Sunday, August 20, 2017

No Numbers

I set myself the challenge of writing this running blog post without any numbers. The numbers are meaningless. I don't talk about them because I think they're "good". I tend to obsess over them because that's how my brain works. It's also a good distraction when I'm running, it gives my mind something to do while I pound out the miles. But they're not relevant to anyone else but me.

My knees were a bit sore after last week's long run. But a short run on Tues. went ok, and a longer, harder run on Thur. also went pretty well. Although otherwise I felt recovered and ready to go long again, I had some nagging doubts about my knees.

Was I pushing too hard, ramping up too quickly? Maybe, but on the other hand, carpe diem. Who knows what next month, let alone next year, will bring. As my father always used to say, you tend to regret the things you didn't do, not the things you did. If it was the beginning of the summer I'm might take it a bit more cautiously, but we leave for two months of travel soon.

The first challenge was what to wear. And I'm not talking about fashion :-) it was only 10c but it would be warming up by the time I was done. T-shirt? Long sleeved shirt? Both, so I could take off a layer?  In the end I went with just a t-shirt since the sun was shining. It was a little cool starting out but fine once I got going. Although it clouded up and only warmed to 15c by the time I finished. There were even a few drops of rain which definitely would have cooled things off.

Once again my pace increased over the course of the run. This always seems bizarre to me. I expect to go faster at the beginning than the end. I can see needing to warm up, but it's more than that. I guess it means I could go faster earlier.

It might seem like I'm focused on speed. Honestly, I'd rather concentrate on distance but that seems to be limited by my knees so I work on speed. My knees don't seem to care how fast I go, in fact they seem happier to go fast.

Not knowing how far I'll be able to go on a given run is frustrating, but it's also liberating. I just run and try to listen to my body and separate its grumbling from more serious issues. I usually have some distance in mind but I'm also ready to go longer or shorter depending on how it goes.

I didn't run quite as far as last week due to my left knee, but I was happy to run it faster and with a lower heart rate. The cooler temperatures probably helped, and maybe better hydration. Possibly my body is getting a bit more accustomed to the long runs.

It doesn't seem fair that after two years of struggling with my right knee, and finally getting past that, now my left knee is almost as bad. Of course, no one ever said life is supposed to be fair. And as far as I can tell it gets less fair as you age.

I was tempted to go farther, despite my increasingly painful left knee. I've been reading running books and they're all about running despite the pain. But that's almost always in the context of a race. It might be acceptable for a big race, but it doesn't make much sense to be crippled for a month after a weekly run. As it is, my knee is pretty sore now as I hobble around the house. But if it's anything like my right one it'll recover fairly quickly. However, I'm not sure I agree with Suunto when it says I only need 21 hours to recover from my run. I'm not sure how they calculate that, but it definitely doesn't take into account my knees!

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