The last few weeks of running have been frustrating yet encouraging in many ways. It all began two weekends ago about 3:30 minutes into my Saturday long effort. After starting at Grouse Mountain and cruising my way into Lynn Headwaters, the top of Lynn peak beckoned. On what was a beautifully sunny morning, I could not help but oblige. Being a Lynn peak virgin, I became easily frustrated with the rocky step-ups and loose boulders over the initial miles as the gradient climbed. The best way to describe it is a dried out creek bed, with rounded rocks and pebbles... fun stuff on tired legs. However, as you proceed through the climb things become much more tolerable and quite runnable. The switch-backs are frequent but pleasureful as they meander up the slope. The solitude was certainly a bonus as well, I only passed two hikers, ski poles and all, making their way up to the top.
After hitting many of the false summits I eventually reached the peak and soaked in the beauty of the view to the east from the lookout rock, took a gel and worked my way down. It is in the descent where things went sour. No doubt spurred and motivated by the now plentiful equipment laden back-packers making their way to the top, I, now shirtless with my single hand-held, pushed the descent beyond what my body was willing to accept that morning and in so doing, jacked my right leg. Once hitting the bottom, I had a few miles of rejuvenated strength but after about 30 more minutes of running, my right leg started to protest. It remained tolerable but certainly not anything I was willing to push through on that day.
I ended up calling it quits after 20 miles/4hours. It never got much worse the rest of the day but when I tried to run the next morning with Meredith there was a tight knot in the back of my right knee (popliteus). I made it all of two miles before turning around and heading home; no need to cause further undue stress, although it took a bit of convincing from my girlfriend to ultimately send me back to our apartment.
In retrospect, this was likely one of the more intelligible running decisions I have made for some time. Quite honestly, I am usually inclined to push through a certain amount of discomfort; however, I have become much more adept at appreciating what is "discomfort" and what is something more significant. And this sensation was definitely the latter of the two.
With that, I took the rest of the week fairly conservatively. I only ended up having to take one day off but kept all of my runs under 1 hour with one double thrown in there. On the weekend, I kept it to safer more forgiving terrain and was able to complete two 12 mile runs (44 miles for the week; not a total utter loss) The way my body reacted to this adaptation was encouraging; I could literally perceive the strength coming back into my right leg each day, slowly but surely. With a session from Leah Startup at Moveo mid-week, I was ready to try to reinitiate the regular training come the following Monday.
With that said, here is my week of May 24-30 in brief review:
24-05-2010: 7 miles (58min) Cruised over to Loutette in the pm for some easy running on the surrounding barkmulch and dirt paths. Ended up feeling better than expected so decided to tempo a few miles. It was a beautiful afternoon with nothing but clear skies. Right leg continued to feel better.
25-05-2010: 6miles (50min) Headed out early in the AM before work with Meredith. Generally just took it easy as we were both definitely not feeling 100%. As is the usual on these shorter early runs, ran on an empty stomach (teach the body to utilize those fats...); had a headache by the end but fine energy wise.
26-05-2010: 15miles (2:33 min). Decided it was time to test the right leg. It had been just over 10 days since I had done anything over 2hours. Did what has become one of my favorite routes: grouse mtn to headwaters, gazebo, mystery creek, Baden Powell returning west, drop to intrariver park and return home. 2845' feet of climbing with just over 3000' of drop. Right leg held up surprisingly well, little twitchy in the last 15minutes. Felt good to get back out though.
27-05-2010: AM: 7 miles (58min) Uneventful run except for some unwanted GI issues throughout. Perhaps do in part to running on an empty stomach again...?? PM: 5 miles (46 min) Went out with Meredith after work before my massage I had later that night.
28-05-2010: off. Took the day off not because of any physical reason but just simply did not have the time. Let's call it a save-up for the weekend.
29-05-2010: 15 miles (2:09min) This run was definitely not what I had in mind going into the weekend. Set the alarm early hoping to hit the trails. However, the weather sucked and I lacked the motivation. Instead, I headed out with Meredith from our apartment and did a street/ path run. We went our separate ways after 11miles and I ended up putting out 7-7:30 on my last 4 miles. Felt tired but strong by the end. It rained the whole time.
30-05-2010: 30miles (5:10) Finally got some tolerable weather. The Iron Knee 25km race was going on; I knew many of the racers (including my Mom!!). With that , I headed out from my apartment just after 7am and planned to loop my way around the course hopefully catching up and cheering some of the folks on. After being out for a couple hours I hooked up with my good friend Nicola who was out "running" the race. We completed the rest of the course from Mystery Creek to Deep Cove together. Once in the cove I downed a few bottles of water, refilled, grabbed a banana and retraced my steps back up the Baden Powell. Cheered all the folks finishing the race including my Mom who met her goal and finished sub-3hours!! For myself, I hit a low-point about halfway up the climb out of the cove; just could not keep the running legs up, there were way too many excuses to powerhike. However, a gel seemed to assist with this along with the mini-Mars Bars I nabbed from the aid station earlier in the day. Finished home my usual route. This was definitely an encouraging run for me. My right leg held up for the entirety of the effort and I was able to sustain my energy for most of the day. I also hit solid vertical for the day. My feet were a little sore by the end, however this was definitely a by-product of me still getting use to the inov8 x-talon 212's. This was my longest run in them by far and I was impressed with their responsiveness to muddy and wet conditions. Lower back was a little tender by the end as well... have not experienced this for a long time...
Weekly Miles: 85 miles
Hours Running: 11 hours 10min