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Loosening up

Thursday, 30 May 2013

My right Achilles was sore from the moment I got up.  I hobbled around trying not to stress it while I got ready for the regular 6:00am Thursday track training session that I supervise at Terrigal Haven.  I use the word “supervise” somewhat loosely, because the sessions, which are attended by about ten of my Terrigal Trotters’ friends, would happen whether I was there or not.  I do map out a program tailored towards peaking for several major marathons, and I think everybody is happy to have someone else tell them what to do.  The sessions last about an hour and I don’t do much more than spell out what the session entails and offer encouragement and sometimes advice on injuries or to novices.  I enjoy the camaraderie and try to keep walking around to loosen up for my own run, which will follow.

Terrigal Haven, where the Thursday morning track
sessions occur.
The runners prefer to do the sessions on the grass rugby oval, even though it is very dark to start in winter, and some wear headlamps.  This morning, in addition to the marker cones I traditionally use to define the lap, I brought along some cheap LED lights ($1 per unit) I had purchased on eBay and put them out with the cones.  It worked well, I think.

The walking around while the runners ran their laps loosened my Achilles and when the session was over, I was ready to run.  After the runners left, I stripped off at my car and set off to run a 22.5km circuit as my day’s training.  My quads felt very tight and heavy right from the start and I resigned myself to a laborious two hours of running.  I tried not to push at all and, early on, worried about a few niggles, especially in my left hip that had been the site of some problems in the last two years.  My chronic right knee injury hurt, but I expected that and knew it would cope.  Thankfully, the shooting pain I briefly experienced climbing the stairs soon after rising this morning did not return.  So many things that can go wrong with a runner’s body, that I often wonder how (and why) we keep going.

I plodded along, negotiating the substantial hills en route, and just tried to ignore the muscle fatigue and stiffness.  It’s all about risk management, really.  It did feel risky setting out on a two-hour run when my muscles were so fatigued.  However, it is also true that just five days ago I had hiked nearly 50km in a day carrying a 20kg pack at the end of many days’ of hiking.  It seems reasonable, that so long as I run slowly, I should be able to manage 22km.

I finished in 2:06, which though slow, was faster than I had expected or felt like I was running.  I savoured my warm-down 15 minute walk around the perimeter of The Haven in the warming sunshine.  Injuries often show up one or two days later, so I can’t be sure whether my decision to run was wise.  For the moment, I’m still on track.