Warning: This post will have no pictures.
For whatever reason, I am ten times more motivated to post after runs that are particularly difficult or days when I am particularly frustrated. There's something about writing that is therapeutic for me, which I think is why I began writing this blog in the first place.
My runs over the last week have been pretty solid, on the whole. I did a big 19-miler on Friday starting at my house, running to Shelby Bottoms, around the 8-mile loop at SB, and then back through the projects. I actually felt pretty fantastic for the first 15-16 miles. Toward the ends of these ultra-long runs (relatively speaking), my cardio is fine and my muscles are fine. I honestly am not sure I'm pushing myself enough because my heart rate returns to normal within 15 seconds of me finishing my run. Maybe this is why I have stopped dropping pounds, or maybe it's because I'm eating wrong. In any case, the sore parts at the ends of my runs are my joints.
After slapping pavement for over three hours, my ankles, knees, shins, and hips all get a dull throbbing in them to the point where it hurts equally as much to walk as it does to jog (To be fair, I can't really blame them, they are probably angry after over 350 miles since late December). After I complete a run, they'll stay sore for a couple of hours while I uncomfortably shift positions on the couch, waiting for that pain to subside and sipping my recovery chocolate milk.
That sounds dramatic, but the pain does subside. And I don't notice those joints the rest of the day or the day after. They feel fine for the next run also. Thus, I am led to believe that the pain is a temporary artefact of long runs and not something chronic.
I only have one more long run before the big day--20 miles. I'll attempt this a week from Friday and I'm hoping it will go well. Yesterday and today, I have done a five-miler and an eight-miler, respectively. I started both before the sun came up and accidentally timed both so well that I was running past a small lake while the sun rose and got to experience a moment of beauty before Nashville fully awoke.
I've been incredibly frustrated with other aspects of my life lately, and these runs largely serve to clear my head and let me focus on other things which need my attention. I let things get pent-up inside of me until they are ever-present, threatening to erupt at an inopportune time. And then today, at the end of my run, a man sitting at a bus stop looked at me, smiled, and said "You're doing a great job, and you're beautiful. Have a great day." I just looked at him, said "thanks," and smiled, and as I ran away, my eyes welled up and I almost lost it. Sometimes the weirdest things can set me off.
In any case, I finished this morning's run in a teary blur, running as hard as I could. At the end, I felt both refreshed and exhausted, and maybe a little bit better.
Race day is a month from tomorrow.