Running Smahter – Tuesday – July 20, 2021

How am I feeling today?

Kind of down this morning. Last night I made the tough choice not to take the trip/vacation that I have been looking forward to for months. 

It was not the choice I wanted to make. However, it is the correct choice for what is going on around us currently. The increasing numbers of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 and the surge in the Delta variant are not things I take lightly. While there may be many mixed messages about the virulence of COVID and its variants, it is not worth getting on a plane full of strangers (twice), flying somewhere, risk infecting others, and then returning home to risk infecting people at home.

Most everyone that I would be visiting is vaccinated, and I am also, but due to their age, some are not, and they are the ones that I will not put at risk. 

So, the trip is off, and I will go back to doing what I have been doing right along, which is running too much, working clearing brush, yard work, and doing the little maintenance things around the house that I can do. COVID has made too damn many changes to our lives, which is simply another one that needs to be dealt with. As much as I want to visit, now is not the right time.

Today’s run will help me get back to an even keel and then move on from this major disappointment.

Planned Workout Description: 

Type: 

  • Long Run

Per Stryd: “The long run is a main staple in training and is your longest continuous effort in the training week. The goal for this run is to practice extending duration and increasing your time spent running. Over the course of the training plan this run will build in duration and slightly vary in intensity.”

Today’s Running Focus

Run

Why am I doing this run?

To clear my head and push myself to keep doing what needs to be done, while I continue to wrestle with this choice that I made, that was not what I wanted to do.

What I Did Today: 

I drove into Waterville thinking that I would do the Waterville / Winslow Loop. The temps were okay, but it was humid still and made it a bit more work than I expected. The first part of the run was fine, and then I got greedy. I decided in my infinite wisdom to go behind the Alfond Youth Center on the trail and then get over to Cool St for the finish up to Hannaford.

Did the workout go as planned?

Mmmmmm taking that right instead of the left made a huge difference in how I viewed the run. While I was running well at that point, the left Achilles had been a little grumpy all run, nothing serious but noticeable. I made a blue box stop in downtown Winslow and never got my head back into the run. 

When I got over to Mayflower Drive, I decided that going in back of the Alfond Youth Center would be a great change of pace and give me about another mile or so for the run.

Unfortunately, going up that little hill to get over to North Street, I felt it tighten up a little more – not good, but not enough for me to turn around. 

Running along the trail was nice, but by the time I got back on North Street, the lack of hydration and heat/humidity had done their work, and I could feel the heart rate going up slightly and the bear on my back getting heavier. Plus, starting about AYC, my Achilles started to get damn grouchy.

I made it back to the railroad bridge, and my watch advised me that I had completed my 60:00 minute long run. I had a choice keep going, suffer through the discomfort to get back over to Hannaford, or shut it down and walk back to the truck. If you look at Strava, you can quickly see which choice I made.

There wasn’t a whole lot to prove. The Achilles was bothering me more than I like, the heat/humidity had done a number on me, and I wasn’t into abusing myself to say that I finished a run. So, yeah, I shut it down and walked 1.35 miles back to the truck.

What did I learn today?

First – don’t be greedy. It was a hot/humid day, and I didn’t bring any hydration along, so I set myself up for problems if I decided to change the plan to do more. When at the last minute, I decided to go around AYC, it was not a good decision and one that I would not make if I had it to do over. Spontaneity is great when the weather cooperates, and you don’t have to worry about a grumpy Achilles. Sticking to the plan is smarter when those are factors to consider.

Two – Don’t do a long run when you are not focused on it. I had a lot on my mind about canceling my trip and was attempting to sort through that stuff and wasn’t into the run. It happens, but I should have changed the schedule and done something shorter and saved the long run for a day that I could have focused on running more.

Three – I must remember to wear my calf sleeves. I don’t care what the science says or what the “experts” claim. When I wear them, my calves and both Achilles do not bother me nearly as much. Wear my calf sleeves, especially on long runs.

Four – Hydration. If I am running for more than an hour in hot/humid conditions, bring hydration. Under an hour, except for really crappy conditions, I am usually pretty good, but an hour is about as far as I can go without feeling like crap.

Five – I wonder if the higher drop of the Energy 2 would work better for running my long run than the Carbon x1s do for me until the Achilles is fully healed. That is something that I will have to try next week.

Six – Since I have had a LOT on my mind the last few days, I skipped a couple of evening mobilization sessions and my eccentric drop session this morning. Those sessions make a difference in my running and how my Achilles feels. Do the work beyond running.

Seven: Shutting it down and walking it back to Hannaford instead of continuing to run through the discomfort was smart. I am finally learning that training runs are not races, and the primary objective for any training run is to make it home uninjured. You can always redo a workout or just put it in the books as one of those days, but you need to be able to run tomorrow. So, while I was greedy, I wasn’t stoopid about it.

Last, I don’t need to go out and mow the lawn the same day that I do a long run. The Achilles was not impressed and was rather grumpy towards the end.

Despite all that learning that I did this morning, the run wasn’t bad for the conditions that I ran in. I know that many people would love to be able to run for an hour and then walk for another half hour and come home and mow the lawn for an hour that afternoon. So, I am not complaining about the run, but there are things that I can do differently or better next time.

Injuries/Niggles: The left Achilles got rather grumpy at the end of the hour run and that combined with the heat/humidity, I decided to shut it down and walk it back to Hannaford.

Weather: Clear sky, 75°F, Feels like 76°F, Humidity 84%, Wind 3mph from NW. In other words, sweat like a stuck pig day.

Shoes: Hoka Carbon X1 – No problems or issues with the shoes, although I do wonder if the higher drop Energy 2s might be a better choice for my long runs as I continue to work on getting the Achilles back into shape. Also, I did notice that I have started to develop wear holes in the heel cup, so I imagine by the end of August that I will be retiring them, and if they begin to bother, it might be sooner. Since these were used shoes, I feel that the mileage on them might have been over the 100-mile mark based on how the heel cup fabric is beginning to break down.

Other Stuff:

I am still disappointed and a little frustrated that I had to cancel my trip/vacation plans, but I also know that it was the correct decision. Canceling the trip was not what I wanted to do, but it was what I had to do. Sometimes the possibilities of what might happen outweighed my wanting to do something. We have been very conservative in what we have done during the Pandemic, and making a choice to get on an airplane, being couped up with that many people for 3-4 hours, on the way out and the way back, just seemed like an unnecessary risk to take at this point and time. 

I will make plans to visit in May 2022, and I am hopeful that the Pandemic will be part of our collective memory by then, and we will be moving on from its after-effects.

Besides, the weather where I was visiting has been in the ‘90s and hitting ‘100s multiple times over the past few weeks. There were no changes in the forecast, so running out there would not have been enjoyable for this old fart from Maine. 

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