Saturday, November 15, 2008

Two Very Different Long Runs

Last weekend Jen and I ran 17 miles for our long run and it was tough for me. It wasn't the rain or the route, it was my calf muscle. At around mile seven it started feeling a little tight, sort of a mild charlie horse. As we progressed through the miles it steadily got worse. Every time we stopped to cross a street or fill our bottles I tried to stretch it out. By the time we were at mile 15 it was really hurting me; I was very happy when we finally got back to our apartment and I was able to hop in the ice bath, take some aleve, and use the foam roller. The next day we rode our bikes about sixteen miles in North Portland to check out a new route and my calf didn't bother me too much - I think the riding was a good way to get some blood flowing without stressing my muscles too much.

Monday I had five miles on the schedule but thought it was in my best interest to bag the run and instead ride an hour on the trainer. I was excited to watch an episode of the new Knight Rider but I had forgot that I was already up to date so instead I settled for the last half of Lawnmower Man and some Jeopardy. I had Tuesday off due to Veterans Day so I partook in a few recovery adult beverages; after a couple my calf started feeling a bit better.

Tuesday I got back out on the trail with Jen to do tempo miles with her - we ran seven total with three at tempo - she did great and it was nice to push her along. I always have to remind myself to tone down my inner high school track coach and use positive reinforcement instead of good ole fashion yelling (combined with positive reinforcement).
Wednesday was an off day so I spent the evening stretching and using the foam roller; my calf was starting to feel better but I was a bit worried about how it would hold up on the weekend long run.
Thursday I was back out on the East Bank Esplanade for 6 miles - I think my pace was around 8:14 (yes, I know what it was I just don't feel like getting up and looking at my Garmin). My calf was feeling better but for some odd reason I got one of my painful side cramps. Always on the right side, always in the muscles - it's different than a normal side cramp and it really sucks. I stopped and streched a bit and a little while later it was feeling fine.
Friday my calf was still a bit tight so I cut my run short from the planned five to three easy miles - I felt fine the whole time which was great. One of the factors making this run good was the new shoes that were delivered - check out the comparison between the old and new:
I still need to change out the laces but other than that they are perfect.

This morning Jen and I got up early and headed out for our last 20 mile run. We decided to run up along the Columbia River in North Portland (right across the river from Vancouver). It was cold and foggy to start which was nice because we stayed nice and cool and the fog helped save some of the scenery for later in the run. We kept our pace in the 8:40's for the first 10 miles and just cruised along. My calf was bothering me in that way where something is in the back of your mind but in reality it is just fine.

The fog lifted around mile 11 and a few minutes later we could see Mt. Hood in the distance. It's a huge mountain that seems to loom over the Portland area; even though it is 60 miles away it seems like it's much closer. This picture doesn't do it justice but you can see what a beautiful day it turned out to be (the girl in the foreground is always beautiful no matter what the weather is like):

By the time we got to mile 15 I was feeling great; the leg was fine, no side cramp, and I was about to have my Vanilla Bean Gu which always puts me in a good mood:

We continued on and picked up the pace each mile for the next five miles. Around mile 17 my legs were getting tired but overall I still felt great. I pushed hard on my last mile and it came in at 7:20. By the end the sky was completely clear and we could see Mt. Adams and Mt. Saint Helens in addition to Mt. Hood. This was a great 20 mile run, especially since the run last weekend was so tough on me. I'm getting excited about the marathon which is just three short weeks away.


Anonymous said...

Great write-up. Sounds like you had a fantastic run today, sunshine too.
Dragonfly on the Water...

*aron* said...

awesome job!!! sounds like you guys had an amazing run to finish off the last big week! happy taper time!