Thursday, April 22, 2010

The ups and downs of running

My momma said, there'd be days like this.

(Actually, she didn't say that. She was usually all "how many days have you wore those underwear?? did you brush your teeth today?? You smell." Ahhh, family bonding. Those were the good ol days.)

My running this week has been a lot like the road to the left: Glorious cruising speed on the downhills, painful soul crushing struggles on the uphills. So, either way...I'm getting CRUSHED. For some reason my body just hasn't acclimated itself to all of the punishment that running provides. A quick blow by blow:

On Tuesday, I had a kick-ass Tempo run. 6 miles, 4 at tempo pace (7:08/mile). Everything just clicked. It was one of those runs where I wished that I had more time to crank out some more miles. Or, actually it was one of those runs where I really wished that I was running in a race. I certainly could have cleared 42 min or so for a 10k.

But, on Wednesday, things were NOT treating me right. I had 3 miles at normal recovery pace planned and it was a struggle from the start to get them done. When the running gods giveth a awesome tempo run, they certainly also giveth a kick in the nuts. This run felt like a kick in the nuts - only to my shins. It wasn't necessarily full blown shin splints - instead the pain was dull and all through my legs. Blah. I grunted and groaned more than an old man doing yard work and even got a few strange looks as I worked to crank out the miles.

This morning, Thursday, I had another bought with shin pain/aches. Same discomfort this morning. It was sort of a combination of cement legs and the kind of ache you get from lifting a lot of weights. The pain wasn't nearly as bad this time - so I was able to get out a solid 400 and 800 repeat each at 6:22 pace. I had 5 or 6 miles on the schedule so in an effort to 'listen to my body' I only did 4.

As I was standing in the shower this morning (drink in the mental snap shot) contemplating life, Obama's health care plan, Ryan Seacrest's hair, and my runs over the last two days, I realized that: This IS running. Honestly, running wouldn't be as fun if it was all gum drops and lollipops. Nobody likes a yes man and I think nobody (at least not me) would like running if it was always easy. So the saying goes "you can't appreciate the good days without the bad ones".

The fact that bad runs exist serve two very important (self serving) purposes:
  • I have stuff to write about on my blog. You know those YouTubes of the guys getting hit in the nuts with soccer balls? yeah, I love to watch them too. And I love to read about people having crappy runs (I can admit it). I try to take their experiences and learn from them, and give them encouragement that the next run will be better (because it will!!!!), but honestly it is a little bit like rubber-necking at a train wreck. Everyone does it.
  • I get to hear my friends say things like "I don't know how in the hell you run that far, I can't run a mile!". To which I ALWAYS respond - of course you can, it just takes time and motivation to do it. Which, for the record, I 100% believe - but it never gets old hearing.
So, what did I conclude during my 20 minute shower? First, there is no way that I could get my hair to look like Seacrest's. I can't bring myself to even think about a flat iron. Second, I'm going to pull back the intensity a bit, but keep on plugging away. Because that is what runners do. The running gods will stop kicking me in the nuts sooner or later - hopefully during a race. Besides, if not it will sure make for good blog reading.


The Sean said...

If I am not feeling it on a given day then I ignore the speed that day and just get some aerobic time on the feet. Let the run come to you. You are just off an injury, be patient.

Chad said...

I'm not sure about your theory. I believe that you need a sharp contrast in your intense days and your recovery days in order to make fitness gains. Take that with a grain of salt, though. I'm no coach, and I'm barely a runner.

Ace said...

Wow, age of mythology pic, impressive! Also, pretty much every run I have is somewhat crappy, so I'm glad I can help you out.

Barefoot AngieB said...

"Groaning like an old man doing yard work" made me chuckle!
Yin and yang.

Pam F. said...

Just a couple of weeks ago your foot was turning colors and grinding. Don't try to jump right back in like nothing ever happened!

Could you have subconsciously been guarding that foot and running with a weird gait causing the leg pains?

RunningLaur said...

I think you have to assess what your real goals are.

Option 1: If you want to be a part of all of the races that you've shelled out tons of money for, add more race day experience, and stick with it for the long haul then: Dial back the intensity, work on some steady base building / getting your body healed / returned to running form.

Option 2: If you want to go for broke, hit a PR / BQ time, and go all in for an immediate all-or-nothing race, above everything else then: Keep working on the tempo runs, the intervals, and run hard.

I think it all depends on how patient vs how risky you want to be. (For the record, I'm an option 1, but I'm also slow as hell and still kinda injured.)

ShutUpandRun said...

Hmmmm...20 minute shower. Are you sure there wasn't anything else going on in there besides pondering Ryan and your runs? Just wondering.

Neil Z said...

I tell new runners "It's always going to feel shitty like this, you'll just run farther"

Lisa said...

Hopefully there are more good runs than rough ones in your future!

kilax said...

Running would be so BORING if it was easy all the time. We needs some challenges!

I am happy to hear you are going to cut back a bit though. Do you always run 3x in a row? That is what did me in last summer. Although, you are probably in much better shape than me!

EZEthan said...

You're probably still recovering from your layoff... so I think you're right! Back it off for a week or two more and hopefully you'll be feeling better.

Julie said...

Hi Adam,
LOL on the how many days have you been wearing that underwear:) God, I love family too!

Sorry to hear about your roller coaster of workouts. I sometimes deal with shin splints and they really suck! Hopefully you will be ready to roll and feeling light on your feet soon!

Her Name is Rio said...

That first picture is how I visualize many of the hills I've encountered lately. Yikes!
Sounds like you have a good attitude about the bad runs and it to shall pass. For a while, anyways. :)

Glenn Jones said...

I'm sorry to have infected you Adam. Whatever I have must be airborne and blowing East.

Honestly, it nice to see you have the right mindset about this. These days I'm having trouble just getting in the right mindset to want to put in an hour of running. Yikes!

Amanda said...

there is something very saddistic about your running week.
and i kinda like it.

Colin Hayes said...

I know you recently read about my disastrous 22-mile run on you are correct, sir, in saying that we all have craptastic runs. It's comforting to know we all go through it ("hello. I'm Colin and I'm a bonk-a-holic"), but it's also comforting to know we'll have awesome runs, too. In theory, anyway.