Sunday, March 14, 2010

Blustery Daze

Narrator: Now the very blustery night turned into a very rainy night. And Pooh kept his lonely vigil, hour after hour, after hour - until at last, Pooh fell fast asleep - and began to dream.

Middle son was supposed to have early morning soccer on Saturday, he’s fighting a chest cold that’s triggering his asthma when he exerts himself, so no soccer. I’d already sent my regrets to the running group and it seems I wasn’t the only one with conflicts for Saturday morning. For the first time since we’ve been meeting as a group, no one ran from the store on Saturday morning.

I held off going out the door at 8am thinking that the weather might get better. It didn’t. I sprayed some “second skin” over the mega-blister and waited for it to dry. Wet and windy, very windy, I opted for wind pants and gore tex jacket over top of a couple of long sleeve shirts. I decided to take my race flats out for their first outdoor run. Being triathlon shoes, a little water shouldn’t hurt them.

Out the door the wind was at my back for the first mile. Then I turned north for a block, and right turn straight into a 30mph easterly head wind. If the wind wasn’t bad enough the rain stung the face, using the poorest running form I could, I dropped my head and used the brim of my hat to shield my face.

At the 3km mark I could have called it quits and ran back in to my driveway, but I continued on the for the next 2.5 km loop that bring me back past the house. I had a solid stretch with the wind at my back that I used to “recover”. The last mile was going to be back in to the teeth of the wind.

At times it was hard to push the pace beyond 6:30 min/km. It was like running up hill on the flat. The hood on the jacket whipped around all over the place. Overall the shoes felt ok, no pressure on the blister or the heel. They are very light. It seemed like I was pounding the pavement fighting against the wind. I’ll need to work on being a little lighter on my feet if I’m going to race in them. I finished the 8.5km in a less than spectacular 46:18.

Back in the house I showed my wife how cold my hips were even in a heavy wind pant. She understands why I’m having adductor problems not being able to keep any warmth in the muscles.

The wind and rain took out our power for three hours Saturday night and then we lost an hour. Apparently the weather didn’t care. It was still cold and blustery Sunday morning with 19km waiting. The route was the same as the one I bailed out on three weeks ago when the Sartorius first flared up.

I decided to stick with yesterday’s gear but add a layer of polar fleece to see if I could manage to stay a bit warmer. I knew coming back across the soccer fields on the Terry Fox Parkway was going to be the most difficult part of the run.

It was a smaller than normal group. No Marc or Bob. Juliana and I ran with Rebecca for the first couple of kilometres until she dropped back to herd the rest of the group. I opted not to stick to the 10:1 plan. My plan was to plod on at a reasonable pace and drink/eat as required. I need to figure out how to refuel “on the run” if I’m going to race longer distances. My ulterior motive was to try and not seize up the hips during the walking breaks.

The wind was at our back all the way out. Once we got out of downtown and on to the bike path it didn’t take long to warm up. Gloves off, head band off, jacket unzipped, I wasn’t overheating, but I was expending excess heat as best I could. No arguing, I was warm.

Up the hill just past the dam, and turning the corner at Boler and Springbank, midway point, all the way back, wind in your face. My pace fell off from 5:30/km to 6:30 at the soccer fields. Ahead of me by at least 500 meters, Juliana disappeared into the bike tunnel and I never saw her again until back at the store. I was cold. Whatever warmth I generated earlier disappeared.

As tough as I thought the soccer fields were going to be to run past, coming out of the park and up King Street through downtown was the worst. The wind tunnelled around the buildings. I made most of the lights. The blister was just starting to throb, and the adductors tightened, compacting my stride. It was everything I thought it would be. No surprises, I hurt but I finished.

Home to an Epsom salt bath, warmed up, stretched, and popped a couple of Vitamin I.

So much better than three weeks ago.

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