Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It's the Shoes, Man

At least I hope it is.  My running had been going rather well.  Of course, since it was during my blog hiatus, no one knew (and let's face, probably no one cared.)  But it had - right up until the Firecracker 5K in Weaverville on July 4.  Here's the report I sent to the coach that wrote my training plan:

Hi Vince - here's another race report, from the Firecracker 5K this morning. This was a much hillier course than the MSF 5K that I ran in 20:52 a few weeks ago, and you had my target pace at 6:33. Turns out my pace was. . . 6:33. Ask and ye shall receive. :)

Here were the splits:
mile 1: 6:37
mile 2: 6:40 (hillier than mile 1)
mile 3: 6:28 (long grind up for the 1st half mile, in which I really wanted to walk and/or die, long downhill for the 2nd half mile, in which I sucked it up and caught the girl in front of me)
last .12: 0:38

For 20:24 total, good for 2nd place woman (thanks to a decent kick that beat 3rd place by 4 seconds). Considering that the girl that placed 3rd beat me by 20 seconds at MSF, I was really happy with this result.

 So, all sweetness, light and happiness, right??  That was a PR, and I was happy with it. I really did mean it when I said I wanted to walk and/or die during the first half of the last mile.  I celebrated my finish by chatting with a fellow finisher until I said "excuse me, I'm so sorry", and then turned and dry heaved my guts out under a bush while Clark poured water on me and Sam looked on in horror.  (As an aside, Sam does a stellar interpretation of me post-race, complete with dramatic staggering and awesome retching noises.)  So - I was pretty sure I had gotten about all that I had to give out of myself for that day, and I was looking forward to hitting another training block with a new plan.  The elusive sub-20 minute 5K is drawing ever closer.

But. . .  I noticed my arches hurt the next day.  Let's face it, everything hurt.  But I remember thinking as I was running down to the finish that I was going pretty hard down hill - which I don't usually do - and I hoped everything held together - in particular my feet.   Weird, right, to have such great foreshadowing?  I know I ran the first half of that last mile (the uphill part) at well over 7 minute pace (the garmin kept spitefully telling me so), and I ended up averaging 6:28 pace, so I guess I was running sub-6 minute pace down the hill - which, for me, is hauling ass.  So the feet hurt a bit, but I ran a bit, and then I went mountain biking for the first time in ages, and then I hung my right foot on a root and just about busted it out running - and somehow all of these things converged and I ended up with a right foot that wasn't all that happy.  

It wasn't terribly unhappy - with a little babying it was happy to run 10 miles up Sunset and Patton Mountain and back down.  But it wasn't at all happy to do speed work - which sucks, because if you spend much time running up and down Sunset and Patton Mountain then you'll end up feeling rather fast on the track, and thus it's a little bit of a downer to have a foot that doesn't want to cooperate. (Although maybe it's better than the opposite - foot that totally cooperates with your slow, plodding, miserable attempt at speedwork.  Been there.) 

At any rate I've now thrown off the blinders of denial and have a plan.  Step 1 - yogapalooza.  I'm a dumbass and didn't do much yoga over the summer - too much fun at the pool with Sam.  And now my whole right side is considerably more tight than the left.  Oops.  Step 2 - get a chiropractor to put me back on the straight and narrow - check.  Step 3 - find a massage guy to rub the crap out of the leg - turns out there's a small muscle on the front of my lower leg that when rubbed forcefully by a rather large man makes my whole foot first feel electrified, and then feel better.  No wonder fixing an injury is such a crapshoot - how am I supposed to figure that out???  And now Step 4 - find some new shoes.  It's always the shoes, right?  Maybe not, but I'm having fun with the experiment.  So far I can report - Nike Frees:  feel pretty good.  New Balance Minimus:  weirdly made me feel very pronated, and I'm not much of a pronator.  Were also way too big, which probably didn't help.  Saucony Kinvarra:  in the mail.  Fingers crossed.

I guess I'm on Step 6 now - take a week off from running (which might explain my return to the blog.)  While still playing with Step 5 - I'm currently wearing a rather fetching combination of skirt and Nike Frees.  Clark was perplexed.  Hopefully though, through some combination of the plan and the shoes, I'll be back on the track in the near future.  Right?  

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