Sunday, December 4, 2011

Finally, the end is in sight!

Saturday morning I woke up really early and drove out to Decker Lake. How early? In time to watch the "sunrise"....but due to the rain there was no sun to be seen! Running in the rain never bothers me, I am soaked with sweat after a couple of miles anyway. I know, ewww. TMI. So I threw on my Nike hat (I am a Nike clothes Ho although I have never liked their and a windbreaker. Let's correct that, I TRIED to throw on a windbreaker I had been given years ago. The thing is I never tried it on! Epic Fail does not do it justice. Thankfully although it was a little breezy it was only about 60 degrees. With 100% humidity, I knew it would be a test!

So after waiting for enough daylight to see fairly well, I drove the course for next Sunday's Decker Challenge. I am so glad that I did!! My memory sucks, it has a selection process I will never understand, and I thought all the hills were much bigger than they actually are. Not to say the course is easy, because it's not, the hills come one right after the other. But many are long, gradual rises and matching downhill portions balance some of that out. So that raised my confidence level. The plan after talking to my Doc on Friday was for me to run 4 miles or so Saturday, and before say Thursday run half the distance (13.1) of the Decker race by Weds so we can sort things out pre-race. After thinking this over more (imagine ME thinking too much!) I decided since the calf felt pretty well on Thursday night (a couple miles on the treadmill finally pain free), I would go pretty long. So I started near the start line (it's inside a fenced in property that the gates are locked on) and headed over the first 2.5 miles of the course. 3 pretty good sized rolling hills that I knew would test the calf, and of course those same 3 hills coming back. Total distance I ran was 5.5 miles at a very slow pace! 11:15 - 11:30 with the last .5 miles at 10 min pace just to see how it was feeling. I had a little tightness at about .7-.8 miles which is consistent with most of my runs and made me really nervous. However, I think the slower pace really helped and it stretched out nicely and from there I settled into what was a very, very enjoyable run. I haven't enjoyed any run that much since the IBM 10K. Raising my pace the last .5 miles really helped my confidence too, I was not even breathing hard up and down those hills. At the end, it did not seize up like it did after earlier runs, and I was able to walk with just a little soreness. I went home a very happy camper, with much more confidence that I can run - and finish - this half marathon Sunday. That means so much to me! I did my trigger point stretches and iced the calf a little, and I was doing fine. There was a little soreness, a little tightness, but I expected that. If I can keep working every day, keep my pace really slow at the start of Decker, I have the feeling all will go well.It will take a lot of patience and discipline to run a smart race and finish, but that is what racing is all about.
I felt so good I took Megan shopping, and man did we ever do some walking!! Two malls and about 5 hours later, I was pretty much done! We did go out for a drive to look at some Christmas lights, but a lot of people are not putting theirs up, or just have not done so yet. It was pretty lean. Still, we had a great day together....