I managed to do three stiff runs this week in order to try to figure out what I should do for the Fourth of July 10k. I basically have three options:
(a) run the full 10k
(b) downgrade to the 5k (I have to decide this before Tuesday)
(c) don’t run
I’m going in for an x-ray today, so if the doctor says no running, I guess that’s my only option, but I honestly don’t think I have a stress fracture. No matter what I decide, I will probably not be doing a lot of running over the month of July and opt for physical therapy instead so I can make sure these injuries don’t occur again. So part of me just wants to suck it up and with my last hoorah, go ahead and run the thing.
I waited until Wednesday to first test my legs. This means it had been a little over a week since my last (terrible) run. I got up bright and early (hi, 5am!) to avoid the heat. However, the 90% humidity meant it really didn’t make that much of a difference. My goal was to just do a very easy mile, with a planned one minute walk break at the halfway point. This is exactly what I did, and it wasn’t terrible. I could definitely feel my injuries, but I wasn’t limping along or shuffling like my last run.
I was a little sore the next day, but it wasn’t too bad, so on Friday morning, I did two miles. This was a little tougher. I took walk breaks whenever I felt like I needed them, so I was probably doing about a 1:1 run to walk ratio. A woman who looked to be in her 80s was running in the opposite direction as me around the neighborhood and much faster. I hope I can still do this when I’m 80. However, on this morning, my legs just felt dead. Like I was just dragging them along. Still actually running, though, and not shuffling.
With a rest day on Saturday, Sunday’s four mile planned run was the true test. The 10k has a time limit of an hour and a half. That means the absolute slowest I could run/walk it would be a 14:50/mile. Sounds slow, but it’s about what I had averaged on Friday. I definitely wouldn’t want to do the full 10k if I didn’t think I could even finish it within the time limit. My last 10k distance I had averaged 12:31/mile, so I knew it was possible, since that was just two weeks earlier and I had been injured then as well. So my four mile run goal was to see if I could endure that distance for less than a 14 min/mile.
I started out stiff, just like my last few runs. The first two miles were slow, but I did manage to keep them under 14 min/mile. After about 2.5 miles, however, I got into my normal rhythm and started to speed up. The last mile and a half were done at my “usual” pace of about 11:30/mile. Yay! I’m guessing the sub-70 degree morning temperature had something to do with my speed. And, guess what? My calf and my hip didn’t hurt the entire run! After I finished, I enjoyed a glass of chocolate milk to celebrate and then waited to see if any pain would settle in. It didn’t.
With the success of Sunday’s run, I’m leaning toward doing the full 10k. I could have gone for another two miles, no problem. We will see what the doctor says, but at the moment, I plan to go for it!