Seven miles! Seven miles!! I can't quite believe I accomplished that today. Sure, I did six last week, but somehow seven seems like a much bigger number. But it's what I needed to accomplish, especially since I hadn't run for the last two days, and I went out and did it. Up the hill, then two loops in Prospect Park. Total distance is closer to 7.4 miles.
And it was cold. It was 28 degrees by my backyard thermometer when I left the house and all the little puddles were frozen. This is definitely the coldest I've run in yet; and though very cold air gets hard to breathe, it was OK. I'll take this over anything above 60!
As usual, the first three miles were more difficult than the rest, though not terribly harsh this time. I paused on my way up the hill towards the park to stretch again, knowing I needed to be really loose to pull off this run. And at about the beginning of mile three, I began to get pain in my inner left leg, below the knee. I haven't felt that before. I paused again, and stretched out that muscle or ligament or whatever it is, then got going. And I didn't stop again 'til cooldown and post-run stretching.
I discovered that downhills are really easy, and my pace goes up, but parts of my feet don't like going downhill. Uphills are more of a workout, but I get that "little engine that could" attitude going and up up up I go. My feet like the uphill, even if my lungs don't. Sometimes I have to slow my pace; sometimes I don't. Flats are the worst, particularly after a downhill. I wave of tiredness comes over me and I really have to push through that. After another couple of minutes, it gets better.
The second loop of the park was easier than the first loop. No pain -- hell, my feet and legs were doing all the work! I didn't feel like I had to do anything but keep breathing and go along for the ride. My pace was steadier, too.
It was interesting to see the look on the woman's face (she was pushing a carriage) when I went running by her for the fourth time! I generally ignore the other people in the park, but its hard not to notice people when you keep passing them. Unfortunately, there were also some under-utilized punks hanging out in the park -- at one time right in the middle of the running path, just standing there smoking. Everyone had to go around THEM. Arrogant little bastards; make me see red. But I try to clear my head of that once I'm past; it doesn't matter.
I am very tired, but the post-run stretching and the hot shower have helped me avoid any real aches. I may head to be early tonight and get a full eight hours of sleep.