Weekends are the days I have an opportunity to run outside. I haven't taken as good advantage of it as I should these past few weeks, but at times I can be a fair weather runner... We live on a gravel road, so days that are really rainy or icy just are not particularly fun. I also hate wind... like really hate it. Anything above about a 15mph wind will keep me indoors most of the time. I know, I know... I'm a wimp!
I had been looking forward all week to a nice run outside. I was hoping to go long - at least longer than I've been going - in the 9 - 11 mile range. Yesterday was a nice, quiet family day in the house (see my prior post). There was quite a bit of snow and slush on the road and my legs were still really tired and sore from a hard week of double workouts so I pushed my run to today.
Bring on Sunday... driving home from church this morning, it was evident that our road was a goopy, soft, muddy mess. Our suburban looks like we went off-roading just from the drive home! I moped around most of the late morning and early afternoon - really wanting to run but continuing to look outside at the road. (I realize that I could get in my car to drive somewhere to run on a paved surface, but that wasn't on my agenda for the day). Finally, as my mood continued to deteriorate, I decided that I just needed to get off my duff, put on my shoes and go for it. A little mud never scared me before, why was it keeping me from running today?!?!
I. am. so. glad. I. went!! It was a glorious run. Muddy, yes. Soggy, yes. But barely a breeze, a little sun peeked through a couple of times, and the fresh air... just what my soul needed today! It is also the first run in a long time that I did without music. I used to always run without music and forgot how much I love it. Just me, my thoughts and prayers, and the sound of my feet crunching (or rather squishing) on the gravel.
I intended this to be an easy long-ish run. Because I kept putting it off, I was racing the sunset and only had time for 7. It was a great 7 though. I almost always start off slower (in the 9:30 - 9:00 range). I find that when I go much faster before I'm warmed up, I never seem to get my breath back under control and usually have really poor runs. Today I followed my plan and most of my splits were negative: 9:07, 8:59, 8:30, 8:33, 8:25, 8:10, and 7:20!! (and no, I don't consider these times as an easy run... I had a hard time not pushing the pace at each half mile interval.)
The last three miles I was thinking about my form - I thought I remembered reading that you should lean (or fall) slightly forward as you run - kind of like you are leaning into your next stride... I tell you what - I don't know if I was mechanically sound, but it felt like I found another gear without really trying! My natural form when I run is pretty upright so this was an adjustment and I kept finding myself back in my old form. It will be interesting to experiment with this to see if it continues to help me improve!
The only downside is that about a half a mile from the end my right knee started bothering me a little. By the time I finished it was bothering me alot. Tonight it has been really tight and almost feels as though it won't support me if I step on it wrong. I'm hoping that some ice and Aleve will make it feel better!
The picture doesn't look as messy as it really was, but here's the evidence of my muddy run... muddy shoes, muddy splash up on my pants!