Long, hard run today. The rain from yesterday slacked off to a mist. My game plan was to run 8 laps of the reservoir, making 12.8 miles. As I got to Central Park, I thought maybe I'll just do four, then do a loop of the park. Funny how the first game plan has a way of winning out.
It was cold today; I dressed in two sets of running clothes, the summer stuff underneath the running pants and long-sleeve T. I used the first lap as a warmup and stretched out for several minutes afterwards. Then I took the pants off. The cool air hitting my legs was quite a shock. But I was pretty warm so that was ok. Second lap, I did a little more stretching, not yet having achieved that loose easiness I felt Friday. Took off my long-sleeve T; kept the baseball cap on.
Third and fourth laps grew progressively more difficult. I was pausing after ever lap for a drink of HEED and I wonder if that pause was actually contributing to the growing tightness and soreness in my hamstrings. My IT band wasn't bothering me much, or anything else. Just the hamstrings. I stretched out quite well after the fourth lap, but it just didn't help much. This is familiar territory: I'd felt just like this after the 19th mile of the Flying Pig Marathon. Had today been a marathon, and with such tightness and tenderness so early on, I would have DNFed.
As it is, my pace sufferd a bit. I had been running at a steady half-marathon pace, perhaps a little slower, most of the time. The fifth and sixth laps saw the mist stop and my spirits lift, partly because I was past the halfway point. But I was also contemplating finishing six and calling it a day.
I pressed on.
Seventh lap was downright painful and after very quickly sucking down some more fluid and starting the eighth lap, it quickly became apparent that on this last lap, if I slowed to a walk at all, I wouldn't be able to finish the lap running. I carried through and am much pleased I ran the whole 12.8.
However, this does not bode well for the half marathon next weekend. I am hoping my distress today was partly the weather, partly the flat, dirt course (which I am unused to), and partly the new orthotics. I hope by the time next weekend rolls around, things will feel better.
I did get a new foam roller and hit it hard both before and after the run; my legs feel pretty good right now. I need to keep on it this next week, as well as my TKEs and such. I'm hoping that Staten Island will have at least a few hills, as the hills give different muscles a chance to do the work and give others a chance to rest, much better than all flat.
I am thankful that my problem was NOT runner's knee! Also, many thanks for all the responses I've been getting lately; it's nice to know you guys are rooting for me.