Monday, May 14, 2007

Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh ...

So I dragged my butt out of bed this morning. The house was freezing at 6am, and dark. I can't turn the central heating on at that hour because the air vents make a heap of noise, and I don't want to wake Hamish up. So I layered up and hustled my way up to the bus stop.

At the gym I did my usual lower body workout, with my only concession to the big week of running ahead being to drop 10kg off the leg press. Other than that it was the standard number of jumping squats, walking lunges, frog jumps (burpees for the old school amongst us), hamstring curls and jack knifes. I followed that up with a good stretch, then it was off to work.

Feeling rather pleased with myself I fired an email off to Leonie about how well everything was going, then at around mid-day I wandered down to Starmart where, standing in line, I yawned and managed to put my neck out. Shooting pain spread down my left side, and suddenly it was difficult to move my head. The universe teaching me a lesson for being smug, obviously.

I spent the afternoon rather miserably with a heat pad on my left shoulder and my right shoulderblade cramping up from being held at a defensive angle. I considered trying to get into my physio, but I have an appointment tomorrow afternoon anyway, so I decided to play the 'wait and see' game. A couple of Neurofen, and it was off to Jog Squad.

Duck had said we would be doing drills, but Ingrid send us off to do some speed work around the Bays instead. The idea was to run a five minute warm up, then four minutes at a fast pace, then 2 minutes recovery, then 3 minutes, then 1 minute recovery, then 2 minutes, then 1 minute, then we were to turn around and jog back. Within 10 seconds of leaving the gym my neck was objecting to being jolted around and I considered turning back and jumping on an exercycle instead. However I decided I would just go out for a 40 minute easy run, and make up the speed work later on in the week.

In the end the legs argued more loudly than the neck, and although I didn't sprint I certainly ran at a fast pace. I stayed fairly close to the girls sprinting ahead of me. The Northerly had turned the harbour into a washing machine, but the evening was crisp, clear and pleasant. As we ran past Oriental Bay I stayed close to the sea wall, allowing the spray to hit me in the face. The further around we got the stronger the wind became. Rounding Pt Jerningham the Gods of Wind picked me up and threw me 200 metres or so down the road. At one point I extended my arms out either side of my body, picturing myself as the King of the World as the wind propelled me forwards at breakneck (literally) speed.

Somehow I managed to stay on my feet and everyone turned around not far past Balaena Bay. From there it was a grind back to the gym. I tried to draft behind some of the other girls, but every time I made it into someone's lee the sudden lack of wind nearly sent me flying forwards into them. Eventually I gave up and just plowed on. Walls of spray hit us in the face and combined with sweat to make our eyes sting. Our hair blew in our faces. I found it exhilerating, and the adrenalin rush continued as I stepped out, engaged my glutes, and focused on overtaking one runner after another. By the time we reached Freyberg I was really starting to sprint, and I kept up the pace all the way back to the gym. Each time I needed more speed I could feel my stride alter, my butt engage a little more, and as if by magic I would leave another runner in my wake.

A good run then. It's becoming increasingly clear to me that my tactic for out-and-backs needs to be to take the first half steadily, because my will power will kick in on the way back and my pace will increase in response. Tonight I felt like some of the power I had a couple of months ago has returned, and reassuringly I'm experiencing very little back pain right now. A corner appears to have been turned, mentally and physically. Just as well, because this is going to be another big week of training!

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