Long Road Back

What a week.

After Sunday’s breathing-challenged Capitol 10K, my training program was complete. For the first time (injury notwithstanding) since August I did not have a training run on Tuesday or Thursday, or a long run on Saturday. Which is probably good, because all week I couldn’t shake the cough and congestion. Tuesday night I met my training group for celebratory drinks, and that was as close as I got to running.

This was the last week of the grading period at work, so I fielded a lot of last-minute “what can I do to bring up my grade??” panicked requests as I scrambled to get everything finalized before the computer gradebook closed Friday night. Simultaneously I had to meet a tight deadline for new NJHS invitations–calculating evaluation scores, printing letters, stuffing envelopes, and getting them distributed to about 150 kids by the end of the week. And also simultaneously I was working with my students on a pretty big No Place for Hate video project that took up whatever time I had left. Hugely worthwhile and professionally satisfying, but time-consuming and emotionally draining as well.

On top of all that, this year I’m working on my National Board Certification Renewal that’s due in May. It’s not quite as intense as my original certification process, but it’s complicated and requires about 50 pages of written analysis of my teaching, a dozen pieces of documentation, and 15 minutes of video recordings. I’ve been working on its various components all school year and it’s coming down to the wire. So naturally Friday night, after I spent about two hours rewriting a chunk of it to include the NPFH video project, Word freaked out. The backspace key just …. backspaced. And backspaced. I couldn’t stop it–I could only watch as it took out seven of the 20 pages of work before it mercifully froze. I still had the original (I always rename and save a new version of the file before making big revisions in case I want to revert back to the earlier version) but the last two hours of work was gone because Autosave had, of course, autosaved the jacked up version. Fortunately I had no plans to get up early for a long run, since I stayed up late trying to resurrect my work.

But I’m still congested so I didn’t sleep well, plus B had an early lacrosse game. Even without the long run, I was up at seven. Yawn. But his team is having an amazing season and they’re fun to watch.

Later in the day, after lunch with my dad, we went to Camp Mabry’s Muster Day. We’ve done this every year since B was small–they have military and police/EMS helicopters, tanks, a WWII re-enactment including vintage Commemorative Air Force planes, Buffalo Soldiers, Jeeps, a replica Vietnam Memorial wall, and a museum. Lots of walking, so it’s not like I was lazy, but it still wasn’t running.

Skies were grey and threatened rain most of the day, but it didn’t really do more than drizzle. So around 6:30 I decided to run over to the park and around the reservoir and shoot for about four miles. I like this route because the park has a water fountain, and waiting for the Walk signal at the big intersection usually gives me a short breather. I was kind of surprised that the first .75 from my house to the light felt good, especially considering my continued congestion or whatever the hell this is. I wondered if I could keep that up or if stopping would doom me to run-walk the rest of the way. But by the time I got to the park, I was still running strong. Or at least Less Slow Than Last Week.

I took the long way out of the park and up the far street, then hit the reservoir trail from the other direction. The rain picked up and I only saw a few folks out on the trail. And a guy fishing in the reservoir.

meltI don’t know about y’all, but I like running in the rain most of the time. I mean, if it’s gonna be eleventy-seven percent humidity, it might as well rain on me and cool me off a bit! Drivers looked a little weirdly at me, but whatever. I was two miles from home and it’s not like could get there any other way.

In the end, I ran 4.25 miles. I was breathing heavily, but from exertion not asthma. I stopped for the light once each way, at the park’s water fountain once each way, and once to catch my breath at the top of a hill. Otherwise I didn’t succumb to the walk breaks and I felt good. I learned about earwax and weird medical treatments from the guys at Stuff You Should Know, and I burned off at least some of my lunch. It was a huge improvement over last weekend’s wheezing trainwreck!

Now that my races are over for a while, I’ve had a chance to think about what I want to do next. Last year I went from training group to training group and race to race without much of a break, and I ended up with a trio of injuries. This spring and summer I’m going to focus on core class and strength training with 4-6 mile Saturday long runs, then go back to training in September. As long-term plans go, taking the long road back seems like a wise one.

But now that the crazy-busy week is behind me, I’m ready to kick back with my book for a while.

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5 thoughts on “Long Road Back

  1. …and I thought I was busy! Whew! I hope you were able to relax this weekend. I think your plan of taking it easy for awhile as far as training goes is a good one. I know I get really burnt out if I don’t take a training break for a few months every year.

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    • My problem is that I’m already slow, and taking time off causes me to regress, and emotionally that’s tough for me. But physically I know I need to take a break!

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  2. I love running in the rain, as long as there is no lightening. Yesterday I ran and the humidity here (Houston) was at 99%. It would have been so much better with a drizzle instead.

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    • Yeah, at thunderstorm came through later, but no lightning while I was running. And ugh, running in Houston must be like running through soup. At least when I go to Galveston there’s a sea breeze.

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