Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Almost home

Great workout tonight!

I was really bummed last night after trying to run to the end of my road and back.  It's less than a mile round trip and I was really hurting every step of the way.  The downhill tore me up and I hobbled for the full distance.  The uphill wasn't too bad, but I never felt in synch.  After finishing, I started thinking about Terry Laughlin's "Total Immersion Swimming" philosophy and the process they use to perfect technique.  They don't worry about piling on the laps or miles.  They work on the technique.  Once the technique is right, the speed and miles come with less effort.  This is what I have been attempting to do with my 1 mile runs a couple times each week.  I'm getting stronger and faster, but my stride is still way out of wack.  Only doing a mile helps me concentrate a bit on form, but I needed to break it down further.   I decided to run "sprints" (for me these days this is 7:30 - 8:30 min/mile pace with the afterburners on full throttle) up my driveway a few times, and really focus on my stride.  It seemed to help some as I started to feel more like a runner and less like a gimpy old man.   It gave me a little hope after a lousy run down the road.

Tonight was another story.  After doing a 15 minute warm-up on the bike and doing all my pre-run warm-up exercises and stretches, I gave the dreadmill another shot.  I was determined to take a crack at the 8 minute/mile barrier.  OK, I'm no Roger Bannister, but 8 min/mile is a challenge at this point in my recovery.  I used to think I could run 8 min miles forever.  It was effortless for me and it almost seemed harder to go slower.  I used to run marathons at sub 7 min pace, and it's a daily mental mind game wondering if I can ever get back to that form.  I figured if I could get a couple steps of a good, pain-free stride, I could duplicate it over and over.  If I could do an 8 minute mile with a reasonable stride, there would be hope....I think I can, I think I can...

Once I started the treadmill, I knew I had a shot!  My stride was significantly improved, and I quickly cranked the pace down below 8:30/mile.  To make an 8 minute story very short, I did about a 7:52ish mile and finished the last 200 yards at a 7:35 pace.  Wooohoo!  I am feeling better now!  The nice kicker was that my knee pain was not as bad and the stride felt much improved.  I'm still wobbly, but I'm able to push off more with the left leg.  The stride did get sloppy at times, but I only needed a couple good strides to tell me what is possible....I can do the work to make it repeatable.

After doing my PT, I decided to celebrate and pay homage to Mr.  Laughlin by doing a few laps in the pool.  I tried to focus on my technique and noticed a little improvement.  It was actually enjoyable.  I have a long way to go, but I'll get to that triathlon one of these days.

I know I can, I know I can....

Now, off to finalize plans for the Tetons and Yosemite!  Looking forward to a great trip!