What’s Not On The Training Schedule

Head Cold, Headache and Head Winds…

…Oh My!

Last week was an interesting and successful one as far as training goes. I am running another half marathon on December 1st in Florida. It’s the Space Coast half (and ful)l marathon. I am excited to do this and am ready for it to be over so I can rest up for a month, enjoy some wintery craft beers and start training in mid January for another half at the end of March. I was fortunate enough to find a training program that is 4 weeks long for running a half after a half. Monday was a rest day & Tuesday I ran 4 miles at lunch. Wednesday I woke up bright and early and was out the door running and completed a 6 mile run. I really enjoyed getting out that early and running. Made me feel great the rest of the day. Thursday I overslept so I ran 4 miles at lunch time. Friday was a rest day but I did kettle bells for an hour so we will consider that cross training.

Saturday was supposed to be an 8 mile run but that didn’t happen. On Friday I started to feel a bit of a sinus / throat thing going on. I loaded up on lots of green vegetables but the inevitable happened. My wife and I had to be up at 6 am on Saturday to set up a booth for her work at a church that was 40 minutes away. Luckily, since I wasn’t needed to speak at this event I was able to hide behind the display case and sleep / read / watch videos on the iPad. I kept telling myself I would run at 3pm when we got home but I just kept feeling worse. As soon as we got home we both got in our PJs and took a nap. My 8 mile run was not going to happen. I would survive this.  Come Monday I will pick up with my schedule and go. But I was forgetting one thing: It was only Saturday.

Sunday I made sure to sleep late. I awoke around 10 am but continued to lay in bed and rest. It was a typical Sunday for me as far as breakfast and TV is concerned. As the hours went on I started to feel a little bit better. It was a strange day weather-wise. The sun would come out between these ominous gray clouds. It was warm out 59 degrees) but the wind was blowing. Without thinking I started to dress for a run. I put on my compression socks first, my shorts and sneakers. Soon, I had the entire outfit on. I had a long sleeved shirt on with a mid sized Phillies hat I got as a game giveaway. I knew if I felt terrible by the time I got to the Art Museum I would turn around. Even that would be a 2.4 mile run which would be better than nothing at all. So off I went, at around 3:00.

I tucked my phone in my pocket and didn’t worry about pace or mileage yet. On the run there I wasn’t sure how I’d fare. I was dreading the idea of doing 8 miles with a stuffed up nose and sinus headache. But I can be tough so I persevered. It seems like in the wink of an eye I was at the Art Museum. I still decided against looking at my phone. “Just keep in the groove”, I told myself. Just before boathouse row I stopped to use the water fountains. It was here that I checked my phone and found out that I was a little over 2 miles. “Awesome!” I thought. If I broke this run down onto quarters I would fare better. “I’m halfway to the point where I would turn around.” So I carried on.

It was a most gorgeous day. If anyone with a camera was filming there it might sell as a tourist commercial to visit Philadelphia. I got lost in my music and for once just turned my head in every direction as I ran. This was the epitome of a fall day; of a perfect fall Sunday. So much so that, once again, Sonic Youth’s song “Sunday came on my headphones and i think I closed my eyes and smiled for a few meters. OK, for a few seconds. I wasn’t struggling. I wasn’t sore. I wasn’t tired. I was having one of the best runs of my life and I had no idea what my pace was and I had some idea of how far I had gone so far.

I looked at my phone: 3.2 miles. I put the phone back in my pocket and continued on. I had an idea that at the next water fountain it would be almost 4 miles. I stopped at the fountain, paused my GPS and grabbed a few sips of water and a nibble of GU. 3.7 miles, my phone reads, so I decided to take a minute break and head back. I loosened up my shoulders, swung my legs around, took another sip and headed back. For most of the way home the sun was to my right and settling. Before I knew it I was at the first water fountain on my way in. I stopped there, checked my mileage once more. I was almost at 6 miles. The next phase was mostly uphill and I remembered some good advice that I read on hills: Push off with the backs of your feet; head up and chest slightly forward, baby steps (smaller stride) and imagine that the road is rising to meet your feet. It worked! I didn’t even slow down. As a matter of fact, at the end of the path there are these 2 separate traffic lights where these two roads meet. I had the green for the first one and 3 seconds left on the 2nd so I sprinted across it. I wish I could hear what anyone was thinking as they saw that.

The 1.3 mile run home was a breeze since it’s a path I am most familiar with. It’s always easier going home,right? By the time I got a block from my apartment I looked at my phone: 7.3 miles. So I pushed on. I could feel I was now racing, not running. This is good! I had saved enough energy to go the distance and finish strong. I ran 3 more blocks then headed back. 7.5 miles. OK, Just run around the block and where we end is where we end. 7.7 was the final mileage count but in my books that’s an 8 mile run. Keeping in mind I had a head cold (headache and head winds) I did really well. Naturally I was a non-stop snot rocket and goober spitter but are any of you judging?

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