Sunday, August 19, 2012

So negative... yet positive!

Kinvara 3
     My training plan of late has had nothing but mileage for each day. No other goals, no labels such "tempo" or "Zone 3"... nothing but miles. When I headed out tonight, the rain began to fall slightly, and the air was pretty cool. Just to get to the end of my driveway is a perfect half mile. As I turned onto Hwy 462 (kinda like the highway from Pet Cemetery) the roads were clear and for the first time ever I did not have to run on the shoulder. A quick first mile got me off the the main roads in a very comfortable 8:06 and then I was free!
The back roads around my house are simply that, BACK ROADS! When people drive past me, as I run practically naked with my long hair bobbing behind my headlamp, the looks are of utter confusion as to "way is that boy always runnin'..." But outside the strange looks, the road are fairly empty and everyone is always considerate (or afraid) as they pass.
Mile two came quickly, just pass Cherry Hill Cemetery, in 8:06. Now to a long time competitive runner, seeing a negative split simply becomes a challenge! The game was on! Over the course of the next few miles I continued to press out faster and faster splits, in a game of "how long can I hold on". My weekly log called for 7 miles this evening, so at the 3.5 mile point I turned around and headed back home.
The rain continued to fall, heavier now, and the miles were clicking away...7:47... 7:32... 7:13. Now I know that my no means did I set any records on the roads tonights, but once again a run of redemption and validation reconfirmed my return to running. Next week it may be time to add some labels to my workouts. See you on the trail!

7 Miles: Cherry Hill Road  8:06, 8:01, 7:57, 7:47, 7:32, 7:13, 8:24 (cool down)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Like a runner...

Sunrise on my way to
get Dry Needling
     Over the past year I have not logged in many miles and the miles that I do have in were mostly done with an amazing amount of pain and discomfort. I raced twice this year: 1. Delirium Ultra 24 Hour Endurance Race: a disappointing 92 mile finish missing out on a kick-ass Belt Buckle after pulling off the trail for 4 hours because of the cold! 2. The Palmetto 200 Relay race which ended with me becoming the van driver while my team picked up my slack from not being able to run past the mid-way point of the race.
     After the 200, I began seeking out treatment for my injured knee. My treatment began with Active Release Therapy and then I switched over to a more aggressive Dry Needling technique. The basis of Dry Needling is easy to explain: insert a wire filament into your flesh to activate the muscles trigger points to aid in breaking up scar tissue from over use AKA: Ultra Running. There is NOTHING fun about it, it is extremely painful and takes a few days to get back on your feet again after each treatment. IT HURTS... A LOT!!! 
The sun sets in my backyard
     After my third treatment (and not being able to barely walk for 3 days) I noticed on my first "long run" of 3 miles that I had zero discomfort in my knee any longer. I continued to go through my daily stretching routine (something that I have NEVER done as a runner) and realized that I was ready to begin pressing my distance further and further. Over this same time period I began having to travel some with work again. Sleeping in hotels is something that I have never been able to do so I replaced some of those early hours with longer and longer runs. After 5 straight days, I was running strong and was able to keep pressing the miles. I had my first real "return to running" this past Saturday when I met up with my good buddy Paul for some miles on the trails on Pickney Island. This would be my first group run since February of this year. IT FELT GOOD! So good that I decided to stretch it out like the old days and I felt something for the first time... Something that I missed.
     I felt the Earth passing under my feet as my feet lightly made contact with the ground over and over again. I felt my heart and lungs expand and could feel the power flow through my body. I felt the cool marsh air against my sweaty flesh, cooling my core as I pressed harder and harder. I felt like a runner. A runner that could just go out and do what he enjoys, what he loves, what he's good at! Run when and where I wanted to. How far or how long I wanted to. At that point I was a runner again! The photos in this post are from a few of my runs over the last two week and one of me after my run on Pickney... that's the look of a happy runner. See you on the trail!!!