The theme song for this week? Ice Ice Baby.
Why? Well, I’ve been having some odd pangs in my left quad and hip, which I thought might be some old hip issues coming back to haunt me.
But between Advil, ice and lots of stretching, I think I’ve got it under control – plus, the good news is that it seems like just tight hip flexors, which I can manage with the help of foam rolling, yoga and…you guessed it: more stretching!
Needless to say, I proceeded with caution this week, especially after reading a great quote in Runner’s World about it being “better to get to race day 90 percent prepared rather than 50 percent injured.”
It’s always tough to walk that fine line in training; you’re constantly trying to find a balance between pushing enough to get better and holding back enough to stay well.
So, with that in mind, here’s what was on the schedule for week nine:
- Tempo run – 3 mi
- Track workout – 12 x 400s
- Long run – 18 mi
After a conservative three-miler and a lap workout in the pool early in the week, I felt good enough to push the pace in Thursday’s track workout past the targeted 1:50-1:52 to a range of 1:44-1:48.
The reward was Friday’s dinner out. It’s uncharacteristically quiet in the city with the Bay Bridge closed, so we took advantage of the lack of congestion to hit up on of the best burger spots on the West Coast, In-N-Out.
Saturday’s 18-miler was still staring me down, though. Ben and I got an early start, which meant catching a pretty sunrise through the foggy haze.
The Marina was very calm; aside from a few other runners, the only real action was this bird taking a dip alongside a sea lion out for his early-morning swim, most likely trolling for breakfast.
By the time we made it to the bay Bridge, the fog started to lift, like a thick blanket rolling back, to reveal the sun behind it.
At this point I was feeling really strong – hips good to go, legs fresh and lungs not winded – but didn’t want to jinx myself because I still had about 13 miles to go.
As we cut across the city on Market Street, the city began to wake up…particularly the homeless population, some of whom enjoy entertaining themselves by trying to provoke runners.
But, as we found out, they have a pretty good sense of humor, if you play along. Case in point: Ben’s conversation with one gentleman who was enjoying his breakfast beer and, er, joint on the sidewalk:
Guy (at the top of his lungs): Hey! What are you running from?
Guy (laughing): Good answer, man! Good answer.
After we finished eight miles, Ben headed home, and I met up with my new Saturday morning run group to knock out the final 10. (I have to admit, though, part of me was hoping no one else would show up because I was super nervous about attempting what would be the longest distance since my last marathon!)
It ended up being only three of us (the two Caseys and me), which was perfect, and those 10 miles through Golden Gate Park went surprisingly well. I was bracing for the worst (gels, water, chews, eyes looking out for a port-o-pottie), and although I wavered a bit around mile 14 (note to self for the actual race), I never hit the wall.
It could have been the awesome company, the 10-minute run/1-minute walk technique, or maybe I’m just making it over the hump with training…but either way, it just goes to show you that any run – even crazy-long ones – can end up being a pleasant surprise, so that alone is more incentive to get out there.
Oh, and the best part (besides the ritual post-run coffee)? Catching a sidewalk concert on the way home. What a lovely way to start the long weekend.
Here’s hoping you had a great holiday, and thanks for following along as we head into the double digits – week 10 of training!