Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Running Amok

With planned winter triathlon coming up on Saturday, I had to get at least one 5km run in to see if I could actually run for 5km. I have never run that far in my life. I had planned to do that this weekend, but long ski and ride workouts left me depleted. I ran at lunch on Monday. Course was mild downhill for 0.6mi, two 1.0 mile laps on flat road, then back up slight hill to office. I did light 42 minute bike spin around the block to warm up first, then switched to running shoes.

I eased into the run. When I got down to the dead end road for 1 mile laps, I picked pace up slightly. Breathing was what would be about tempo to near threshold pace on the bike (what I could hold for 1-2hrs). First mile: 6:47. Second mile: 6:45. I then took it easy running the 0.6mi back up to the buildings, but I was quite certain I was going to die by this point. My 5km time was about 21:11. When I reached my truck and stopped, my legs didn't want to stop. They were all jelly-like and I felt like I was going to lose balance if I didn't keep moving. It was the weirdest sensation. I ached all over, but nothing extreme.

Now this 5k performance is pretty pathetic in terms of what a runner can do. But in this one run, I nearly doubled my lifetime running volume. The first time I ran a couple weeks ago, my hips hurt for one day and I had shin splints for 3 days. I did two more short 1.6 mile runs since then with little lingering after effects. But last night, my left knee started to throb. Throb like a pounding headache that wouldn't go away no matter what. I took double dose of Aleve. No difference. I could not sleep all night. The pain was extreme. No position, no extra pillows, nothing made a difference. Feels like tendon related in front and back of knee joint, and pain was similar to muscle spasms. Very sharp. I barely made it down the stairs this morning. Well, it started to subside today at work. At least I can walk half speed now.

I've had recent correspondence with a runner that is taking up cycling. He developed knee issues. Gerry Clapper, another x-runner popped into the Masters cycling scene last year, setting course records and winning hillclimb events overall. Running certainly achieves great fitness, but at what expense? In conversation with Gerry last summer, he commented about the time he went in to buy a bike. After telling the salesperson about running issues, they commented "You know, we get all you guys eventually."

So what am I doing dabbling in running when guys that have been running a while are migrating to cycling? If I manage to finish the triathlon on Saturday, it may be an anomalous blip on my athletic record. I could like it and train more sensibly for multisport events next year. My running friends tell me I expect too much too fast. My cardio system is way ahead of the needed running infrastructure. If I become serious about this, I will have to run slower, more frequently, and build slowly. It will be interesting to see how this week plays out.

Other running observations I've picked up:

  • Your feet get hot.

  • You sweat a lot.

  • Empty stomach is good thing. Cycling doesn't matter for me.

  • Jarring of running interferes with breathing, each step knocking a little wind out of ya.

  • Running moderate aerobic pace for 21 minutes is way, way harder than racing up Mt Ascutney deeply into the anaerobic abyss for 28 minutes.

  • You feel 90yrs old after you run.

  • Running can't be healthy.

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