Loath as I am to recap an entire week or so of training here on SFOT, I will do just that, if only because it was remarkable. By my piss-poor standards, that is.
Less than two weeks ago, I did the unthinkable: logged four miles at a 9:00 pace. I hadn’t done that since my first running “career,” over a decade ago. So, it is only natural that I would try to get this down into the “eights” the next time I would do this loop, a week ago. And I did, but at a price. Setting out at a brisk pace last Monday, I covered so much ground before the thirty-minute “beep” sounded on my watch, I was certain the sumbitch was broken. With the finish line in sight, I decided to pour it on, only to catch a bit of uneven curb with my toe, a mere 40 yards from the end.
It happens so quickly, but time really does stand still. On my half-second tumble to the asphalt, every hospital in Mercer County flashed before my eyes.
Shit, I have a flight in three hours!
Did I leave the oven on?
There were no audible signs of broken bones, which I took as a good sign. I pretty much hurt like bloody hell, but stubborn pride would only allow me to “spring” up and “bolt” to the newspaper boxes at the next corner, where I would take inventory of my wounds. Somehow, I got out of there with a bloody right knee, a pretty badly bruised right elbow, and some scraped knuckles on my left hand. On the bright side, the next day would be my off day. And what timing; one more 5:00 am run in Houston might really have been the death of me.
Despite the near-ER experience, I knocked 19 seconds/mile off my past performance on the 4-mile loop. A new bar has been set for me on short runs; 10-minute miles are no longer acceptable to this garden slug with running shoes.
The after-effects of this spill made my Wednesday 8-miler a true exercise in masochism; I’m hard pressed to conjure up worse running partners than a sore back and stiff neck. Still, I managed to log a 10:15 pace on an easy-ish course, selected as a concession to my convalescence. For good measure, I followed that up on Thursday with my best 5-miler ever (9:24/mile).
There was a time, not too long ago, where any plans to add mileage on Saturday would haunt me all week. Not this time. I woke up. I dressed. I ran. I ran some more. I stopped to take a squirt somewhere in Hopewell, shortly before the woods thinned out (First time Road Whiz. I know; what took me so long?!?). I made it home in under three hours, at which point I could have bartered away a family member for five minutes alone with a bottle of Flexeril and a fifth of Irish whiskey. Coffee and a donut would have to suffice; beer would be about twelve hours away.
I know you’re only as good as your last run, but for the first time ever, I really feel like I’ve GOT this, despite how much preparation still lies ahead, not to mention the prospect of six additional miles of who-the-hell-knows-what on race day. Still, the fear is gone. Gone. For now, anyway.
Deer Count! 9 (Living Deer Count: 9!)
Toenail Update! About three sore ones, bilaterally. A little bit of discoloration on the right middle digit.