Monday, November 9, 2009

There's a first time for everything

Yup, I pulled …  well, pulled something.  Maybe strained something.  Possibly just suffered a severe, severe cramp.


I was nervous before the run on Sunday.  A feeling I’ve grown accustomed to this season.  I tried to shake the nerves with a little blood pumping activity. 


Consequently, on Sunday, before the 25k, I was doing some warm-up jogs and stretches.  During these short little jogs and stretches, I felt a twinge at the top of my right calf, just below, and behind, the knee.  It’s a twinge I’d felt before on runs, but the twinge always went away after a couple minutes of running as the muscles and ligaments loosened up.


Not this time.


At precisely 7:00am, when the gun sounded, and I pushed off with my right foot to take my first step with the left, I felt a BIG twinge in my right calf, just above the muscle, just behind and below the knee.


I kept going, hoping it would go away, as it has always done in the past.


Mile 1, 12 minutes.  Mile 2, 15 minutes.  On mile 3 things started to get to normal and I logged a pair of 10 minute miles.  At the start of mile 5 I had to stop and use the can.  Standing there caused the muscles to seize up once again and that mile cost me 19 minutes.  I crossed the starting zone and pulled out of the race.  The pain was unbearable at that point and it wasn’t getting normal.  I had gone about an hour and a half into the race, was roughly 5 miles behind where I wanted to and needed to be at that point, and wasn’t going to be getting that time and distance back.  It was over.


I’m worried that I strained a ligament.  I’m less worried that I strained the muscle, and even less worried that it is just a severe cramp.  The last will be fine in a few days and everything will be back to normal.  The second will take a little longer, but everything will be ok if I focus and work on making up for lost time, possibly pushing the goal from sub-4:30 to sub-5:00.  The first, however, will likely force the conversation of the complete realignment of goals for January, like from 26.2 to 13.1.

That’s a conversation I’m not ready to contemplate right now.


Now, a little post crash analysis.


In August, my FREQUENCY of runs was roughly one every other day—about 15 runs logged.

In September and October, my FREQUENCY dropped to one every third day—about 10 to 12 runs logged per month.

My frequency needs to increase.


In August, my distance and intensity was relatively low.  I was in the process of ramping up distance from 1 to 6 miles and my times were all above 10:30 per mile.

In September and October, my intensity began to steadily increase as the times steadily began dropping to sub 10:00 and sub 9:00 miles.  The distances, on average though, continued to remain flat at an average distance of roughly 5 miles per outing.


Now, the frequency can drop, but the distance needs to increase along with the intensity.  The distance cannot remain the same if the frequency is going to drop.  If the distance is going to remain the same, the frequency needs to remain at least the same while the intensity increases.  If the intensity is going to drop, the frequency needs to stay at least the same while the distances increase.  It’s like a big triangle, and the ultimate goal is to increase the area of the triangle.   If only one side grows, the total area stays the same or shrinks.  At least two sides need to grow simultaneously, while the third at least stays static, to ensure an increasing total area.  The sides of the triangle are intensity (time), distance, and frequency.  The two most important sides are intensity and distance.  As soon as the pain goes away, I’ll start back on that formula and see what it gets me.

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