Days #10,11,12

That thermometer isn’t in Celsius, it reads 41.7 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature of the ice bath I had to take after I paid the piper with a nine mile (15km) run.

Wednesday and Thursday were both write offs for me time wise. I had an insanely busy day on Wednesday that started early and ended late, and an even busier Thursday. I thought about late night runs in both cases, but I had learned my lesson about trying to run in a snow storm on Tuesday.

Faced with either the concept of having to admit that I failed or running all three training sessions (days 10,11, and 12) at once, I chose to once again go for it. Mind over matter. I ran the full nine miles, and I paid for it.

It started with me forgetting a dog leash, it should have been a sign. Quick trip to Walmart fixed that. Then I set off.

I knew that in order to hit 15km I had to make it 4.65 miles before I turned back. I figured if I made it half way I’d have no choice but to do the other half. My heart rate was good and I was running faster than I did in my six miler earlier in the week. I was pretty optimistic. Until I hit mile three.

At mile three my knees started to hurt. Not crazy painful, but a dull uncomfortable pain. I wasn’t sure what to do. It didn’t seem like they were going to completely give out, and thankfully they didn’t.

At mile six though I had to make a decision. My heart rate was in the low 140’s, about 10 bpm lower than I wanted it to be, likely because I kept convincing myself to slow down just in case. Coincidentally at the time, I was listening to Extreme Ownership by two more Navy SEALs Jocko Willink and Leif Babin – I guess I’m kind of on a SEAL reading binge lately.

My instinct to slow down quickly turned into a realization that in order to make gains I needed to push myself further than I ever had before, and as a result something remarkable happened. As I kick up my speed my heart rate stayed low. It was like my body was adjusting on the fly and my fitness was improving mid run. I ended up finishing nine miles in 11:00/mile when earlier in the week it took me 11:24/mile to finish just six miles. That didn’t mean it didn’t hurt, but I pushed through. Oh, and some 10km portion of the run was my fastest (although only my second ever) 10km every at and one hour and eight minutes.

Almost immediately post run my legs started to lock up. I was walking like a peg legged pirate. Honestly though, the worst pain wasn’t the run or the sore knees after, it was the 10 minute ice bath at 41 degrees. In order to keep on this pace I know that I am going to need to recuperate faster than normal, and being familiar with the affects of ice baths I was able to get my knees working fairly well again. The hardest part was the first three minutes. I was up to my waste in ice cold water wearing two sweaters and biting on my towel to make it to the three minute mark. Once I made it to three the rest was fairly easy even though the water temperature stayed fairly constant. It’s amazing how the body adapts.

All in all I’m pretty happy with the results. A marathon May 28th is looking pretty likely. We’ll see what happens.

Tomorrow will probably be a rest day.

You can see my previous day posts at the links below.