Saturday, 5 April 2014

No good run goes unpunished

I had been waiting for this day for weeks. Some of my club mates wanted to extend the usual Saturday run into a three-hour session in preparation for a marathon they're running in May and asked me if I wanted to join them. Of course I did! Problem was, I have been putting in two quality sessions per week in addition to my long runs lately, which have been getting longer and longer. Now, I'm not an expert, but something tells me that increasing your speed and your weekly mileage is a recipe for disaster.

Cue my worries earlier this week.

Despite my legs itching to go for a longer run, I decided to keep a cool head and wait until this morning to see how my body felt. I had taken a couple of days off from training to let my legs recuperate but I had a thigh muscle that was tight and a moody respiratory system that didn't want to get out of bed in the mornings.

I woke up with a partially blocked nose. I rolled carefully to my side and looked at the clock. I found my pulse and started counting heartbeats. I counted a second time just to make sure. I was not liking the results so much, so I counted a third time and got a slightly better result. Five heartbeats over my normal fifty beats per minute. Not completely ok, but acceptable. There was probably an infection in my body but hopefully not a serious one. I would run up to our meeting place with AIK and see how my thigh felt.

My thigh still felt tight but it didn't hurt. The overall feeling in my body was great, better than it had been in weeks. The infection signals faded away the closer I got to my destination and soon disappeared completely.

We ran westwards and into the headwind that rushed to meet us. Time flew as we talked about upcoming races, injuries, shoes. Some 15 kilometres later we were back where we had started. My club mates asked me if I was going to join them in the extended run after all. Of course I was!

With the wind now on our backs, we ran eastwards. I sent an sms to J warning him that he might have to come and pick me up in the car, but then I did some calculations in my head and decided to turn back after 24 km to save him the trouble. Running home after that would bring me to an even 30 km, my dream goal this day. It's been over six months since I last ran that far.

What I had forgotten was that the way back meant a strong headwind. I almost had to lean into the wind to be able to move forward and my thigh started sending me ransom letters claiming it had taken my knee hostage. I tried running faster, lifting my knees more, anything to give my tired muscles a break. It seemed to pacify my disgruntled thigh.

I was surprisingly fresh when I got home, except for some light-headedness that I attributed to the wind. No good run goes unpunished, of course. So I am expecting I will be bedridden with a fever all day tomorrow.