This has been a spectacular weekend of training. Both from a recovery and goal perspective.
I've been staying in contact with my brother for guidance on and reassurance on the steps I'm taking to keep my feet, legs and knees healthy. I've continued to see improvement and as a result have been able to stay on track with my training goals.
I've also been receiving a lot of support from friends and family. It can be tough to continue to be motivated on a daily basis, your positive reinforcement keeps me excited and focused. I would say I have a very limited number of friends and partly by choice. I believe the people I've chosen to be friends with are extraordinary, I glad to say I haven't settled for less. Thanks again to all of you, you know who you are.
On my long run days, I like to reflect back on the run from start to finish. This will help me establish a history of progress and be nice memior.
I made a change today to my normal routine in a couple of ways and for a couple of reasons.
The first change I made was switching to my Ravenas, took a lot of mental convincing to do this. I didn't have the best experience on Tuesday but thought I need to continue integrating them into my runs. I did this with a decision to return/exchange for a new pair of Gel Nimbus runners if I didn't see immediate improvement on today's run. Funny say that out loud (or write it) "listen up shoes here is the ultimatum - kick ass or back to the shoe orphanage." The first few miles the same problems that persisted as earlier this week, pain shooting up the inner portions of my shins and noticeable pressure on my left ankle/arch. That said, the outer right foot (the problem child this week) felt like it had never been hurt. After about five miles, the shin and ankle pain faded and I was settling into a nice pain-free stride.
The second change I made was replacing my water with Gatorade. Lemon flavour in case your were wondering. I wanted to see if I got similar results with less liquid. Now to most of you this might seem like a minor change but last weekend I got about 14 miles in and was feeling a little bit sloshy - kinda of like a washing machine cycle was running in my stomach. By mile 16 the water had done it's thing, some exiting through perspiration and the other through it's normal cycle. I have a personal goal to avoid stopping or walking for any reason during a run unless the type of training method calls for it. I also didn't really have an option, not like there were any port-a-potties off the street. Needless to say, I some extra motivation to get home. I normally go through 700ml of water on a 10 mile run. I only took 400ml of Gatorade on today's run and finished comfortably with around 100ml left. I going to continue training with Gatorade on my runs over 10 miles and see if it continues to work for me.
The third change I made was putting my watch/heart rate monitor in pocket. The main reason for this was to re-direct my focus from pace and overall time to form. I was looking for low impact strides, relaxing my shoulders, staying tall, keeping my line of sight out in front, better turnover, hand low and loose, direction of arm swings and breathing. With some many things to keep track of, adding the pressure of keeping a certain pace or trying to set a PR makes it difficult to do any one of those things well. As a matter of fact, it actually encourages poor performance in almost all other categories other than speed. Over time muscle memory will take care of the fundamentals and give me the freedom to focus purely on speed. I'm coming to terms with that reality.
The fourth change is related to my post run nutrition, I'll fill in the details later in the blog.
I waited until the clouds cleared this afternoon before taking off. By the time I left, the skies were perfectly clear and the tempatures in the low 60s. Another amazing day for a run. I started down Shady Brook Lane at a comfortable pace and had a mental struggle over removing my watch. I finally pulled the watch off and placed it in my pocket. I made the turn down Southwestern, the main street through our neighborhood. It was nice a bunch of people out today enjoying the weather, runners, walkers, people playing with their dogs, flag football and people throwing the frisbee. The atmosphere was a welcomed distraction and soon I hit the quarter mile marker. I mention the quarter mile marker because this is where I routinely check my speed. I looked down at my wrist once, no watch. Kept running and then like I forgot altogether that I had purposely taken it off, I looked down again in moment of slight panic. It's one of those moments like when you've realised 4-5 minutes down the road in the car than you left your cell phone on the roof. I quickly remember my commitment to running without time markers today and kept running with mild sense of disappointment.
Time went by quickly as passed through a neighborhood near the house and made it to my second mile marker. Tempted again to pull the watch out of my pocket, I carried on. I was running a new route today so I was trying hard to remember where to turn and as I came to Mockingbird (a major street) I managed to convince myself to head straight across the street. This was wrong. A half mile later I hit a dead end and headed back out to Mockingbird. I found the right turn and soon found myself next to White Rock Lake. I love running out there, especially on days like to day.
I passed four miles and was still taking breathing easily but struggling with my shins. I was running in my new shoes so I expected this from my experience on Tuesday. The good part though was the other pains I was battling this week were gone altogether.
At mile five, I arrived in "that" place. I was fully zoned in and every step felt like I was gliding. The winds were picking up off the lake which normally would have been discouraging. Today, I just appreciated the cool air and kept going.
The sixth mile was full of interesting people. My favourite was an older gentleman wearing a big bucket hat and a shirt with paw prints all over it and said "My running partner has four legs." He looked like he was five or six days over due for a shave and long wirey gray escaping from underneath his big bucket hat in all directions. The wind was blowing his hat lid straight back and he looked like he belonged in the maritimes. His puppy was a mut of some kind running directly out in from of him practically hopping. The dog's jouls were pulled back in the wind and he looked like he was smiling. Maybe he was, he looked really happy to be out running with his owner.
The seventh and eighth miles were quiet and winded back through the neighborhoods I had passed through on my way to the lake. A few people out walking most of which smiled and waved as I passed.
At mile nine I was approaching Abrams Street and the Target near our house. I got the sense of nearing the finish and still felt like I had a lot of energy left in tank. I resisted the urge to speed up for the next half mile or so. At nine and half miles, I couldn't hold back any longer and took off at full speed all the way through to the finish. It felt great.
A few days Melissa forwarded me a link on nutrition for runners. I've been replacing following up my long runs with a Clif Bar and amplified whey protien chocolate drink. I plan on incorporate more of the ideas on the site Mel forwarded but an easy one was to include blueberries in mix.
I picked up 2lbs of frozen blueberries and have started adding 2oz. of blueberries to the protien shake. It is delicous and has the added value anti-oxidants. I've always had a general understanding of anti-oxidants and their benefits for disease prevention but the article Mel sent me made me curious about thier relationship to running. Below is an excerpt from a good article I found on the topic at runningtimes.com.
"Antioxidants protect runners from molecules called reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS are most commonly seen in the form of free radicals and are produced as a normal part of metabolism. However, research has shown that exercise increases the production of ROS. The theory is that the increased production of ROS may “overwhelm” the ability of the body to maximize its antioxidant defenses. This can lead to cellular damage because of an increase in oxidative stress on the body. This oxidative stress has been linked to muscle damage, fatigue, and a reduction in immune function. (1)
Oxidative stress can potentially hinder performance capabilities. Antioxidants provide your cells with protection against these ROS. The ratio of the ROS produced by exercise to the ability of the body to defend against ROS is important in preventing oxidative damage. By consuming enough antioxidants one allows the body to work against the cellular damage caused by ROS.
We know there are numerous health advantages to your daily running routine despite the fact that it causes the body to produce more ROS. The body actually does adapt ROS production to training, somewhat, although exactly how much is still in question. Therefore, we are encouraged to maximize daily antioxidant consumption to improve the body’s ability to prevent oxidative damage and potentially hindered performance and recovery." Read the rest of the article.
After my run this evening, I spent some quality time stretching and working through some SMR modalities (see Day 6 blog on SMR). My legs appreciated the stretch and I am starting to see a small improvement in range of motion and flexibility. One day at a time. Stretching and flexibility in general is not a strong spot for me.
Tomorrow is rest day. I'm looking forward to it.