Sunday, July 08, 2007

Saturday in the Park,, something that rhymes with "park"

This week was the first big week of the training cycle. 46 miles and a long run of...17! (gasp!) Would we make all the miles? Would we survive? Oh, I can't stand the suspense.

Well, the first part was easy. We had a 5 mile recovery which we did first thing in the morning after waking up. After a whole bunch of wine the night before and a diet of snacks, snacks, it was a little rough. Leah might suggest I was a tiny bit out of sorts, but that's just her opinion and it's her word against mine so who are you going to believe? But, we made it through the run despite the blistering heat. It was a little bit too quick (under 9:30 miles), but I think we both just wanted to finish.

During the run, we decided to head to the beach as, remarkably, we hadn't been to the beach all summer. There was a little bit of debate as to whether this would be wise as we didn't want to be all sun-baked and dehydrated (it all sounds so lame now that I say it out loud), but in the end we figured a) a couple hours isn't going to hurt anything and b) we can't let running take all the fun out of our summer. So we took the Chicago bus down to the beach and...gah! No swimmers. Yes, the beach was closed due to e-coli.

This was disappointing to say the least. 12th Street beach was apparently open, but then there was a whole deal with figuring out which bus to take and then what if it really wasn't open and blah blah blah. So we walked over near Navy Pier while thinking and, as we did this, we noticed kids playing in a big fountain. So, we sat and watched for a bit and then, well, why not? We set up our sheet and beach stuff in the grass and jumped in the fountain to cool off. It was awesome. After splashing around a bit we lay in the grass for an hour or so reading and then went home. Pretty simple, but very enjoyable. I love the city. The beach was closed so all the kids migrated over to the fountain. And there were no rules or security. No parents screaming at their kids to walk or not get wet. Just kids (and big kids) having fun.

It was Saturday, so of course that meant early to bed so we could get a good nights sleep and be well rested for our big 17 miler. It was a little hard to fall asleep in the heat but we did and then slept through the night like little angels.

Wait, wait no. No, that didn't happen at all. What actually happened is, our downstairs neighbors threw a kegger. So, around 1am there we woke up to an awesome mix of people chatting (and screaming) outside our window and some sort of driving dance beat shaking our floor. Oh god. We closed all the windows except for the bedroom window (it was far too hot to close that one) and that might have helped if not for the fact that the bass vibrating our entire apartment was independent of window aperture. Nope, not a good scene. So, we lay there. I personally sort of half dozed, listening to the party and the music. Apparently we both secretly debated going running at 2am but decided it would be a little weird to join the partyers in our running clothes. Anyway, around 3:30 it all stopped (maybe they got yelled at?) and we were able to get back to sleep...for two more hours.

I can't really complain, though. In 10 months they've had exactly one party. Our old neighbors had a party 3 times a week. Now we just need to ask them to have the next one on a Friday. In noticed later that they had managed to kill two kegs in one night. That is awesome. Maybe next time they'll invite us (and we can tell them "no, we have to run").

So, as a result of Dance Party 2007, we got out the door about a 1/2 hour late. We broke down the 17 miles with an expected 4 miles to the lake, 6.5 miles north, and 6.5 miles back. For those in the know, that would take us up to Lawrence (or thereabouts) and the one mile marker on the path. We'd never been that far north so it was kind of exciting.

I don't think I've mentioned it here, but since the Thursday before last, I've been battling knee pain. I think it's the same problem Rubbish Marathon Runner had and I've been treating it using Biofreeze and Aleve. It wasn't really that big a deal, though, as it only hurt for the first mile or two (and didn't hurt very badly) and then after starting back up after a water break (and then for only about a quarter mile). And I hadn't been treating it much in recent days as I thought it was pretty much better. Yesterday, however, was a whole 'nother story.

My knee started out hurting for the run. Each time I took a stride forward with my left leg, I'd have pain in my knee. I figured it would stop within a mile or so, but I arrive at the lakefront with no improvement. I obviously could run on it, but this was going to be an annoying 17 miles. Awe-some. But, as long as I can run, whatev. That is, until we stopped for Gatorade. Between miles 5-6 we stopped at one of the very nice Fleet Feet Gatorade stands and walked a little bit while we drank our Gatorade. And then we resumed running and...HOLY SHIT. My god did my knee hurt. I had to tell Leah to slow down while I got the knee under control. Not because it felt better to go slow, but because I couldn't maintain my breathing. Yikes. After about a quarter mile it was bearable again and we got up to speed again. It was definitely not good but I could run on it again.

Then we were just cruising out. It was hot, but we were doing okay. I made the mistake of stopping once more at a water fountain after 8.5 miles, but the pain was even more intense. Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on me again. But fool me a third time...not going to fool me again. That's right. I learned after the second awful experience to not stop. So, when we took Gu at mile 10.5, I just sort of ran in little circles around the water an idiot. But, it helped. Yay for learning experiences!

Whew, we had made it to the turn around point. Thank god. It was getting awfully hot at this point and I think we both just wanted to finish. So, we subconsciously picked up the pace a bit and upped it from the 8:50-9:30 minute mile zone to 8:30ish zone. We tried to slow down once we realized this, but the faster pace felt better than the slower pace so we kept going up the quicker pace. Reeeeealy just wanted to finish.

One more Gatorade stop with about 3.5 miles to go and then we were in the home stretch. Unfortunately, the home stretch involved 3 miles with no shade in 80+ degree heat, but it was the home stretch nonetheless. So, we baked and we baked and, 17 miles after we started, we were done. This was most certainly the most exhausted I've been after a run in a long, long time. The combination of heat and distance really took it out of me.

The beach was closed on Saturday, so we went straight to the fountain to cool off was turned off! Booo! We dithered around trying to decide when it would come back on and eventually decided to see if the beach was open today. It was! So we waded into the cold water and had the most refreshing swim ever. Seriously, it is hard to describe how good that water felt after the heat. If only I had a thesaurus. And, as an added bonus, it was cold enough to double at an ice bath.

The run was a little jumpy, but the end pace was 8:55 which is right on target. The graph is below. Note the improvement made by Leah as all the stops are labelled.

All that was left was to bus it on home. Yep, we were the smelly people on the bus yesterday. But hey, if you don't want to be around stinky people, don't ride public transportation.

Alright, so, 46 miles in the books. This week is a blessed fallback week as only have a long run of 12 and two 8 mile midweek runs and 37 total miles. This is very much welcome. After that, it's back up to the big mileage with a 50 mile week.



Happy Monday, everyone.


Scott said...

Hey kids - Nice going on a rough week of running. Jason, take care of that knee!

robert d said...

In truth everyone is rushing to Vote for Bob - The Good Candidate.

Life is good,


Thomas said...

Yeah, it sounds quite like the knee issues I'm having. It's my left knee, and it hurts most just after running.

However, I'm able to run through it, and all the miles I've run since the pain started haven't made it any worse, so I don't think running is causing any further damage.

Keep an eye on it, but don't let it stop you as long as you think you're not causing any additional damage.

Jonathan said...

Eek. Knee pain. Take it easy if you're having problems. It's ok to take a day off you know...

Firefly's Running said...

Um, was Jason writing this or Leah? So confused! Am I the only one to notice?

Ice that knee, Jason - along with Biofreeze and Aleve.

LeahC said...

ooops jason wrote it....i guess he just wants to be me :-)