Wednesday night I ran an experiment. Literally. For the first in over 28 years, I ran a mile. Since my studded tire bike was still on its way back from Michigan, I did a light spin on the Lemond Revmaster in the evening. Sufficiently warmed up for the near 0F air, I laced up the closest things I had to running shoes and went out.
This past summer I was late for a meeting in another facility and had to run about 200m from my car slightly downhill to the building. No biggie. Next day, felt fine. Second day, I could hardly walk with severe shin splints. It took over five days for the pain to go away, all from less than a 60 second jog from my car. I don't do any impact exercise, such as ball sports. I suck at them. With lack of conditioning, it takes very little to bring about shin splints.
The last time I can recall running a mile or more was in high school, probably around 1979 or 1980. I think I was slower than 10 minute miles. I had severe asthma problems back then, but it was not enough to get me out of gym class. I suffered through these events and finished DFL every time.
So Wednesday night I ran two 0.55 mile laps around my culdesac block for 1.1 miles total. I ran a pace I thought was aerobically moderate, although my heart rate soared. My pace: about 6:51 min/mi. Pretty poor I thought. The 7 minute run turned my quads, of all things, into jelly. I kind of ached all over. Running can't be healthy, I thought to myself.
So why, you may ask, would I perform such a foolish experiment? I'm still having thoughts about doing a winter triathlon at Weston on January 26. Many people say huh, a triathlon in January? Key word is winter. It is a run/bike/ski all on snow. You run 5km on a groomed XC ski course, then bike 7.5km on same loop, then XC ski 6km on a different loop. I've been mountain biking on snow for over 8 years now, so I should have that base very well covered. I've been skate skiing a few years now, experienced just enough to dare compete. The run will suck. It's only 3 miles, and my goal is to suffer through it without injuring myself or needing weeks to recover from tweaked tissues.
Wednesday night's run was a small shock to the system, or in engineering terms, an impulse response test. Two days later, the impulse response has not settled out. I had no shin splints yesterday, just sore hips. Today, I have moderate shin splints, but hips feel recovered. If I can tone up the shins in three weeks, I might be good to go for a three mile run. How long the run will take depends entirely on conditions. With warming spell coming, course could turn to ice if no more snow comes. It could be warm and slushy. It could be snowing. Doesn't matter. I just don't want to be babying abused body parts for weeks from a one hour event.
After talking with real runners yesterday and today, they were surprised at my aggressive pace. A non-runner should never start out that hard, especially on pavement and without running shoes. Aerobically, I could have gone much harder. So plan now is to back down the pace a notch and maybe do a three lap run this weekend. If shin splints don't come back or are less severe, I'll go for four lap/2.2 mile run mid week. Goal is not to be competitive in run leg of triathlon, just conditioning to prevent injury. This whole thing is exploratory. If I like the triathlon, it's not impossible I would do more multisport events (excluding swimming). I did invest in a pair of trail running shoes tonight.
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned.