Last Tuesday I had a crappy, crappy run. My asthma – excuse me, my exercise-induced breathing difficulties – were acting up, in spite of the shot of albuterol I took prior to running. I had had a bad sinus headache that ended up in my ear the night previous to that, and by the following day it was gone except for a lingering running nose. It was all messed up in there behind my eyes and between my ears.

Wow, that previous paragraph jumped all over chronologically, didn’t it? But to hell with it; blogging is essentially first-draft anyway. I’m leaving it as-is.

Anyway, Tuesday I ran about three miles total, but had to break it into two 1.5-mile segments, and each segment was slower than a really slow thing. I wasn’t happy with my performance at all, and knew I could do better.

I was so discouraged by my performance Tuesday night that I skipped any kind of workout at all last night, just went home and lazed around and ate Thai food and drank delicious holiday drinks and thought about cleaning up my apartment, another thing that’s discouraging me. I can’t concentrate in a messy apartment.

So, today, I approached the gym after work with a mix of optimism and pessimism. I wanted to do some speedwork, but thought that might be pushing it. I always try to decide on my goal before starting my workout and then stick to it, but tonight I was uncertain what I was going to be doing until I had finished walking a quarter-mile to warm up. I decided on 4 miles tempo pace, which works out to about a 10:00/mile pace for me.

My ankles, both left and right, were giving me warning signs through the first mile, but I just tried to relax and let everything “fall” into the right configuration, if that makes any sense. Instead of trying to impose perfect form on myself, I just kept my head high, let my breathing come at a natural rhythm, and tried to zone out and not overthink my form. It seemed to work, because at the start of my second mile, I was feeling well enough to up the pace a bit, and finished my second mile with about two minutes of around an 8:35 pace. Instead of stopping for water or a walking break, I decided during the second mile that I would push through for at least 30:00, see where I was, and then continue to 40:00 at whatever pace I wanted. Around 2.9 miles, I pushed the pace up to 8:00, and I ended up hitting mile 3 at 29:30 total, which felt really good, before dropping to a walk for less than a minute. Then I ran the pace back up to 10:00/mile for almost the remainder of the last full mile. At 3.85 miles, I sped up to an 8:35 pace again, and kept it past the 4.0 mile mark (39:36 total) and kept going for another minute or two. I think around 4.06 miles I finally slowed to a walking speed to cool down.

It felt really good. My asthma did not show up, and after the first mile of slight pains from my ankles and calves, especially the outside of my calves, I had no other discomfort.

I do want to find a stretch for that area (outside of my calves and or my IT band) because that still feels really tight. I also notice that when standing, my feet want to pronate a lot, to where I’m standing on the outsides of my soles, and I have to consciously flatten out my feet so they’re resting full on the ground. Something to watch in the future.

I’m keeping these shoes (Oh! Tonight I wore my Asics; last Tuesday I wore the Adidas) through the winter, but come spring I’m going to go through the whole fitting process again because I believe my gait/stride has changed since I first started running. Just a note for the future.

I’m definitely running tomorrow and Saturday or Sunday. Still not back up to 20+ miles per week but I’m not really in training for anything specific. Probably good to focus on non-running exercise for at least the next couple of weeks.

But, y’know, I’m not going to be able to stop running. Just not gonna happen.