Due to last week’s unexplained albeit painful hamstring strain, I got creative with my workout schedule this week. This was a bit challenging for me as my EN workout routine is now firmly engrained in my brain – rest Monday, bike on Tuesday with a transition run, etc.
Instead of taking a rest day on Monday, I decided to take it on Tuesday for two reasons: 1.) My coworker needed me to work on Tuesday instead of Monday and that meant if I worked out on Tuesday, I’d have to get up at my usual Sunday time of O’dark-thirty to get on my bike. No thanks! One day a week is enough. 2.) I wanted to give my hamstring as much of a rest as I could before Wednesday’s interval run, if I even attempted it.
I continued to ice, ibuprofen, stretch and Biofreeze my hamstring into submission throughout the week. (I think my butt has finally thawed out from all the icing I was doing.) I attempted to do a little transition run on Monday after my bike workout, however I hadn’t even made it up to Zone 1 (easy pace) before I started whimpering. Instead, I called it a day. Coach Joe applauded me for my uncharacteristic weakness. I just wanted the pain to go away. **Coach Joe says that it wasn’t weakness it was prudence.**
Surprisingly, by late Tuesday afternoon, my hamstring was feeling remarkably better. Don’t get me wrong, it was still sore, but not that stabbing pain that stopped me in my tracks on Sunday morning. I found a somewhat comfortable pace that I thought I could maintain and then ran three miles with the fast kids from the elementary school’s running club. I didn’t even balk when they ran a little ahead of me to which several kept turning around to see if I was going to bark at them to slow down. Those kiddos will tell you that I am a FREAK about safety!
My darned hamstring continued to plague me throughout the week, but I soldiered on with my workouts. On Wednesday, the local bike store started their evening rides back up. Of course I went, cold and windy as it was. Wednesday rides this early in the year are really more social rides than anything else. I was not planning on doing my run intervals to give my hamstring even more rest, but my legs were feeling somewhat numb after getting off of the bike so I decided to give it a whirl. If my hamstring started to hurt, I would stop. Yeah, right. Seriously, I was. I needed to be as pain-free as possible for Saturday so I wasn’t gonna monkey around. The running club kiddos were running their first 5K and I had promised them that I would pace whoever wanted me to, hamstring strain or not. I couldn’t let my kiddos down!
Saturday was duathlon day for this chica. I got up before the crack of dawn to get my bike intervals in and then headed out for the race. Many of the kids from the running club were there. It was a treat to see Jamie hanging out with his buddies at the start line before the race. (Apparently, running club is one of the cool clubs for 5th grade boys at school.) All three of our kids had their iPods and handheld water bottles and were ready to roll. Yes, we are secretly trying to raise a new breed of endurance athletes. Surprisingly, Mic wasn’t pitching her usual fit about being made to run. Perhaps Joe read her the riot act before they arrived…
|The family that races together|
stays together. :-)
Jamie planned to run with his friends; he wasn’t the slightest bit concerned about winning. I guess we need to work on his killer instincts – just kidding! Our friend Cori graciously offered to run with Mic. Cori was just getting back to running after recovering a month-long deployment and a pinched nerve in her shoulder so she wasn’t planning on breaking any land speed records. I was pacing Josie like I always do, figuring that I could also pace some of my running club kiddos, as they needed me.
|My buddy C|
We headed out and Josie was holding a pretty good pace for her. She was jamming to her tunes, singing out loud with reckless abandon as she ran. We were about ¾ of a mile in when we came upon my first running club kiddo that was struggling. C is one of my fastest kids, if not the fastest, and I fully expected him to win his age group. To see him limping along in tears stopped me in my tracks. I sent Josie on ahead knowing that she’d never get far enough ahead that I’d lose sight of her, put my arm around C’s shoulder and started walking with him. He was complaining of being dizzy and an upset stomach. It was a beautifully cool morning for a run, so no worries about heat stroke. I kept him walking and talking. He told me he’d had an upset stomach on and off the day before as well, but no fever. Hmm. I asked him if he thought maybe, just maybe was it nerves? He grinned at me sheepishly and agreed.
After walking a bit and with a little bit of Momesque TLC, he felt good enough to run again. So, we ran. And then, we walked. And that was how C finished the race. As we got to the last half-mile and I knew he’d finish, I told him about how Crowie (Alexander Craig) continued to run and then finished the marathon at Kona last year even after he knew that there was no possible way that he would podium. I shared with C the importance that it’s not always winning, but how sometimes just finishing and doing so with grace is one of the most important parts of sport. I think he got it.
|Josie crossing the finish line|
As we came to the last corner, C looked up at me, smiled weakly and told me that he was gonna run the rest of the way. I smiled back, and told him, “Let’s go then.” I upped my pace and off we went. C crossed right before me – time: 30:37. I immediately enveloped him a hug; the poor kid looked like he could use one. Neither of his parents was able to be there, so I took on the role of proud parent. And, I truly was! This kiddo is a swimmer and he went out of his comfort zone to try something new. It didn’t turn out how he had planned, but he persevered and I think the next time he runs a 5K he’ll be all right.
|Mic crossing in front of her pacer, our friend Corin|
I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that my own babies did well. Jamie finished a minute or so before we did and was chillin’ with his buddies as we crossed the finish line, cheering on other racers. Joe ended up pacing Josie who came in shortly after C and I did. Mic and Cori came in several minutes after that, earning Mic (my non-running child) her very first 2nd place age group finish. Perhaps I should have gotten them iPods and handheld water bottles a long time ago…
|My boy and his wonderful teacher|
After my early morning bike intervals and a 5K, three friends and I went on a windy 26-mile bike ride. How windy was it? So windy that two of us almost got swept off of our bikes at one point. I felt like Piglet when he gets swept up into the sky on the very blustery day and Pooh holds onto his scarf to keep Piglet from being blown away. Forget the intervals - that was great resistance work.
Sunday’s long run was, thankfully, just that – long. While the hamstring was achy, I didn’t let it stop me. I knocked out the intervals and then some. Around mile 10, I even started got a runner’s high. I get runner’s highs when I run outside, but I’ve never gotten one on the treadmill. It was a very weird sensation, pleasant, but weird.
Joe says that he doesn’t get runner’s highs. I’ve tried to describe it to him – that feeling of floating along, that you could run for miles and miles, that you are invincible. Nope. He’s never had it. Wow. That’s a pity. Curious, I have also asked him if, when he’s running, he’s ever felt his muscles moving in synchrony or marveled at how they all work individually and together. Again, nope. Now, I know I’m really in tune with my body, but perhaps I’m just a little too in tune…