Wow! I was pleasantly surprised today. Goat and I ran our old loop at the West Hartford Reservoir. It may not sound like much, but it was my first time on the course in about a year. It used to be an 8 mile jaunt, but we stretched it to 9+ when the MDC moved the parking lot. We did not have plans to go that far. In fact, I told him I could probably do 4-5 miles depending on the speed and terrain. Indeed, I was pleasantly surprised!
Goat ran 16 miles with Bruce Giguere yesterday, so he was OK going easy with me today. Once upon a time it was the other way around, but I'm happy to be out there either way. Goat and Bruce are training for the Stonecat 50 miler, so they need to get in the miles. We started off around a 9 minute pace which is reasonable on these trails . We chatted away like we always had on these runs. At one point, I noticed the old single track along the power lines was now double track wide as they added gravel to the section. I said, "Wow, this is new!" and Goat said, "It's been there all year." Oh, I guess it has been awhile!
Last night Jessica, a Vet, yoga instructor, and all around cool person, checked out my legs and hips. She said my hips are perfectly aligned, but my left leg is definitely shorter (as we have known). I asked her how much and she said, "Less than a half inch". What?! Holy batdung, Batman! I'm thinkin' 1/8" inch, not 1/2"! After some further evaluation, it seems like it is 1/4"-3/8" which is still way more than I had hoped. The engineer in me knew it was in that range based on the X-rays and CATSCAN, but the other part of me was still in denial. I was thinking that maybe all the PT and running convinced my bones to grow back a bit. Bummer! Nevertheless, it confirmed that I am better off running with a shim to keep good alignment of my hips and take some pressure off my back. Thanks Jess for checking it out.
Anyway, at the 3.3 mile mark, we needed to decide whether to head back or go all the way out to Rt. 44. I knew it would be at least 8 miles if we kept going. Hmmm. When I set "Reach the Beach" as a goal many months ago, I had it in my mind that it would be good to be capable of an 8 mile run prior to the race. With the race less than 2 weeks away, I figured this was the time to give it a go. I was hurting, but no more than any of the other runs to date. We figured I could walk back if the wheels came off the "Ultra Steve" bus. So, we went for it. The hills ate me up, but I kept chugging along. The conversation was great and it felt like old times. The pace was slow, but I'm confident it will get better.
Funny thing: I wore my Salomon XACOMP trail shoes. These are goretex shoes that I bought for snow fields in the Tetons. I forgot about the Goretex when I put them on this morning. After about 5-6 miles, I told Goat it felt like I was running on sponges. My feet were soaked from sweat. Goretex does not breath enough to keep feet dry. The rest of the run was "squish, squish, squish". Note to self - keep these shoes for hiking.
The last 2 miles were pretty rough, and I had to walk briefly a couple times. I'll take it! It's my longest run by far in the past year, and it was so great to be back out there with my buddy.
We finished the 9 mile loop in 1:25. I'm happy with it considering the weather (super muggy) and my conditioning. I can see it getting better over the course of the next couple months.
It's really exciting to be running again!
Hope you are enjoying some great runs this weekend!