ahh cement legs. you've been so faithful to me, never leaving my side over the past few weeks. i'm so.... grateful?
i have tried a number of things in hopes of cheering (and lightening) up my legs. ice baths, epsom salt baths, ice packs, extra stretching, very slow easy runs, and even a massage. none of it seems to work.
i've been wanting to run a local race here in ky just because i'm here. so far they've all been on weekends i was gone, but the cards fell into place this weekend. it was a small-town 5k, but i just wanted to run a race for fun anyway. no pressure, no goals. well, i was going to try to make it a threshold workout, but that's slower than my 5k pr so i really wasn't putting pressure on myself. considering my heavy leg syndrome lately, i really wasn't expecting too much.
friday's easy run was s-l-o-w and as usual the legs were being disagreeable. i kept it short and ran 6.40 miles, telling myself i was saving what little i could for a weekend long run. i got back and ate some "green giant immunity blend" vegetables, mac 'n cheese, and ghirardelli cookies. the cookies are a mere 310 calories each, healthy. they seem to be magical though and i suppose i will have to sacrifice eating them before every race.
saturday morning i made the half-hour drive over to the metropolis of georgetown, kentucky. i parked and hit the road for some miles. what do you know, cement legs.
my plan was to run for about an hour, register for the race, jog around to stay loose, run the race, and run some more after. for the pre-race run, i hoped to run 2 miles easy, some miles at threshold pace, and then easy until the race where i wanted to crank it back up to threshold again. the first two miles were dreadfully slow "in town", and then i turned onto a 4-lane highway with a wide shoulder. apparently, this is what my legs prefer to run on.
i didn't get down to threshold pace, but my legs did manage to pick up the pace as soon as i hit the wide shoulder. (legs, what's up? i can't be running on highways everyday here.) i got in 3 miles at/below goal marathon pace and then cruised back to main street to register for the race. although it wasn't threshold, i was glad my legs still knew how to turnover.
i registered for the race and jogged around to stay warm/loose while trying to not look like one of those hardcore people since i definitely do not run at hardcore pace. it was a small race with a few hundred people. i was hoping i could place well and was content knowing a pr was not going to happen. i wanted to get in some threshold miles, try to push some concrete out of my legs and finally cross "run a local race while i'm here" off my list.
the air horn sounded, and we were off. i counted the number of females in front of me but (for once) exercised patience and held back. for probably the first time ever in my life, i did not start a race too fast. a lot of people did go out too fast, and i passed them easily in the first mile. lesson learned, finally!
mile 1 - 7:10, right in the threshold zone, right where i need to be. surprise! it wasn't even uncomfortable. (what the heck legs? you need company in order to run well?)
mile 2 - 7:10, pat on the back for some consistency. i never see this, especially not in a 5k. i almost went crazy thinking about my smart running! don't go out too fast, run your own pace, work the hills. i smiled, waved and said thank you or good morning to the volunteers and police officers. i was feeling good, which also has never happened in a 5k.
mile 3 -6:47, yeah buddy. crank it home. i started picking it up around 2.5 miles. caught up to a guy running in front of me and then beat him.
mile 3.1 - 0:35, (5:47 pace). uhhh. again, another "never". as in, i never see 5's on my watch.
so, this racing smart thing actually works. who would've thought? start out strong and even, maintain pace, push harder, finish feeling good. what a concept! only took me, like, 11 years to catch on.
i met an older woman at the race who just started running in april. this was her 5th race/5k since then, and she placed 2nd in her age group! she was very excited and i couldn't help but be excited for her. placing well at a race just feeds the running fire and i hope she sticks with it.
saturday (10/3) am run: 6.76 miles, 57:46 (avg pace 8:32), avg hr (158), 50*
saturday (10/3) am race: 3.1 miles, 21:36 (avg pace 6:58), avg hr (178), 50*
not sure where i finished overall, but it was good enough for first place female!
what about those planned post-race miles, you ask?
saturday (10/3) am run: 1.00 mile, 8:09, avg hr (154)
after finish the race and getting a quick cup of water, i turned around and headed back out on the course to cheer on the people still finishing. i did a mile loop, ending up at the finish again and well, stopped. still need to work on the post-race mileage, but otherwise a successful morning.
apparently, all it takes is eating super delicious, high-in-calories chocolate chip cookies the night before and getting in a 7-mile warm up in order for me to run well. cookies, quite do-able. seven mile warmup? not so sure... maybe i will be running 33.2 miles in nyc.
thank you, georgetown, ky and your horsey 5k for restoring my running spirit and (hopefully) relieving my legs of their heavy load.