Friday, August 25, 2006

My first full week back running with the jog squad came with some beautiful, "that's why I run" moments. On Monday Allie and I found ourselves running to Greta Point and back, an hour's return trip. It was a clear, cold night. I was aware that I was really testing my recovery, so I was cautious about going too quickly. The faster girls quickly took off ahead of us. We ended up in a strange little bubble of space on our own. Going out we had a tail wind that sent us scuttling along like tumbleweeds. Turning around we began paying pennance for the wind assistance. Allie kept getting blown towards the road. On a couple of occasions I found myself stopped in my tracks by the strong wind gusts. However neither of us gave in and once back in Oriental Bay we were able to pick up the pace again.

The next day's aftermath wasn't that severe. A little achiness around the hip, and strangely achy knees. If only I'd been able to match that achievement on the day of the Shoe Clinic 10km I would have been home well within my target time. My confidence in my abilities has grown so much since then.

I didn't run Tuesday. I had a group of women coming over that night and looming deadlines at work to keep me busy. On Wednesday the jog squad had an interval training session down by Frank Kitts Park. Duck stood there with her whistle (she's getting way too fond of that thing) while we ran backwards and forwards along the waterfront. We started with a warmup job to Frank Kitts from the gym. When we got there we were ordered to do another 'warmup run' to the Shell station and back. There were several comments along the lines of "I thought we were already warmed up", but everyone complied (as you do). I really wasn't in the mood for a big session, and I found it really hard to push myself to keep up with the front pack.

Once back at the park we started doing short sprints of a couple of hundred metres, at increasing intensity. I took part guiltily, having not been given the go-ahead to do speed work yet. I kept nearly running into people and felt very un-co. However when we finally hit 100% exertion something kicked in. Suddenly I found myself pumping down the tarmac near the front, yelling from the effort as I neared the end. From that point on the rest of the evening was fun. My body finally woke up from recovery downtime.

Running with 30 other women can have its amusing side. The poor pedestrians traversing the walkway between the waterfront and Frank Kitts found themselves pursued by us all at high speed, and nowhere to go. Some took fright. One man commented, with a huge grin on his face, that he'd never been chased by so many beautiful women before. Most simply looked kind of confused. One yelled out "why not walk"? Well, running can be so much more fun...

Thanks to a stretching workshop after the interval training, a missed bus, a walk from Brooklyn in the cold, and a very late dinner, I didn't get enough sleep last night and ran out of gas half-way through my personal training session this morning. However not before running two kilometres on the treadmill in just over 11 minutes. I would never have thought at the start of this year that I would be running at 12kmph. Once 8kmph was it!

I elected not to run tonight, figuring I needed the sleep more. Besides, my quads are killing me from doing lunges with one foot on a weights bench. Tomorrow morning I'll be up for a solo RPM (Nic and Leonie are in Auckland), and on Saturday we have powerbag training with the squad, followed by the 50 minute run I didn't get in today.

Yay - back into things! The stretching session did explain a few things for me though. I'm quite a flat footed runner and my left leg splays out to the side. Although I've always been told I have tight calves I've always felt that the reason I couldn't push my feet towards my shins when stretching was more to do with the front of my feet (where the foot connects to the shin) than with the calves themselves. Well, turns out I was right. The physio who did the workshop is going to give me some stretches that will hopefully lengthen out that particular muscle, enable me to heel-toe run more effectively, and help my left foot to land straighter. It's all good, because although I look more like a runner than a shuffler these days my poor and inefficient footfall has been bothering me.

Oh, and my brand new running tights are falling apart in a rather embarrassing place. I'm definitely taking them back, and there was NO running commando on Wednesday night! VPL be damned, I was forced to wear some old-fashioned, conservative underwear to protect my modesty!

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