlete crumble in the next few days. When we have these wonderful, almost perfect sessions, we are pushing the limits of our fitness. We are walking a fine line. I have seen it on three occasions this year where in the week following a Best Run Ever session an injury has popped up.
The night after the run I felt great. Much better than I have for sessions that were shorter and slower.
And here is where I made a mistake. I do some product testing for a major shoe manufacture. I am asked to run a lot of miles to test the wear of shoes before they hit the market. I am fortunate that I can run in almost any type of shoe. But I am smart. I run nice and easy before I do any real mileage. I have never had any problems.
So on Tuesday I wore the lightly cushioned minimalist shoe to the gym. I ran 2 miles on the treadmill at a 10 minutes per mile pace – this is a VERY EASY pace for me. A couple of minutes slower than my comfortable pace. No problems at all.
So at lunch I again ran on the treadmill in the test shoes. This time at my comfortable pace of 7:30 minutes per mile. I planned on running for 6 miles. At the 1.9 mile mark I felt a sharp pain on the inside of my left calf. I know the drill. I shut the treadmill down - walk away. (I did some upper body strength training).
The calf was tight the rest of the day and I foam rollered it and ‘The Stick'’d’ that night. The next morning it was still sore but not bad. At lunch I decided to run an easy 9+ minute per mile pace with some friends. This would be a social run. We went out 3 miles and there was some very minor discomfort. It was minor enough that the guys I was running with did not know that I even had a mild injury. And then it got worse – quickly. At mile 4.5 it started to really hurt. I continued to run on it for another half mile.
At mile 5 I had to shut it down. I walked the last mile in agony back to campus.
Best Run Ever, damn it.
Do you ever get hurt after a big session?