Tuesday, January 25, 2011

1st 20 Miler for Napa-Done

Hee Haw!  Thank you Lord for giving me this day to finish my run. It's been a long time since I've been sidelined by injury. It's no fun! 

Since the MLK holiday, I've been nursing a sore achilles tendon and a sore sacroilliac joint.  For five agonizing days, I stayed away from running to give the legs a break and a chance to heal. I surmised that the prior 40-mile week, the Castle Coast race and the return to my power workouts have all wreaked havoc to my body. Something's gotta give. It was as if my body revolted and said "Whoa, not so fast--one change at a time." I knew better. I can't train hard and race hard in the same week.  I am afterall growing older, the resilience is gone.  Gone are the days that I used to roll out of bed and not stretch.  I promise to be good to my body if I can heal as soon as possible.

To get my mind off these minor set-backs (injury is such a scary word), I thought I'd give the brain something new to process, perhaps a new scenery?  I found a new 20 mile route right here in Los Osos along Turri Road. I've noticed bikers use this road often and the greatest part about it is, there's not a lot of traffic. Today being Sunday was a good day to try it. 

I've been quite anxious to get out there having only 5 days of recovery and I was sure it was not enough. I was leary about how my body was going to react since I was not 100%.  But I have a measly six weeks left before Napa. I thought if I could have this 20 today under my belt, this would be a confidence builder. I knew I could do this, I just need time on my feet.

My legs were heavy and full of glycogen, feeling very much as if they are ready to run a marathon. This was a welcome sign. I took it easy the first 1/2 mile and walked. My feelings dampened when the achilles started to ache a little and then the back pinched to let me know the pain was very much still here. I was a little nervous about going the distance and already made a pack to myself that the minute it started to grab, I would turn around and go home. Needless to say, this 20-miler was nothing at all about goal paced time. It was steady-state and all I wanted was time on my feet. It seemed forever since I ran a twenty.

Three Porshes zooming by.

Turri Road, Los Osos, CA

The morning was magnificent.  A few bikers were out and about. The only annoying thing was the Porsche club of some sort.  They zoomed by me one by one, carelessly weaving through the windy road ahead. I stepped out of their way and by the 17th car, I stopped  counting. Minor annoyance, considering the view was so beautiful. The hills, the cows and the horses reminded me of a country prairie.  I wondered why I haven't ran this way before.  There rolling hills and gradual inclines worried me at first.  Probably not the best thing for my achilles and lower back. But I took it easy and slowly.  There were a few moments where I was tempted to increase the pace, but I didn't dare. Every step I took I held my breath for a possible worse pain that could strike at any moment. I was just thankful I was able to run even at a slower pace.  I took the pain in stride and kept going. Somehow, at some parts, the pain seemed to disappear. I  looped Turri Road twice.  In the end, I ran an average of 55 seconds per mile slower than my usual long run pace.  Even with the hurt, I was still faster than some previous 20 milers I've run with no injury. After close to 3 1/2 hours I was done!  I ran  all the way home thinking about breakfast and my ice bath.  It was a great day indeed.

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