Friday, March 19, 2010

Some Days You Have it, Some Days You Don't - plus a running music playlist

Today I had it.

Over the last 4 days, my body and legs have been feeling very fatigued.  I'm smack in the middle of marathon training for the Wisconsin Marathon on May 1st in Kenosha, currently in week 11 of 17 of training.  On top of my general marathon training fatigue and soreness, my Crohn's Disease has also been very active over the last few weeks, causing added overall body fatigue and inflammation (last night both of my elbows were swollen).  I get swelling frequently in my joints as a result of my Crohn's, which makes it tough for me to discern if my knee pain is due to my Crohn's or my running.  It is frustrating, but I learned long ago to accept and deal with it.  Usually, I run through it.  If it truly is an injury, I can tell when I'm running and will stop so I don't get more hurt. If it is my Crohn's, running actually helps to reduce the inflammation.  Listen to my body today so I can run tomorrow.

This morning, I woke up with 2 sore knees before putting my feet on the ground.  As I always, I wasn't sure if it was my Crohn's or an injury.  When I started walking, I felt fine, no knee pain, so I decided to run, promising myself to stop if either knee started hurting (I've also been having some minor pain at the top of my calf behind my left knee, so I was going to stop if this started hurting too).  As I do every morning, I checked the temperature and forecast on my Weather Channel Iphone app.  It was 52 degrees, the warmest it has been in the morning in 2010.  For the first time, I was wearning shorts and a long sleeve shirt instead of my running pants, 2 shirts, jacket, hat and gloves. 

When I arrived at Central Park, I felt great.  I got about 7.5 hours of sleep last night and 8 the night before, and I could tell (usually I sleep about 6 - 6.5 hours per night).  My knees and leg felt fine.  My plan was to run a very easy loop (6 miles), around 9:00 per mile.  I started slow and by the time I checked my watch around the end of mile 1, it read a pace of 8:11 per mile.  Hmmm, I thought, sure doesn't feel like I just ran an 8:11 first mile....that felt really easy (and it was uphill).  There must be something wrong with my watch, I thought.  At this point, absolutely no twinges in my knees or legs.  I was cranking my XM Satellite Portable Radio on "shuffle songs" for a playlist I created over the last few weeks (I prefer this device to my Iphone because I can listen to the satellite radio or songs I put on an 8 GB memory stick - plus, I like the hour a day that I get away from my phone and emails).  I love listening to music when I run, although I'm well aware that many don't (and many runners despise it for a multitude of reasons - like "it's not pure, running is meant to be done without music" or "it's cheating" or "you can't hear what is going on so you could get hit or run over (to me, this make sense, which is why I run in Central Park when there are not cars there, and if there are, I turn it way down)).  I ran track in high school (hurdles) and couldn't listen to music in track meets, and some runners view each race the same way.  I run to have fun, to stay in shape, and for the runners high.  I'm not out to win.  I'm out to have fun and to get better (hopefully).  I love listening to music but many of my friends find it testable and say "I have enough going on in my head, running without music is the only time during the day that I can escape from it".  I understand both sides and don't judge those that run without music.  I hope people won't judge me for listening to it.   The NYC Marathon rules say "The use of headphones is strongly discouraged", but it doesn't prohibit them.  Last year's Milwaukee Marathon disqualifed one of the top 2 women finishers for listening to an ipod from miles 19-21.  As soon as I heard this, I emailed the race director for the Wisconsin Marathon that I am running, fearing that I wouldn't be able to listen to my music.  The race director said "as long as you don't plan on winning, you can wear headphones".  This past week, a friend and fellow runner sent me this article about a guy who got killed by a plane making an emergency landing on a beach - the article says that the jogger was listening to his ipod while jogging on the beach.  I've been told that the Boston Marathon prohibits headphones.  One of my life goals is to qualify for Boston someday.  If I do, I'll have to find some friends to run with.  Otherwise, I will struggle for 26.2 miles without music.

I'll never forget the first time I ran with the Team for Kids running group before my first marathon (NYC 2009, I raised over $5,000 for Team For Kids).  So here I was, a month away from the 2009 NYC marathon, running for the first time with the Team for Kids group, due to run the last 10 miles of the marathon course (plus 6 before, to Queens over the bridge).  To show you what a small world it is, my friend and former colleague from Goldman Sachs BG was there to run also.  BG, a great singer, and I ran the entire run long together, hung out before the marathon in Staten Island (unplanned, we just ran into each other), and he finished 11 seconds ahead of me for the NYC marathon, despite the fact that we were in different corals for the race and didn't see each other then entire race until running into each other after the finish line.   Before the long training run, I noticed that nobody else was wearing headphones.  Then, one of the Team For Kids coaches walked up to me, looked at my heaphones, pointed at them with a look of disgust on his face, and said "I don't like those things".  I said "what, my heaphones?" and he said "yeah, your headphones".  I was aware of the headphones vs no headphones battle that exists out there.  I wanted to say "I don't give a shi*t what you think, go f*ck yourself.  If I want to wear headphones, I'll wear headphones" thinking that I was the one about to run 16 miles, not you, but I decided to smile and say nothing.   Those of you that know me know how hard it was for me to say nothing. 

Sometimes I listen to audio books, and often I run with friends instead of listening to music, as I find it tough to talk while running and also notice that my fitness level always improves if I can run at a good pace and talk while doing it.  Talking while running also helps me on easy days, as I should be able to talk while running.  If I can't talk easily, then I am running too fast and I slow down.  Click here for a link to the playlist of ths songs that I ran to today.  Next time you are at your desk, hit "play all" and listen to the songs while you work (no need to watch the videos).   Random play came up with some great running tunes today.

During mile 2, I continued to feel great and my run felt very easy.  When I looked down at my watch at the end of mile 2, my mile 2 split was 7:41.  Wow, I thought to myself.  I still feel great and it still feels easy.  Mile 3's split was 7:44, followed by 7:46, and 7:36, with my mile 6 split at 7:57 (I slowed down at the end because my right knee was twinging during mile 6), for an overall pace of 7:50 for the 6.12 mile run.  As I was running, I was thinking "what is causing this to feel so easy?"  Am I getting in better shape, so this pace is getting easier for me (I hope)?  Is it because I'm only wearing shorts and a t-shirt (versus the layers I've been wearing all year)?  Is it yesterday's day off, which helped my recovery?  Is it the warmer weather, causing my body to be warm and therefore faster?  Is it the pump up music I listened to today (I have noticed that I am about 30 seconds a mile faster to pump up music versus listening to audio books or no music)?  Was it the foam roller?  Was it the hot baths I've taken all week?  Was it becasue I've iced my knees all week?

I will never know why, but I'm excited that I ran an easy fast sub 8:00 per mile pace and hope I can do it again soon.  Time will tell.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Jim!

    Glad you are feeling good. May 1 will be here before you know it. FYI, I also lke to run with headphones on the rare occasions I am not gabbing with running partners. Sometimes I use my ipod just for the short time it takes to get to the park to meet friends. Whatever it takes to get out the door @ 5:30 AM or keep puttin one foot in front of the other on a long run. Rock on! Heidi C :-)