Against the Wind

When I was driving back to school Tuesday evening, old Bob Seger came on the radio singing “Against the Wind,” and it was kind of like being trolled by my radio.

This week is a cutback week (my training plan has them every 4 weeks), so the mileage for the week is stepped down a bit. Tuesday I stepped it back even further than the plan recommended.

I felt really tired and crappy, I ate a ton of delicious but heavy Chinese food for lunch, I was having back cramps, and it was cold and windy with some strong gusts. I almost didn’t even run at all. I am pretty impressed I got out there. I made it to the hill where I do my repeats and wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to complete them. My legs were really stiff and tight, probably because of the muscle cramps I was having in my lower back, and I also felt a funny little twinge in the back of my leg during part of my warmup, since I had to sprint across an intersection. It’s this awful 5-way stop where Kenwood, Skyline, and some other roads combine. I wasn’t able to make eye contact with all the drivers and I had to just barrel across and hope everyone was letting me go. I survived, but sprinting like that with the tightness in my legs was a bad idea. The twinge didn’t get worse, but it didn’t entirely disappear, so I was a little nervous about going all out. I felt like I wasn’t turning my legs over at all, but somehow I still managed to hit similar paces to my previous hill workouts, so maybe that was all in my mind. My cramps hadn’t gone away, and I had homework to do, so after my four hill repeats (cutback week!), I headed back home, only completing 2.5 miles instead of the prescribed 4.

Maybe my watch was malfunctioning, because even though I felt sluggish and labored, and even though it took me forever to cross the street on the way back, I still hit an overall pace of 14:41 and a heart rate of 147 bpm. I am pretty sure the heart rate monitor wasn’t picking up my heartbeat correctly, but I don’t know, maybe it was. I did have to stop several times due to traffic and I did jog extremely slowly down the hill to recover after each interval. The pace just seems a little fast for me at that heart rate.

Yesterday I woke up and scraped ice off my car before going to school. I wanted to cry; it’s April, enough of that nonsense. I was tired, as I’d slept poorly, and I had a couple of homework problems left to finish that were due that afternoon. It was not a good morning.

I had planned on sitting out yesterday, not running. I was so tired, mentally and physically, it was cold, and I figured I could just scrap this week. But as I was leaving school, I realized it wasn’t as cold out as it seemed. It wasn’t windy, and it was kind of misty, but not in a chilly way. I didn’t describe that well, but it wasn’t an awful damp feeling. By the time I got home, I was resolved to work out.

I ran 4.3 miles at Hartley and it felt mentally great, although physically it was a little rough. I was tired, as I’ve written several times already, and my right calf felt a little funky. It felt like my lower right leg was shorter than my lower left leg. I don’t know if the muscle just didn’t want to work correctly or what, but it was affecting my gait a bit. It was still muddy, though not quite as bad as it was last time I was there, and I found a couple new short but really enjoyable trails. I ran an overall pace of 17:58, which isn’t groundbreaking or anything, but it’s about 2 minutes faster than my previous (excessively muddy) excursion to Hartley. It was a nice restorative run, mentally, although physically it wasn’t the greatest.

Since I have the 5K on Saturday, I will probably do my speed workout today, do an easy run Friday, race Saturday (well, not probably on that part), and then do my long run on Sunday. I do not plan on making up any of the lost mileage (I am already down 1.2 miles for the week between yesterday and Tuesday), so it’ll be a little more of a cutback week than the plan calls for, but it will also involve an additional day of speedwork (the 5K), so I think it won’t be a big deal to shorten the mileage.

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