Monday, May 19, 2008

A Beautiful Evening

Deciding to give my ankle an extra day's rest and swapping Sunday's run for RPM? Sensible but emotionally difficult.

Running 14km round the Bays and back through Newtown tonight under a full moon while the harbour glows? Priceless.

I was aiming for anything from 12 to 15km tonight, depending on how I felt and how my ankle held up. I decided to run at a very easy pace, wearing my Garmin but choosing my speed based on feel. This was to be the furthest I've run since I injured my ankle back in November. I wasn't at all sure how I would feel.

I ended up running at around a 5.50 pace which, given I was realistically expecting to run at a six minute pace, I was pleased with. Like I said, this was to be an EASY run and I know I could have easily knocked at least 10 seconds off if I'd pushed myself a little. The whole run felt great, with the exception of a stitch that appeared briefly after around 15 minutes but quickly disappeared. Oh, and the steeper bit of the climb over to Newtown totally owned me tonight. I think I shuffled up it more than ran. I was cheered only by the sight of a tall, blond, pony-tailed gazelle in skins on the other side of the road who was only managing to match my pace. She disappeared off towards the Mt Vic tunnel but then passed me near the hospital, so I'm not quite sure which way she went to get there. I toyed with the idea of taking her on, but I'd chicked a guy near Balaena Bay, so I'd already bagged my trophy for the night.

My ankle started to ache just a little at around the 8km mark. By that point I was committed to the full loop so I simply concentrated on keeping my footfall as light as possible. Let's see how it feels tomorrow. I suspect I was a little overly-ambitious tonight. I'm rather frustrated, because in all other respects I'm feeling very fit and strong. My body felt like it could just keep going and going and it was easy to convince my legs to continue past the turn-off to the gym, continuing on towards the railway station. I really want to do a PB at the Harbour Capital Half now. Before tonight I wasn't fully committed. Now I want to go all the way.

One other point of note: it's possible that I have simply backed off the intensity slightly in general, or it could be that I'm actually stronger (as evidenced by the way I felt tonight), however I'm not having anywhere near the muscle soreness I was suffering last year. I would once have found it difficult to contemplate 14km on the back of four consecutive days of leg-focused cardio. Today my legs still felt completely fresh.

The only other casualty of the night worth mentioning? This is worthy of a Steve Stenzel photo, but I'm stuck on the sofa with a cat on my lap and too lazy to fetch my camera. I'm not sure whether it's my new shoes or just that my feet have gotten soft from the lack of long-distance running, but I've got large callousy blisters on the balls of both feet. It hurts a little to walk ...

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