Monday, December 04, 2006

Bad News Bears

Bad days: We all have them. Saturday was a bad day… running-wise anyway. Like every other Saturday, I dragged my butt out of bed at 6:30am to run with the CES group. It was cold; the lakefront path was covered in ice—treacherous to say the least. But, we ran anyway… seven miles.

OK. I didn’t actually run seven miles. My best estimate is that I ran about five. At the halfway point we lost our pace leader to a leg cramp and the group took off, running much faster than we had the first half of our run. Running without a pace leader is anarchy.

The loss of our pace leader was the final straw for me. I had already been struggling, mentally and physically with the run. My thighs were incredibly sore from my Thursday night workout and even though I rested on Friday and popped plenty of Advil prior to the run, my legs hurt. With every step, it was harder to convince them to move.

I’ve found that during every long run (which I consider to be any run longer than four miles), there’s a moment when I know I’m going to finish. It’s very psychological. Usually, if it’s a good day, that moment happens around the halfway point. If it’s not a good day, sometimes I don’t know if I will finish until I can see the end. Saturday, there was no moment; in fact, every step was a struggle not to quit, until I finally gave in and walked two miles to the end.

I felt like crap. I went home and passed out on my couch for four hours.

Since then, I’ve been theorizing what could possibly be wrong. All week, I struggled with my runs and felt generally sluggish. Perhaps this is simply a case of overdoing it. My workout schedule has been solid now for months, but in the last few weeks, I’ve really been trying to push myself. Maybe I’m just a little burnt out.

So here’s the plan, take today off and hope the pain goes away (I honestly thought the soreness was gone yesterday, but then I realized I had popped pills all day trying to recover from a hangover), talk to my trainer about what my problem is, and sleep. Hopefully, I’ll be 100 percent for next week’s eight-mile run. But, if I’m not able to keep up next week, it’s time to drop back a group. That will be disappointing, but if I can’t hang, I can’t hang.

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