The leaves were falling and swirling in bitingly cold wind as I walked the dogs this morning. November arrived yesterday like a fury so that the gentle temperatures and Carolina blue skies of October seem like a distant memory.
On the first weekend of October we were in Atlanta. It was actually quite cold when I got up that Saturday. I had to wait until 10:00 or so to go out because my asthma is triggered by temps under 55 degrees. My son wanted to go with me and we went to a really nice park near my parents home to run. The park has many trails, but we chose one that circles a small lake. The problem was the wind mixed with the shade. We were freezing. I find it more challenging to breathe air under 60 degrees. It seems like I can’t get enough of it into my lungs. We did the two-mile circuit and headed for the car. I was disappointed because I had to stop to walk a good bit. After we got back to my parent’s house the sun warmed the air and I was able to do three more miles with a lot more consistent running in their neighborhood.
Early in the month I was battling shin splints. I really thought there was something wrong with my shoes. I was quite discouraged but I kept plugging along, trying to walk on the days I didn’t run. On the second Saturday I went for my usual long run, and only managed 4.9 miles in an hour. I have been aiming to maintain a 12:00 pace on my long runs so I was a little disappointed, but figured I’d do better the next week. As the day went on, however, I realized that I had pulled a muscle in my back. It wasn’t terrible, just nagging, and I spent the next two weeks working on it with ice, Bengay and Salonpas. The third Saturday I kept my run in the neighborhood instead of going down to the greenway. It took me sixty-four minutes to reach five miles but my back felt better after that run and continued to improve throughout the week. I ran on the treadmill during the week and started increasing the distance of those runs.
By the last Saturday in October my back was pain-free and I was able to run five miles in just under an hour. I was really happy with achieving this goal because I was so discouraged about the pain I’d been having. I learned some stretches for shin splints and my legs are feeling better and better. I make sure to take plenty of time to warm up and I stretch after my runs religiously.
I’m running every day except Sunday now. Monday, Wednesday, Friday I do around four miles, varying the speed and length of my running segments. Tuesday and Thursdays I do at least two miles. I gave up on the elliptical–too boring! I learned the meaning of “farlek” and I’m incorporating this strategy into my routine. The cold has arrived right along with the end of daylight savings, so I know that things will change. I had to do my long run inside yesterday because of rain and cold. I hope to get outside any time I can this month. I would like to maintain my total mileage around 20 miles per week this month and then maybe build a little next month when I have some time off from work. Over all I’m feeling good though I find I’m only losing about half a pound a week now. I know I’m building muscle so I’m fine with the slow-down in weight loss. Feeling good and having energy is the important thing. I have decided to go for the 10K on the Runway in June. I think reaching for the distance instead of trying to increase my speed on the 5K will do the most for my overall fitness. I will reconsider this when it comes time to sign up and I can see how training is coming. For now, I’m just plodding along. I kind of enjoy plodding.