Friday, January 11, 2008

The Pain You Start With . . .

Is never the pain you finish with.

And then there is the saying I hear tossed around by runners all the time: Pain is the weakness leaving your body.

Well, I can tell you that a whole lot of weakness left my body today.

Don't worry, I've got weakness to spare.

But my first 3 hr run of this training cycle is in the bank.


I was quite apprehensive about it because I haven't run any runs longer than 16 miles since the Chickamauga marathon 2 months ago. Now, you know, if I was one of those rule followers I would be wise and follow that 10% rule people are always talking about and increase my runs slowly. But I don't have time for that--well I do if I just stick with my original plan and do GA ING marathon but Albany's promise of a flat and potential PR is calling me. Not to mention all those Snicker's bars.

My calf muscles have been so tight since my 14 miler on Tuesday. Not sure what the deal is but I thought maybe my shoes were the culprit. (psst, it is never the running.) So I went to Big Peach yesterday and got some new Adrenaline's.

A fresh shoe for my long runs is always nice. I haven't bought new trainers since Nov 6th. I've been rotating my Oct 1st shoes with my Nov 6th shoes and both are spent. Supposedly I should be able to get 500 miles out of my shoes (I think they both have around 400-450 on them). I think I could be fine with them for 500 miles so long as I don't do any runs longer than 12 miles. I can run in almost anything for really short runs or runs on the treadmill. But those long runs require a fresh shoe and for a shoe to be fresh it has to be under 300 miles. So that means a new shoe every 5-6 weeks for me. So you see how I've stretched them past their prime. And I was worried that was why my calves were giving me trouble.

Just to err on the side of speedy recovery I finally broke down yesterday after my treadmill run and swim and took a Motrin. I still had some residual chest and flank soreness yesterday from all those damn push-ups and dragging myself out of the pool to do them. The pain was quite acute when running but otherwise pretty unnoticeable. One Motrin seemed to do the trick because by evening all soreness was completely gone.

I also spent an hour last night, while being bored out of my mind with Grey's Anatomy--is it me or does TV really suck lately-- twisting myself into various yoga poses. I massaged the heck out of my ankles and calves and hips. I did splits and back bends. I did all those silly moves you do in Pilates like roll like a ball and the Hundred. And I was rewarded this morning upon waking with zero stiffness and no soreness.

Huh. Stretching.

Who knew?

So I thought my run today was going to be fantastic.

And it was absolutely brilliant for the first mile. But then I hit the second mile and the start of my serious uphills. Mile 2 until about mile 5 is pretty much climbing. It felt like there was a vice on my calves, like the muscle couldn't expand. The muscle was so unbelievably tight. I tried to focus on my breathing, relaxing my body--you know, as much as one can relax as they run up a long steep hill. Finally I had to stop and stretch it. I contemplated turning back but decided to push through the hills and see if the problem would resolve itself.

Sure enough as soon as I got to the 5th mile my legs felt great. I swear it was like someone finally unshackled me. Generally right before the 6th mile I stop, drink some water and take a GU. I decided not to stop since I finally had my rhythm. I stopped half way through the 7th mile: had my Gu, got some water and ran on.

Finally I was feeling good. I powered along: happy to be running, thrilled at what a perfect day it was, optimistic in my abilities. Around 14 miles I had another Gu and then around 15 or 16 miles my hips started to ache. It isn't a joint pain and it isn't sharp, just a vague ache and stiffness. Annoying and uncomfortable. The world dimmed on me and suddenly things weren't so great and I was no longer so certain of my abilities-- not really even sure I was really a runner.

At 17 miles I stopped and did some squats at a stop light. The light changed and I sucked it up and ran on. I tried to think about other things, anything other than running. I tried picking up the pace and that felt better for a few minutes but I pulled back, worried I would wear myself out.

Around 19 miles I found a little groove again and I was happy and thought maybe I should tack on 3 more miles and take it to 24. But then in the 20th mile I decided I was tired of running. I was fine, just done, bored with it all. And then at the end of the 21st mile, right before I came up on my house, I thought: if only I had time this evening I could go to the gym and do a little run on the treadmill. . .

Endorphins? They really mess with your head.

And you know what? I think that run was probably the easiest, most relaxing part of my day.

Normally on days I do long runs I try to make life simple. But today I had promised play dates at our house for Carmella and Beau. So Parker and Abby came home with us. My plan was to mop all my floors, fold laundry and the kids would play quietly and sweetly together. But then our neighbors Matthew and Julien showed up and suddenly I was home with 6 kids and our crazy dog. Six kids ages 4 to 6. Bikes everywhere. Toys everywhere. I was running up and down stairs, inside and out and yelling at kids to stop walking on my freshly mopped floors and to please stop bickering and to eat that snack outside! And please! Throw the trash in the trash can not the floor and not the lawn. I took toys away, threatened time outs and sending people home.

It was nearly 3 hours of complete chaos. It was an out of control party.

I finally kicked everyone out around 5, drove Parker home and dropped Beau at Meme's so Carmella and I could go to mother/daughter BINGO.

Two hours of BINGO!

And you know what?

There were not drinks at BINGO.

Talk about pain.

Because today? Today I really could have used a drink.

But now? Now that I am home and the kids are sleeping I am too tired.

Tomorrow then.

Tomorrow I will do an easy run and then I will have beers and it will be all good.

Still Streaking 12/0: 3 hour run at an 8:50ish pace.


  1. Recent article posted in the running/jogging forum about the 10% rule as not effective...some strange study stating a beginner can jump to 4 miles quickly and another beginner runner can use the 10% rule and the 10 percenter gets hurt just as often.

    You're doing great in your training...three hour run at 8:50ish pace shows a very good possiblity of hitting 3:30!!

  2. Great job on your long run Ms Natalie! I don't think the 10% rule applies to people who train like you's more of a guideline for those just starting to ramp up miles. My last long run was at Richmond early Nov and haven't done any long runs over 15 and just did my 20 today and it felt pretty good. But of course I only run every other day and do a lot of cross training, averaging between 1.5 to over 2 hrs of training per day. I think cross training makes a difference and it can only make you stronger with better endurance.

    Great Run!

  3. x2 what Charlie said. You are in marathon running shape, so you don't have to build up to it like a novice.

  4. Congrats on a kick-a$$ run!!! I hate that "pain is leaving the body" crap. Pain is our bodies way of telling us we are idiots and to give up. Endorphins are the special treat we get when we keep going....I liken it to the hormonal equivalent to Bruster's Ice Cream....