August 15, 2009

Shin splints, heat, and exhaustion

Watching track and field on NBC right now. Will take a nap soon. Will write about the run later tonight.


OK. I did many things wrong today, including getting up too late and forgetting to take Tylenol and salt tablets. I had three major barriers on this run: shin splints in the first four miles, the climbing heat in the last eight, and just exhaustion (probably salt depletion mostly) in the last three. In short, this run sucked. The graph is off, too, because for whatever reason, it stopped plotting when I stopped to chat to a guy on the big hill. While I have adjusted the route to show the right path and distance, the pace splits are pretty far off after mile 8.

Several things of note.

First, I'm having trouble keeping my eye on the prize. I kept wondering today why I'm doing this? I'm certainly running more than enough to boost my health and am now in the range of getting injured. The aches and pains I experienced throughout the run speak to that.

Second, running without a shirt is glorious, but probably insanely stupid, if the definition of insane is "doing something over and over and expecting different results. I could feel myself beginning to crisp in the last couple miles. I don't think I got too badly burned (thanks to the tan I've built up), but shit...this is just dumb.

Third, the run was fairly uneventful for the first loop (I ran to the park and did three loops, then ran down 9th street to the 4th ave subway station for a total of 12 miles. 13 was on the menu, but that seemed like pushing it after only 10 last week). On my second trip down the slope, on the south side of the park, I was passed by some bicyclist in an orange jersey who was leading three others in a training ride. He was quite vocal and was yelling - YELLING - at pedestrians to watch out, get out of the way, etc. While the family he was yelling at was admittedly taking their sweet goddamn time crossing the road and were certainly not watching out for traffic, the bicyclist went way overboard. We all have to share the park and his behaviour was simply out of line. I've encountered a-holes like him before and have an overwhelming desire to jam sticks in their spokes. I mean, I've had my share of problems from people not watching where they're walking, squirrely kids who can't control their bicycles, etc; but I realize that we all have to adjust to each other.

So I found some cops. I talked to them and asked them to have a word with the bicyclist about his behaviour if they see him (and how could they not with his bright orange jersey?)

Not too much later, I completely forgot about the asshole on wheels (the bicyclist, not the cop), as I encountered some people under a tree at the foot of the big hill, staring up into the branches. I'm glad I slowed to look - there was a red-tailed hawk! And in another tree a few feet away was another one, whom I presume was his mate. Now, I grew up in the country and have seen plenty of hawks, but they're pretty scarce in NYC - and to see them closeup was a real treat. Just like that, my run went from bad, to not-so-bad.

On my third loop, I realized I kept passing all these people in light blue shirts and with light blue backpacks. It was either a cult, or a walk for something, so I stopped a couple and asked. Turns out it was a walk for diabetes, sponsored by these people's clinic, I think. The walkers were almost all African-American, but not all of them patients - lots of family. It was great to see the FAMILY SUPPORT. The guy I talked to was diagnosed not too long ago and admitted he spent the first six months in complete denial, but had recently decided to get control of his disease and was feeling much better. He admired me for being young and slim; I didn't tell him that was a product of my CF, for the most part. It was a nice chat.

I wrapped up the run by changing my planned route. I'd meant to quit at Pritchard Square, thus completing 11.7 miles for the day, but at the last minute decided to exit at 9th street and use the five blocks of downhill as an easy way to tack on an extra half mile. So, 12.2 miles for the day. Not bad, but it completely wiped me out. I did all the right post-run stuff, but have a feeling tomorrow I will be in pain. Check out the badges of honor:

Those white specks above and below my eye are salt crystals.

The thin, grit line. Tan and dirt above, pale white skin below.

I'm supposed to get up early and go take pictures of NYC Half, but I'm kinda debating it. I do want to meet this guy Nate and his wife who will be handing out Team Boomer flyers at the end of the race. This promises to be hot work without shade, so I better dress appropriately.

In other news, Radcliffe, Ndereba, and Kastor will be battling it out for the women's race, while my favorite Ryan Hall competes in the men's. I don't think he'll be able to break his record (the US half-marathon record), but he might get close. It's just too hot to break records. If I'm really lucky, I'll get a picture of him!

Also, I note that tracking for NYC Marathon will be D-tags this year. Aww.... and I so loved keeping my chip last year. Guess I'm glad I did the race last year, if there aren't going to be anymore souvenir chips!

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