After last weeks Wibbly-Wobbly run where absolutely nothing went right, I came away with a very slight discomfort in my right knee. Perhaps the word discomfort is a little strong, as it wasn’t a sensation of pain, per say, nor was it pressure or tightness. It was just something that should not be there. With plenty of time left on the countdown clock to the Space Coast half marathon, I auto-prescribed some precautionary time off from running to give it some rest.
I filled the void with plenty of impact free cycling, and although some of the rides were of the hammer-fest variety, my knee felt absolutely normal. With an entire week off from running, that “something” in my knee was completely gone, so it was time to lace up and put it to the test with a 5k run.
We elected to forgo running in the wee hours of the morning, since the lovely, cool, early morning temperatures of spring had ceded to the classic Florida heat, not to mention that that extra hour or so of sleep was very welcomed. We hit the tarmac at 8:30 under cloudy skys…no direct sun beating us up, but it was hot and very humid. Being anxious to resume running, I started off too fast, clocking in a sub 9 minute pace at the first quarter mile.
Knowing I’d burn myself out in the heat at that pace, I made a conscious effort to slow myself down. A quarter mile later I was running at a 9:08 pace…so much for slowing myself down. The pace just felt good, so I went with it. By the time I hit the first mile, I was completely soaked through and still running faster than I should have, especially after taking a week off. When I reached the turn around point, I knew that I had gassed myself.
Soaked and breathing way too hard, I stopped running, switching to a brisk walk for a few paces. My legs, and more importantly my knee was fine, it was the heat and humidity that was getting the better of me. I set my pace to 10 minutes as I passed Maggie. She also looked to be struggling a bit so I began to “orbit” her…where I’d run past for about a quarter mile and then run back to her, rinse and repeat, until the run’s end. It helped her quite a bit, but didn’t do much for me as I would often just walk back to her.
As I struggled through the rest of the run, I realized that running shares one of cycling’s darkest sides…cycling is a very jealous mistress which demands all of your time, if you do not oblige, she becomes very unforgiving and makes you suffer…I can now say that running is a very close second in cruelty. That week off felt more like a month off by the second mile. Sure the heat and humidity had something to do with it, but bottom line is I simply had become unaccustomed to running. I’m sure things will get better with each successive run, that is once I acclimate to the sweat-fest, but I did learn an important lesson about pacing myself correctly and respecting the dark side of running…moderation is key…and to think, we originally had planned on running 5 miles today!
Running 10K Plan
Run Time: 40:45
Stopped Time: 2:43
Distance: 3.68 miles
Average: 11:03 /mile
Fastest Pace: 9:01 /mile
5k Run This Month: 25.51 miles
5k Run This Year: 101.92 miles