I honestly thought by now, 7 weeks since the Portland Marathon, that the aches and pains that had plagued me through the weeks of training would have gone away. But they still linger.
Except, never in the same area. One day my right glute will hurt. Then the next day it will feel fine and my lower left leg will hurt. Then the day after that it moves to my right calf. You get the idea, never the same.
I’ve had endless massages, had 2 gait analysis (I don’t think I ever blogged about those experiences, note to self – will do soon), see my chiro every 6 weeks, but since its not consistent, it kinda just puzzles everyone.
Every time I head out for a run, I never quite know what to expect. Some days I’ll know within a few steps how it will go. On those days, the run usually doesn’t happen, or is cut very short. But on other days, it goes pretty well. I had both experiences this weekend.
I hate a love/hate relationship with the treadmill.
Mostly I hate it, but there are those few instances when I can have a really good run on it. Such was the case with my run last Wednesday. It went really, really well, and the best part was afterwards, I had zero soreness, something I hadn’t had in ages.
So I was fooled into running again on it on Saturday. Sure I had 8 miles scheduled, which is a really long time to be on a treadmill. In fact, its beyond the maximum time that my gym allows you to be on the treadmill, so I would have had to run 1 hour, then reset it again. But the enticement of a non-sore run completely drew me in.
The nice thing about running on a treadmill is that you can do it at any time of the day. I lounged around the house all Saturday morning, finally making my way to the gym around Noon. I lasted a measly 2 miles on the treadmill. That’s it. I just couldn’t do it. My right calf felt funky and I just didn’t feel comfortable on it. So I moved on and spent an hour on the elliptical. I almost died of boredom.
Determined to get in the 8 miles, I woke up on Sunday with a plan. My regularly marina loop around the lagoon in my neighborhood just wasn’t going to cut it. I needed a change of scenery so I headed out to Sawyer’s Camp.
Sawyer’s Camp is a 6-mile path along the Crystal Springs reservoir. It’s about a 20-minute drive from my house. It’s a popular running, biking, walking trail that’s marked every half-mile. I’ve been running it for years and had gotten really tired of it; I felt like I knew every nook and cranny of it.
But it’d been months since I’d been there. This morning had the perfect conditions. It wasn’t too crowded and it was nice and cold. But not too cold. It was the kind of day where it was cold in the shade, but warm in the sun.
The first 4 miles wasn’t that great. Although the trail’s path is paved, the sides are dirt and gravel, a little softer terrain.
I split my time between both, trying to find my comfort zone. A kept taking inventory of my body, paranoid of what would be hurting. At one point I convinced myself that I had shin splints, but when I stopped to feel them, they weren’t sore at all. Other than a little tightness in my right calf, I was feeling fine.
When I turned around at the halfway point, I found myself behind a guy who was running in gladiator sandals. I’m not kidding. I know a lot of people are into barefoot running, but I had never seen anyone run in gladiator sandals. It bothered me. I could only imagine the pain his feet was, or would be feeling. So I hurried to pass him and never looked back.
I found that comfortable rhythm. Ironically, it was between Miles 4-5 that there was a slight but long hill climb. And I didn’t even feel it. I actually think that little incline is like magic for me. I get an extra surge of energy EVERY TIME I run it.
For the rest of the miles I just enjoyed my music and scenery. I tried looking for the deer that frequently roam the area, but didn’t see any today.
Soon I realized I only had a mile left so I glanced down at my Garmin and saw that I was going faster than the first half, even though it felt like I was exerting less energy. I love it when that happens. By the time I finished, I felt like it ended too soon. I wasn’t tired, nor was I hungry and I felt like I could’ve run more.
I walked over to a bench to stretch and saw that someone had decorated the tree above it. It made me smile. ☺
My most favorite part of running at Sawyer’s is lying on a bench after the run and just letting myself soak in the sun. It’s the best feeling in the world. I lay there for a while relishing in the good post-run feeling.
There have been a lot of times over the past few months where I’ve wondered if I was meant to do this. My head and heart wants to, but the body has been stubborn. But runs like today remind me why I enjoy it so much.