Week 3 of healing the injured ankle spit out some pretty solid workouts. As much as I enjoyed the sweat and endorphins of it all, 3 runs, an hour of kickboxing and a 20 mile bike ride may have been pushing it just a leeeeetle bit. Saturday morning soreness led me to vow a 24 hour reprieve from cardio and Sunday brought the test that would give me a definitive answer to whether or not I will be running the Peachtree City 15k:
Run six solid miles. No ifs, no buts. Yes or no. Pass or fail.
The 15k, which is 9.3 happy miles, is 12 days away. If I can pass the 6 mile test, that means that I am only 3 miles under the distance I’ll be covering on the 20th. Uninjured, it wouldn’t be such a big deal. Even if unprepared, I’m pretty good at busting out a few extra miles that I haven’t trained well for. With a weakened ankle, however, the risk of re-injury is a very real, very scary possibility. I don’t want to ruin the progress that I’ve made in the healing department and I don’t want to screw up my chances of being able to run the Chickamauga Half Marathon in November.
With a chilly temperature in the fifties, I threw on long sleeves and tried to psyche myself up for the 2 lap run around the park. En route I received a text from my running buddy, “Don’t feel well. Not going to make it”. Durn. Gray skies, a cold wind, a swollen ankle, and no one to motivate me through it all. I sat in the parking lot for a good twenty minutes trying to talk myself into getting out of the car. When the summer sun beckons, I’m like a moth to the flame, but the wintry, dreary, gray day was doing nothing to get me moving. Suddenly I realized that I had my gym bag which meant that my mp3 player was inside. Music! That will do the trick. On my headphones went as I put my shoes to the pavement and slowly warmed my body into the first mile. Dubstep was blaring (my latest choice in weight-lifting music) and it carried me through the first couple miles at a ho hum pace. Soon I noticed several distance runners making the rounds as well. Decked out in calf sleeves and packs of GU, the runners that usually feel like comrades were making me feel inferior… like a first timer with an awkward gait and a little too much belly (thank you 3lbs of injury weight gain). I rolled my eyes at myself and pressed on.
After finishing the first loop I excused myself from the trail to the ladies room (curse of the small bladder) and after gulping a palm full of water from the faucet, set out to finish lap 2. Just after completing the fourth mile, I met the gaze of a woman that looked, I kid you not, like a spitting image of Richard Simmons.
The frizzy curls, the tank, the striped shorts, the everything! She could have been his twin! The only difference I could spot was that she sported a pair of perfectly circular glasses. This lady single-handedly made my run. She flashed the most brilliant smile and her enthusiasm warmed me like a mug of hot cocoa. My stride lengthened and my pace quickened. I began giving my own grins away freely at the marathoners in training and once again the familiar feeling of belonging crept up on me. Fast or slow, injured or not, I was out there doing what I loved and surrounded by others doing the same.
6.2 miles down the hatch. 3.1 miles away from race distance.
Looks like along with an ice pack and some IB Profen, I have a 15k in the near future!!!