Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Two Steps Forward

This weekend was the first time that I didn't have a plan that would allow me to get my long run tackled and behind me by lunch. J's schedule was 7-3 both days, which meant he'd be home between 4 and 5. Still daylight enough that I could comfortably be laced up and ready to head up as soon as he got home and make it back after my eight miler without being in total darkness.

I'd briefly considered hitting the road before he left for work, but quickly calculated that I'd have to leave the house by 4:45am to make that happen and my route included rural back roads without streetlights and one very big scaredy cat. I decided to wait until he got home Saturday afternoon.

I awoke Saturday with the beginnings of what felt like was going to be a doozy of a head cold and a stiff neck. I figured the run would just help clear out the old sinuses and just downed an Emergen-C before my first cuppa Joe. I met a friend 'in town' with the boys and went shopping at the mall for the first time since moving to the Wild West. A late-ish lunch and plans to have my friend and her husband drive over from their house about 45 minutes away and I could see my resolve to get that run in after zooming around to pick up and get the kids settled for the afternoon quickly melting away.

When J got home, I casually announced to him that I'd be running the following afternoon. After two, okay three, glasses of wine and a late night the next morning did not exactly bring a rested and recooped Sally. Thus, the day wore on and I was just not feeling it. Sneezing every five seconds, and cringing each time due to neck pain, I did what I haven't done on any training plan to date; I skipped that week's long run.

Fast forward to this afternoon when I was anxiously lacing up and stretching for my run. I had an easy two on the books because it's technically the wind-down week for the 15k plan. My friend and I had agreed we were going to add a couple miles to each of the weekday runs in order to stay on track with where we'll be next week on our first official week of the FIRST training plan. Earlier in the day, I had asked J if he could feel anything in my neck because I have never had stiffness that lasted more than a day, two at the most and this had been nagging me since Friday. As he made his way down the nape of my neck his knuckle hit a spot on the inside of my shoulder blade and I yelped in pain, but then begged for him to make it hurt so good. Sure enough, after about five minutes I felt significantly better. 

I left the house, telling myself I just had to run two miles. By the time I hit .5 things were starting to fall into place and my pace was relatively normal. I was seriously nervous that skipping that run was going to throw me off and I'd be back to square one. I was kind of glad I hadn't mapped out a longer route because it was really empowering tonight to take turn after turn that led me further and further from home instead of turning back, with Pam letting me know I was kicking her booty all the while. (I'm terrified to make my virtual training partner's pace faster, but after beating it consistently, methinks it's time...)

When I hit the corner of our neighborhood I was at exactly four miles and I had averaged 12:24 minute miles. I am not going to dwell on that missed run; I'm not sure if I felt great tonight because I gave the body the rest it needed (that's what I'll stick with) or if I would have been just fine either way (that's what I'm pretty sure of), but I've got my eyes on the prize and know that the way I felt on Saturday afternoon, all day Sunday and again on Monday after missing the run isn't a feeling I want to repeat anytime soon.

(Running Fueled by Fine Wine Half-Marathon in Dundee, OR this summer)
So, here's to planning your work and working your plan, so you don't have to be afraid of things that go bonk in the middle of the race.


  1. Hey Sara! I know it is hard to let go of a missed workout but it is also wise to listen to your body ad rest if needed. Sounds like you had a great run today! I've been interested in the FIRST program and based my 25k plan on the FIRST plan. I look forward to hearing about how it works for you. I have read good things about it but I do not know anyone personally who has used that program. Keep up the hard work!

  2. Thanks, Maggie! Sarah was also reassuring...I don't know what I would have done without you guys' constant encouragement! I'm so excited for you, and to hear how your 25k goes. Hope your calf is feeling better!