Maybe there was a reason I was nodding off in Friday's work teleconference (besides that it was boring), that I've been eating like crap, and I woke up from a sleep so deep this morning that I woke up disoriented and had to ask my husband if I'm supposed to run today, "Yeah," he said, "It's your long run day, isn't it?" I had a great running week, logging near 50 miles for the week since it included last Sunday's 31 mile Buckeye Trail Race. I was pleased that I had so little post race muscle soreness, that I felt like I was given a free pass on recovery! Heck, after road marathons I'm walking backwards down stairs and struggling to get comfortable just walking again. This was a piece of cake. See? Kudos to the gentle beauty of soft trail terrain and working different muscle groups. I know, it's ridiculous, and I know better, but I have fantasies about finally reaching my athletic summit. You know...where you can just run yourself silly whenever you want, with no recovery involved except stuffing your face full of food and getting a few night's decent sleep. Am I finally getting closer to that summit?
I had pretty decent midweek runs this last week too, nothing really to note. My I-T bands were quiet and I was all nice and bouncy running the neighborhood asphalt in my new Mizuno road shoes. But...I was tired this week...unusually so. I usually have a lull mid afternoon, but nothing a good brisk walk to the fax machine won't cure or a cup of coffee. I couldn't stop yawning. I didn't feel like making dinner--was content to forage for anything, throwing nutritional merit out of the equation completely. If it had calories and would keep the family alive for another day; it was dinner. Sean told me to stretch like a maniac every chance I got, but I slacked on that toward the end of the week. I was entertaining my family for the weekend, so I had a million things to do. It's sooo easy to cast those stretching bands off into the corner.
So what if I just ran 31 miles last week? It seemed sensible to swing right back into marathon training with a 15 mile run. Kurt crafted us a 15 mile mixed trail/Towpath run to begin at lock 29 at 7 AM. Maria hopped in my car until the rest of the crew came in the lot. She looked tired and said she overslept, even though she was on time and technically earlier than other members of the group. She had to rush around to get here on time and felt out of sorts. Debi came in and gave us her latest "trip" report details. This poor woman has had the worst string of falls; on trails, off trails, on level flat ground, on carpet...that if she has one more I'm going to insist that she go for a thorough physical. She stubbed her toe bad while going down the stairs and was worried how it was going to hold up today. Roger was with us again! Seems ages since we've run with him. He was digging through his car for his new orthotics to deal with the plantar fascitis that's been flaring on the really long runs. Jim looked great and was ready to run.
We ran south for 3 miles and then turned around to run toward Boston Store. Debi told us an interesting story. She ran her first race as a bandit! She planned to run a Cleveland Shot in the Dark Race but had a series of registration mishaps that prevented her from signing up. She ran into a friend running her first ever longest distance 4 mile race. Her friend was lacking last minute confidence in her ability to make it to the finish line. Debi decided it was more important to pace her friend to the finish than worry about getting in trouble for running as a bandit in a large race. She got her friend to the finish at a very comfortable 11 minute pace--comfortably easy for Debi--and made her friend so happy for going the longest she's ever gone! I just thought that was the cutest story; I couldn't get the image of large burly race officials crouched on the sidelines waiting to give Debi the stage hook, yanking the all innocent Debi out of running contention for racing as a bandit!!
Jim and Maria were leading the pack, as usual, with Debi, Kurt, and Roger taking up the sensible rear. I always seem to set my pace right in the middle and have no one to talk to. It's frustrating. So, we get close to Boston and I start feeling little jabs of pain in my right hip and right outer knee; can be no other than my I-T band pissed off and jabbing me like my own biological built in stupid stick saying, "You are such a dummy...didn't you just run 31 miles last Sunday? There is a good reason you were nodding off at work and had no inclination to corner Mr. Sensationally in the bedroom once the kids went to bed. You are recovering from a very long race. 31 miles is a very long way...even if the terrain was soft and didn't rattle your muscles too much. Your I-T band is still pissed off, though, so wake up!!"
Once we got to Boston, Debi and Roger decided to cut the run short for their issues and headed back to the car. I should have turned back too, but I'm stubborn and a very slow learner. We headed to Brandywine Falls. I was horrified by the mile uphill asphalt road we had to climb to access the trail to the falls. Maria had never seen the falls, so we stopped to admire it awhile, and headed back. My I-T was really pissed off now, so I decided I better walk. Jim's legs were cramping again, so he decided to keep me company. I tried running for little stretches, but had to stop if I didn't want to be looking at 4 weeks of drastically reduced running. I-T band syndrome is a pesky unpredictable beast of an injury. The nice thing about it is you can get several miles of running before it flares, but flared it had.
Jim and I walked the last 3 miles...he swears he was OK to walk, that his legs are cramping and didn't want to run anymore. I talked his ear off with little stories about my kids. He didn't seem to mind, but maybe he would have given anything to uncramp his legs and run away from my rambling. Finally, we made it back. I guess I haven't reached my athletic summit...will never reach my summit in the athletic process and that's probably a good thing. How boring would that be if every run were easy, posed no challenges, tinkering, or titration of nutrition and sleep? I don't think I'd keep running if that were the case. No pictures today. Collective bad biortythm day. Maybe next time. Gotta stretch.