I may have gotten into the Christmas mood but first a recap.
Wednesday after work I had a good 10 mile long run which left me exhausted and drained. I find it interesting how I can run for over an hour and feel wonderful and upon stopping feel like dirt. It is not a bad feeling per se but more of a different feeling. It is a feeling of wanting to crawl into a warm bed and never leave. It is feeling like staying in the shower for an hour away from the world. Physically I felt great on Wednesday. I felt quick and light and had no problem getting my feet off of the ground.
Thursday was a struggle. I had talked myself out of running several times on the bus ride and walk home after work. I ran a few errands and decided to go out for a short run and see how I felt. If I was having fun I would do my workout, if not I would run home and eat supper. Once out on the streets I was excited to be running and I felt great. I finished my warm up and decided to run my tempo as planned. One mile into my tempo I felt a searing pain in my left Achilles/Calcaneal tendon where the tendon begins to attach to the bone. I tried to push through the pain as I was running well and feeling great. Within a few strides I had to stop and hobble. I did a few drills to try and loosen my firing tendon to no avail. I decided to jog home to prevent any further damage. It was a very slow jog home. I have very little residual pain and there is no pain on walking. I think it was a very good decision to cease my effort when I did.
Friday I ran a new personal best! It was the VFAC annual Christmas party preceeded by the first annual VFAC Beer Mile. The beer mile is an event that consists of drinking a can of beer then running a quarter mile repeating this pattern until the mile is completed. I got to the track early to test my Achilles, it felt good. As I was finishing my warm up people started to arrive for the beer mile. I slipped on my spikes, laid out my beer in front of the spotlight and prepared to drink. The key to a beer mile is to be able to drink fast and run fast. If you can do one but not the other then you will have issues trying to finish this race. I am a runner and not much of a drinker so I was hoping to not be last. The gun* went off, the cans were cracked and we were off. As the first drops of beer fizzed into my mouth I cringed at the thought of trying to force 3 more cans of beer into my body. The guys in the club were very quick with the first can and consequently found myself at the back of the pack. I decided I wanted to get through the first 400 in first and then try to hold on to not be last. I ran my heart out that first 400 and it actually felt great, the best I have felt in months. I was able to catch all the guys and was in the lead by the time I was rounding the turn to head into the home straight. I hit the transition zone in the lead.
It was at this moment, when I was gasping for air, when I realized I might have wanted to pace a little better. It was very difficult to drink a can of semi-warm beer while trying to oxygenate my muscles. By the time I was through my second can of beer the majority of the participants had passed me. I ran the rest of the race and almost vomited only once (nobody vomited which is excellent, no penalty laps). The last beer was very hard to drink but I did it. The last lap of the race was about getting to the finish line in a respectable time. I felt a twinge in my Achilles as I was running down the back straight so I backed off a bit. I crossed the finish line elated with a time of 8 minutes. A new personal best! The race was won by Paul who dominated from the second beer. Coming off of an injury this is a great performance and will serve him well as he heads to Sweden in the new year. Maybe he will be able to find a good Swedish beer mile to dominate.
Fifteen minutes later the 4 beer hit me and I was in a happy place. Luckily I was already showered and dressed by that point and was good to go. The Christmas party was wonderful. I was excited to be back with runners after a bit of a vacation from the running world. VFAC is full of great runners who also have a deep understanding of the sport and the place it holds in life. It was refreshing and motivating to sit and chat about running, life, love and more running. After some struggles with motivation this will add to my tool box of memories to get me out the door on those dark rainy days.
The party last night and a box of gifts from my mom have put me a little bit into the Christmas spirit. We are also getting close to the turn around point of the year when the days start getting longer again. As the second part of the long run seems easier once at the turn around I am hoping the days getting longer will give me more energy. I am also happy that I have worked my last full week for a while. I am excited to have a bit of free time to relax, enjoy the mountains, enjoy Vancouver and to run.
Wednesday: 10 miles
Thursday: 3 miles
Friday: 4 miles
Saturday: 5 miles
*There was no gun but I thought it sounded better then ready, steady, go!