Short stories from long runs

This blog about my run and training

Since my half marathon last weekend, I’ve been taking a day-on, day-off approach to running. For a week or two leading up to the race I had been having some tension in my right knee and feeling generally kind of achy. After the race it was more pronounced and, though I’ve been foam rolling regularly, I’m still feeling kind of… meh. After taking the day off Friday, I decided to give a long run a shot. Unfortunately, I can’t quite remember how my knee felt exactly at that point, but I planned my route around being able to turn back towards home at nearly any point.

I had to drop my car off at a tire shop to have some work done and Nik had a list of errands to work through, so I started my run from there instead of the house. Who doesn’t love efficiency?! I brought my phone along for tunes and planned to hover between 9:30-10 minute mile pace to recover from last weekend and alleviate any extra effort out of my knee.

I decided to run from the store, past my neighborhood, and out through Southfield and back, since the route would be largely flat and I was trying to avoid hills. The entire route would be 11.5 miles, with a bit on the end for a cool down walk.

I felt pretty good, with no pain once I got moving. It was a great day for running — clear, crisp, and not too cold — and I tried to consciously slow myself down even though my first few miles clicked in around 9 minute pace.

Mile 1 – 8:33 m/m
Mile 2 – 8:27 m/m
Mile 3 – 9:00 m/m

Once I reached Southfield, I was completely enjoying myself. It’s a familiar route now and I am so grateful for the wide, well-paved sidewalks that make for such a safe and comfortable place to get miles in. There weren’t many people out and I just rolled along, daydreaming and not pushing myself too hard. I was totally entertained by my recently rebooted iPhone, which seems to have suddenly discovered a handful of old playlists. When I heard Donavon Frankenreiter (Move By Yourself), Amos Lee (Shout Out Loud), and Rocco DeLuca and the Burden (Colorful), I was transported to the summer and fall of 2006 running around Huntington Beach, California. I’m a creature of habit and that fall I ran to the beach and back, along the prom, or through my neighborhood with a playlist of about five songs on repeat. Hearing them again on Saturday morning made me smile extra big.

Mile 4 – 8:36 m/m
Mile 5 – 8:58 m/m
Mile 6 – 9:11 m/m

(The sky was very cool, too. And this is the creepy, abandoned stretch to get to the lovely, well-lit, well-paved stretch. I’m not head over heels over this part of the route!)

I reached the far end of Southfield around mile 6.5 and stopped for a minute or two to take fuel and assess my knee. No problems at all, so I headed back. THAT’s when the pain kicked in. The stopping and starting must have aggravated it because it calmed down a bit once I was back in my rhythm, but was alarming nonetheless. The run home was easy and slightly quicker, feeling well enough that I thought about adding on some extra miles to chip away at my last week of the Pile on the Miles Challenge. I should have because ever since I stopped my knee (and my hip… random) have been plaguing me. I’m a slave to my foam roller, frozen vegetables, and ibuprofen.

Mile 7 – 9:03 m/m
Mile 8 – 9:00 m/m
Mile 9 – 8:42 m/m
Mile 10 – 8:21 m/m
Mile 11 – 9:05 m/m
Mile 11.5 – 8:30 m/m

I went back to the day-on, day-off mentality and spent yesterday around the house instead of running (it was also frigid, with winds pushing 40 MPH). I’m anxious to get back out tonight, hopeful that I can bust out the 32.5 miles left to reach my November goal.

Do you have any Thanksgiving exercise traditions to stave off or balance out food coma? Is anyone running a Turkey Trot?

Pile on the Miles Challenge Update: 77.5/110 miles, 25/30 days