Monday, August 31, 2009

Back in the saddle

Well, I had a pretty good weekend! I ran 20 miles on Saturday and actually felt pretty good! Since I hadn't run long the previous weekend, I started the run with no intentions whatsoever of running 20; I was going to be happy with anything greater than 15 miles. However, the company was good, the temperature was fairly moderate, and my feet felt better than they have (running long) in months. I'm not sure exactly to what to attribute the last factor: to the two weeks off I'd taken nearly completely off from running, or to a last-minute shoe substitution I made nearly immediately after putting on my usual "long-run" shoes. I was prescribed these shoes when I went to buy a new pair of Newtons, and came away with a pair of shoes that promised to "correct" my form (I'm convinced that my form over the last many months has been subtly altered to try to minimize the pain associated with plantar fasciitis, and does not necessarily represent my natural body mechanics). Anyway, I'd been running my long runs in those and all of my weekly runs in the Newtons, still focusing in both pairs on mid/forefoot striking. When I put my "long run" shoes on early Saturday morning, the near instant plantar pain I felt caused me to rip those off and to don a pair of neutral trainers (the model I'd been running in for the past 3 years), which in this case I'd been using for my "walking around" shoes. Anyway, I ran 20, had a solid kick at the end over the last 4 or 5 miles, and finished the run feeling pretty great!

On Sunday, I went to Galveston for a 100 mile bicycle ride organized by Houston Racing. I've been trying out a behind-the-saddle water bottle holder on my bike ever since the retainer nuts on my downtube broke (that's what I get for removing my water bottle holder to improve aerodynamics for a sprint race), and these holders are notorious for ejecting bottles when riding on bumpy roads. True to form, my bottle of Infinit was ejected at about mile 5 of the ride, and I was left to complete the ride with a Camelbak full of water, and no nutrition or electrolytes. I got through the first 3 hours of the ride with a couple of emergency Gu's I had stuck in my jersey, and then tried to make up the difference with Gatorade purchased from a local store. At around mile 75 I crashed completely. It was ridiculously hot out, and I was out of calories to burn, and subsequently out of will to continue. I wasn't excessively fatigued, but I couldn't think and I completely stopped caring. I just wanted to pull over and curl up in some shade. I tried to get myself to sing a song to take my mind off of things (this is typically a pretty effective trick), but couldn't think of any songs. I somehow persevered to the gas station at mile 88, where I downed a Mountain Dew (nectar of the gods!) and a couple of bottles of Gatorade. It was a much longer stop than I would have preferred, but when I got back on the bike I had gotten my spirit back, and I finished the ride feeling relatively peppy. I was pretty much destroyed for the rest of the day, but I was pretty satisfied with my weekend of training.

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