Sunday, January 31, 2010

Letting It Rip (sort of)

Well, I had what I consider a good effort during my run last Thursday. I planned on doing a 4 minute run with 1 minute walk but ended up doing a 4 minute pick up with a 1 minute recovery jog for a whole hour. Then on Saturday morning, on a scheduled 6 mile run in which only Cyndi and I showed up, things took a different turn. But first a warm up of about 1 ½ miles which was slow and easy averaging over 10 minutes per mile. If I only knew what was going to happen next, I would have done a few stride outs to prime my lungs for the effort that was to follow. We started out running at Cyndi’s jogging pace which was slightly faster than my warm up pace, so as you can imagine, I was already gasping for breath after the first mile and it was only a 9:50 pace. I could only hope to stabilize my breathing in the ensuing miles. I warned Cyndi that I was already at my 10K pace effort and she offered to slow down. I told her that I was going to try to hang on as long as I can. By the third mile my breathing had stabilized and the pace picked up ever so slightly. In the last two miles I was breathing hard but at a steady state and I told Cyndi that it felt good to be able to run that hard again, i.e. slightly short of breathe but not quite into oxygen debt. By the time we hit the finish at 6 miles our total average pace was down to 9:14 per mile, so we must have ran the last 2 miles below 9 minutes per mile. That was as close to letting it rip for me as it possibly can at this point in my running life, and it felt really, really good. The pace for the whole run felt like the 4 minute pickups I did last Thursday, only it lasted almost an hour.
What changes did I make in the past week that enabled me to run harder than usual? I don’t know how much this contributed to it but I wore a pair of shoes which had thinner soles but still with motion control properties. That may have worked for the time being but remains to be seen on subsequent runs. What the thinner soles forced me to do was try to lighten my foot strike by shuffling more and increasing my leg turnover rate. It seemed to have helped a lot in decreasing the impact forces on my ankles. So like I said, it worked…for now.
So today, I am thankful for and will continue to savor the feeling of being able to run the way I did last Saturday and look forward to more of it when my body allows me.
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