Thursday, November 3, 2011
One Of Those Special Runs!
In my running youth, especially after I had been running a few years and actually started to train, I began to have those days......those days where I began to just flow. It happens where your conscious mind shuts down, you vision shrinks to a sharp sense like you are looking thru a tube, your muscles move effortlessly, and whenever you pick up the pace, it is like there is always going to be another gear you can engage, and your body feels like an animal just doing what it is supposed to do. I remember often laughing both inside and occasionally out loud at how freakin' easy this was! More monkey man than cheetah, but an animal on the loose none the less. As I have aged and struggled to hold on to this running activity, now filled with much greater levels of fatigue, lots of soreness and stiffness while running, and on many occasions, outright irritating pain, these days come along with rarer and rarer frequency. It has been so long since it has happened, that I have almost forgotten that it exists. But today, it happened.
My calf is still sore, and it takes a good two miles to loosen enough to allow my calf to stretch fully. I went out today with the hopes of running 6 miles, and to do 6 repeats of 4/10ths of a mile at close to 5K pace with short 2/10ths recoveries. I headed south on my regular trail toward the 3/4 mile turn around point, then heading back north and west to the start of my regular dirt track around the cities vehicle storage facility. I love this 8/10ths mile loop as it is groomed monthly so it is pancake flat dirt, firmly pressed with no holes or uneven spots. It is about a car lane wide. It was a cool 61 degrees with a light wind. I began to realize that I felt unusually good! The calf pain was mild, but nothing else hurt and my stride felt unusually smooth. When I got to the "track", I nervously did my first repeat smoothly, but not feeling like I was gonna hit my pace as I was a bit worried about the calf. The calf held up, and I looked at the pace and it was about 10 seconds per mile off my goal pace. HHHmmmmnnn. Hit the second, and it was about 10 seconds per mile under my goal pace. O.K, something weird is going on. Proceeded to run three more about 20 seconds per mile under goal pace, and then, starting to tire, pushed the last one even harder, hitting a pace 30 seconds per mile faster than goal pace. After that, I did a mile cooldown which also felt excellent. As I sat down to write this, I realized that nothing much hurts anywhere. Now I am sure that later the calf will hurt, and tomorrow when I hit the gym I will be an old sore fellow hobbling around until I do a short jog on the treadmill and I stretch out my muscles on all those torture machines, but it sure was a wonderful run. Once a week would be awesome to feel like this, but even once a month would be a good reminder. It was nice to be the monkey boy again!