Tuesday, July 9, 2013

In The Company of AREC Runners

This appears like I'm doing some sort of duck walk with my butt sticking out, however it just shows how difficult it is to do the heel to toe walking technique. Looks funny, doesn't it? Photo courtesy of Dave K.

          Last week AREC running club members received an email saying that new t-shirts were available for those who haven't received this year's beach towel for being a member. I picked up my towel a couple of months ago but it had remained unused and sitting in my closet. I sent a message to Kevin B. who was distributing the new shirts to find out if I could exchange my beach towel for a shirt and he said yes. Thus the reason for me showing up at the AREC training run last Saturday morning. Having done a jog/walk last Thursday, I thought I'd just do a very brisk walk with the club for the shorter distance of 6 miles just like I did 2 months prior when I was able to cover the distance at a 13:05 pace (my fastest walking pace ever).

          So there I was last Saturday morning with the club, a walker amidst all the runners of which about 115 showed up despite the 4th of July holiday weekend. Man, this club is really going strong! Before the pre-run talk even started, I began my walk so as not left too far behind when all the runners finished later. Like I said, I was only planning to walk but started inserting some short jogs in between walking intervals. This soon transformed itself to slightly longer jogs with shorter walk intervals. In the meantime, I kept looking behind me to check if the runners were catching up. I stopped at Stephanie's water station and drank some Gatorade and thanked her for being there, then continued my walk/jog (now a jog/walk). About a quarter of a mile later, I felt a tap on the back and the two leading AREC runners (Brian C. and Dylan B.) had caught up to my early start. They must have started later than usual because I was almost at 4 miles at that point. Pretty soon more runners were passing me (Johan D., Mike S., Kate R., etc.) and even though I couldn't run continuously, it felt good to be among the company of runners. I even saw Jennifer S. whom I ran with about 3 times last year. Oh, I forgot. Stephanie's water stop was supposed to be the turnaround point for the 6 mile distance but I continued on and jog/walked up 6th street hill before turning around. The longer distance for the day was 10 miles but I didn't want to go that far, so when I reached the corner of Bayshore and 2nd Streets, I turned left instead of continuing to Ocean Boulevard. Since I wasn't following the exact 6 or 10 mile route, I had to make adjustments so I could hit at least 9 miles by the end. One thing I noticed at about 3 miles and around Naples Plaza was how the numbers or the Sole Runners training group had diminished dramatically, while the AREC group has grown.

          When I reached 7 miles, I could feel my legs tiring which I attribute to the lingering effects of statin myopathy. Although my thighs and hips don't hurt as much, they still get tired more than usual. But at least they don't feel injured. It seem that the doctor reducing my Atorvastatin dose to 10 mg. three times a week has helped. At this point the duration of my jogs equaled the duration of my walks because my jogging stride started to deteriorate, and I did this until I reached the finish line.

          When I finally clicked off my GPS watch which I haven't worn in months until last Thursday, I didn't know what my pace was. I was thinking maybe around 12:30 because when I did a jog/walk on Thursday where I felt I jogged more than I walked (actually I jogged the first 2 miles and jog/walked the rest up to 4.69 miles), I ended up with 11:44 pace. So when I checked my average pace last Saturday for the 9 miles I finished, I was ecstatic to find out that I did an 11:25 pace, deteriorating stride and all! I would have never expected that and I can only attribute that pace to being in the company of the runners in my club. To tell you the truth, never mind the pace, after I finish these things, I still don't know how I'm able to cover these distances nowadays especially when they are over 6 miles. For that, I remain thankful.

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