My shin splints are gradually getting better, although I am still feeling the tenderness during the first mile of my runs, and babying them a bit. Definitely an improvement over a few weeks ago. I’ve gotten serious about my training and am back on the track towards my 20-mile a week goal, but being patient and increasing only a mile or a mile and a half a week (last week I logged 12.9). I will likely try to do three or four shorter runs during the week and a day of cross-training (think squats, one-legged squats, lunges, core training, the elliptical) mixed with a long run on the weekend. There are a dearth of half-marathons in the deep winter months in Michigan, but I will be shooting for a March half at the Ann Arbor marathon and if all goes well, maybe a full marathon next fall at the Sleeping Bear. In the meantime, my next event is our traditional A2 Turkey Trot. My Crossfit friends are doing the Iron Turkey (a 5k and a 10k back to back) but based on my conservative approach to my training and shins, I’m sticking with the 10k, which will still be a challenge, I’m sure.
I love this Turkey Trot, by the way. There’s always a steel drum band at the first turn, and whenever I hear them singing ‘Turkeys Do the Conga” it makes me laugh.
I’m trying to build my tolerance for a lot of treadmill running, since the winter is predicted to be as bad as last year, and that means a lot of snow, ice, and subzero temps. I’m a cold weather runner by nature, but there was no way there could be safe, healthy outside running for a majority of last winter. The snowfall was record breaking and paths, roads, and sidewalks were generally drifted, barely cleared, or ice-covered. This is in marked contrast to a couple of years ago, when we ran outside all winter long, thanks to mild temps and limited snow.
It’s discouraging how much my running speed and endurance have decreased, thanks to that long snowy winter and an injury-prone summer. I went out for my first over-4 mile run a couple of weekends ago, and found a great new place to run (Island Lake in Brighton, MI). I don’t usually look at my watch during long runs, except to note miles if I need to turn around at a certain spot, and instead try to find a comfortable, easy pace that I can keep up without walking. It was a spectacular bright fall morning, cold and golden, and for three quarters of the run I had that great feeling of my body as an engine, disconnected from my mind and my thoughts. This to me is the ideal running state, when my body does what I’ve trained it to do without fuss and my mind is free to wander – I’m not focused on muscles or breath or discomfort or distance. I paced myself slowly and consistently, but when I got back to the trailhead I was optimistic that I’d turned in a pretty good time. I checked my watch and gah!!!!! Yes, I’d made it without walking, feeling very comfortable and easy, but I’d run on average a whole minute slower per mile than last year’s training pace (so about two minutes per mile slower than my target race pace). GAH.
I know I’ll get it back if I keep applying myself consistently, training smart and with dedication, but that’s why running will break your heart, right there. :)
In the meantime, we are off to Disney. Pray for me, o fellow Introverts.