Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Running Afterglow

There was this little 7 mile run I attended last Saturday morning. It was just the usual AREC training stuff. It took my ankles two weeks to recover from the previous 8 miler I wrote about two weeks ago so I don’t know how long it will take this time. Running once or twice every couple of weeks? What kind of training is that? Well, I run when I can and I don’t when I can’t. That simple. I used to do a mile to a mile and a half warm up before the club training runs and that included some stride outs. Nowadays I can only manage short jogs interspersed with walks, just enough to get my circulation going but not enough to hyperventilate my lungs in preparation for hard running. Like usual I set my watch to beep after four minutes so I could do a one minute walk break, then repeat the process until I finish. However, I ignored the beeps and kept running without the walk breaks hoping that my ankles would hold up for 7 miles. Just to find out if I was the slowest participant, I started at the rear to see if I could pass anybody. I may have gotten a lot slower but I’m not the slowest runner yet, unless of course I just walk like the first few weeks of the training program. As I was chugging along, I saw this woman who usually runs with her daughter, but on that day she was running alone. So I asked her why she was going solo. She said her daughter just started cross country in high school and was exhausted. I remarked that her daughter was too fast for us anyway. I was hoping to run with somebody like I did two weeks before but I didn’t find anyone to pace with. The daughterless woman remained a few steps behind me and I could hear her footsteps, which compelled me to keep my pace. She might as well have been my pacer because I felt like she was pushing me from behind. That was until I barely made it through a green traffic light while she got stuck with red. I had to rely on myself for the last two miles. I don’t know if it was the loss of company or the infrequent running that made those last two miles feel much harder. It was like driving with four flat tires but I managed to persist to the end. To my surprise, the average pace turned out to be 10:01 minutes per mile! Hardly running nowadays and still being able to run that pace?! However, I don’t foresee myself doing continuous runs as the mileage climbs because the pain on my ankles would be too much. Regardless, I was happy with the way I performed last Saturday.
Which brings me to what I miss most about this activity - the camaraderie in the afterglow of running. Does that even make sense? You know, a bunch of people who are still on an endorphin high hanging around and talking about the day’s run or whatever else comes to mind. I talked to that woman who was missing her daughter and told her about how she was pushing me from behind and she in turn said I was pulling her from the front. I guess we really helped each other. When she mentioned which high school her daughter ran for, I knew the school very well because I used to live near it. In fact, one time another runner who was my neighbor did intervals on that high school track many years ago. As we were talking, another woman approached us and gave each of us a Marathon energy bar. She was being sponsored by the company so pictures were taken of us enjoying the freebie. I talked to a few more people before departing the scene. It was a most enjoyable workout day in recent memory.
When I got home, I tried something different with regards to icing my ankles. Instead of using ice packs, I filled an old cat litter pan with water, dumped a tray of ice in it, and dunked my feet and ankles in the cold water. It was okay except I don’t think I had enough ice in it because when I use ice packs they feel cooler. I’ll let you know sooner or later how long it took for me to recover from that last run. Ta-ta for now.

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