What was I thinking?
I was very nervous to hit the trails and Seawall today for my last long tempo before the Scotia Bank Half Marathon. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I have been having foot pain since two weeks before SunRun. Over the last two weeks this foot pain has pretty much disappeared, much to my relief. After my runs this weekend the foot pain has been replaced with something much more scary, knee pain.
Yesterday I woke up with the usual stiff joints (etc.) with one marked difference, on my way to the bathroom my knee shot a good dose of pain up my leg. The shooting pain occurred when my leg was fully extended and troubled me on and off for the duration of the day. During my massage my therapist was very surprised by the condition of my legs and put me through some agony working on my piriformis. The rest of the evening was good and I took the day off from running to allow my body to repair itself. Today I woke up with the same pain and again was tormented throughout the whole day. On my ride home from work my knee shot a little bit of pain every time I pushed hard on my pedal while cycling. I was not hopeful for a full tempo, or even a run, on my way up the elevator after arriving home after work. I had a quick snack, put on my favorite Fast Twitch Flats (no I am not sponsored, I just really like these shoes, but if anyone knows of a Saucony rep who is looking for a runner, I am their man) and convinced myself to just try a warm up and go from there.
The two mile warm up was good, no pain. I decided to complete a few laps of the trails of Stanley for the first part of my tempo staying on the main trails to avoid any missteps and potential hyper extension of my tender leg. The pace felt good though my legs felt heavy and a bit tired. Once I remembered my races on the weekend my mind was at ease and I concentrated on relaxing into my stride and trying to find my tempo pace. The first 15 minutes seemed to take forever to go by as I was merely doing circles of the same loop. At this point I felt that if my knee gave out then at least I had a bit of a workout and all was not lost so I got a little adventurous and decided to climb some hills and have some fun in the trails. By the time I hit the Seawall for the last 20 minutes I was in full stride and mentally on another planet. I was imagining running sub 1:10, I was thinking about relaxing, I was thinking about pizza and caramelized onions, and I was thinking about running 'fast not hard'. Before I knew it I was into my last 5 minutes of tempo and circling second beach pool. I finished up at third beach with a huge sigh of relief, I finished my tempo, all 50 minutes, with no pain!
I walked up the stairs at Third Beach for a quick drink of water then started a slow jog home to cool down. This is usually the hardest part of my run as running slow after a hard effort always hurts my knees, until I can get a good stride going. Today there was no discomfort or stiffness in any of my joints. I was very happy, relieved and surprised to be pain free for my whole workout (with the exception of a few wonky steps). After arriving home I iced my legs as usual to ensure they stay pain free!
I am into taper mode, kind of. I have altered my training plan because of the pain I have been experiencing. Although I would love to have one more long run in the books it was nice to have a Monday with energy and without some of the side effects that long runs have. I must admit, I am getting excited to have a bit of time away from training and racing after the half marathon. I have had a busy last 5 months and my body is telling me to take it easy, go to the beach and have a few drinkies. After looking at my photo from the race Friday night I think I should also have a few more pastries. I have confidence in my skinny little body but I might be getting a bit too lean, even for my liking (I can't seem to make up my mind if I like it or not, give me 5 minutes and I will change my mind again...).