Runny Buddy

I awoke 45 minutes earlier than usual for my morning workout. After a long year of training alone, you'll do that in order to meet up with a training partner.  My friend and co-worker, John, is training for the Surf City Half Marathon, his first.  John and I have been training together for years now, starting off in the old temporary gym at our office complex.  During the past couple years, John has caught the running bug, and it's bitten back.  He's found the podium on more than one occasion for several 5k and 10k races, and is now preparing for his longest distance yet.

So, every Wednesday morning from here until Surf City, John and I will be meeting at 7 a.m. at Griffith Park to run the many trails and hills.  I couldn't be happier about that.  Despite two creaky knees and flaming IT bands, I kept up for the most part, though I think John was being gracious.  We talked about life, work, racing and training.  As John pointed out, the miles and minutes melt away when you have good humor and good conversation.

My legs fared better today than they did on my first trail run post-Ironman.  However, I'm not sure I could have done much more than the seven miles we covered in roughly 1:15:00 over hilly terrain.  I'm encouraged that my fastest mile seemed to be my last, though I couldn't tell since I didn't run with a heart-rate monitor.  Technically, I forgot it, but I'm glad I did. I truly am enjoying running for its own sake, though really the company and conversation made the biggest difference.

Unfortunately, as I type this tonight, my legs feel like garbage.  The muscles in my hips and groin are tight and stabbing me with pain.  My IT bands are locked.

In other words, I am not in a good place physically right now.

That may also be attributed to visiting Shannan, my trainer, following the morning run.  I realize that in order to improve my performance in races I need to strengthen my muscles.  Shannan immediately pointed out some deficiencies in the alignment of my knees, showing that my right knee especially droops inward when I put all my weight on it.  This is evidenced by many running race photos I've seen where it seems like my legs are collapsing inward (almost like an AT-AT Walker being lassoed by a Rebel fighter on Hoth) upon their own weight.  Shannan designed an anatomical adaptation regimen for the next four weeks to help me restore some balance and strength in my legs, glutes and core.

I did parts of that workout following the trail run though, which may be contributing to my soreness/pain this evening.

Still, I don't regret that at all.  I know I should probably be tired mentally but I'm completely fired up to be back training again. I've caught fire emotionally and mentally. I am confident the physical side will catch up in time and plan to keep training as best I can.  One lesson I'm learning so far is that I can indeed run through IT band pain if I need to.  I wonder if I panicked a bit unnecessarily at IMAZ when my IT band locked up.  With some pain gel, some walking and stretching on my own I might have saved a lot of time. Hard to say though.

Starting tomorrow, I'll have a lot more time to train over the next week.  I'm officially off work until January 4.  Done for the year!  I really can't believe it.  I've now been at Insomniac seven years!  I'm going to really relax and enjoy my free time as well as my training.  Part of my day though will be spent at an Active Release Therapy clinic in Brentwood, where my legs will get some much-needed sports massage work.  I know it will be painful. Probably as painful as at IMAZ.  But if my body can catch up to my brain and heart right now, it will be worth it.

188 days and counting.