After my little injury last Thursday, I had decided to take a little bit of a break to give my legs some much needed rest. Finally, today I decided to get back out there and test the waters. My leg had been feeling pretty good, and I have been stretching regularly to try and keep limber. I got up a couple of minutes early this morning to give myself ample time to stretch and warm up. When I did finally get outside, I was a little nervous about how I would do. I had tried the leg out last Saturday and was only able to run about 2 miles before my leg tightened up and I started to get pains in other areas, probably because I had changed my form to favor the bad leg. When I hit the road this morning, I told myself to take it easy and listen to my body. In the first half mile, the leg was kind of tight but began to loosen up. My breathing felt good and I thought the pace was working out. When I checked my watch, it read 3:40. I thought to myself, "That's pretty good." I was actually slightly ahead of my normal pace.
As I got into the second half mile, I tried to stick with a good form and really concentrate on my length of stride; the leg was feeling pretty good. When I hit the first mile I was shocked, 7:20. I was ahead of my normal pace and I felt like I was taking it pretty easy.
Over the next mile there were a couple of little twinges in my leg. I thought about calling it a day, but the feelings never lasted and I started thinking about really how little time I have left before the race, 11 days. I needed to get out and run a few good distances before the race. So I stuck with it, and kept thinking about good form. I also tried to find a good line to run on. One of the causes of IT band syndrome is running on pitched surfaces, and in this town that is about all we have. The roads have a pretty severe crown and each side really falls off to the curb. There is usually a relatively flat surface about 2 feet to each side of center; sometimes it shifts. So I worked really hard to find a good flat surface to run on. When I hit the end of the second mile I was shocked, 14:30. I was 30 seconds ahead of my normal pace and feeling great.
I don't even really remember much of the rest of my run. My mind started to do the math. How fast was I going? At that rate what should my time be? What is my best 5k time? What kind of time would I have in the 10k at this pace? To be honest, I don't think I was able to calculate a single one of these answers, but I knew I was really moving. I tried to give it a little extra over the last 300 yards, but there wasn't much left in the tank. However, when I crossed the finish line I was pretty excited, 22:40. I am pretty sure that is my best 5k time ever.
And the leg still feels great. I will continue to stretch this morning, and probably get back on the bike tomorrow. The tough part is going to be rearranging my schedule to accommodate for the time off over the past couple of days. But I am sure I can figure it out. The best part about all of this is that just getting out and running this morning has really picked up my spirits today. I am sure it has something to do with endorphins, but some of this good mood can be attributed to the feeling of getting knocked down, but having the drive to get back up and get moving.