Im still running by feel and not paying any attention to my watch so that it doesnt temp me to try to set any time goals....not that I ever was one to set time goals.
August 29th and September 7th I decided I was going to try to run/walk a half marathon distance. I had no time goal in my mind and a typical half takes me anywhere between 2:00 - 2:25 depending on what Im running and how many shenanigans I partake in while on a course. These were not official Half Marathons just the distance...leaving my house and running up Rt 23 to the Highway Patrol Office and back....its just a tad more then 13.1 miles. Now I did have in the back of my head that I would like to do this in under 3 hours but again I was not going to have my watch set to see the overall time so that I wouldn't push. I stopped a couple times to stretch when I needed to...walked a lot and just enjoyed being out there for some quality time. On the 29th when I finished my time was 3:01:13...I was glad I didnt look at my watch because I probably would have skipped a stretch break or picked up the pace into a run instead of a walk and would have easily been under the 3 hour mark...but I feel like I needed those stretch breaks and the walking when I did. Nothing to prove just wanted to have no pains. The 7th Heather came with me and we met up with Jackie and she went with us for about 9 of these miles. This was her longest for awhile.....this trip we were around 2:57 but again didnt look at my watch. The first long one my feet got really tired....like they would feel when you're out there for a 50 miler...or I guess how they would feel for your first half or full marathon. The second trip my feet didnt get that tired feeling as bad.
Two days before the second 13.1 mile trip I decided to go ahead and run our local 5K.....Heather said she would do it with me and we were not going to look at our time because again...no pushing and no goal...just have fun and enjoy the atmosphere of a race. I decided on the 5K over the 10K because I knew in the race atmosphere we all tend to get caught up in it and I may run a little harder then what I needed to be doing at this time. We hit mile one and my watch does beep to tell me what each mile pace is and we were running a 9:45....shit it sure didnt feel like we were pushing that hard!!! My body felt great...I was breathing a little heavy but kept pace and Heather would keep making sure nothing hurt and all was well and if I wanted to walk it was fine....I really wanted to run this entire 3.1 miles, I didnt care what pace but I wanted to run it all. Mile 2 comes up and we are still under a 10 min mile...this one averaging 9:54....still body feeling good but my breathing at this pace has not returned....but it hasn't seen this pace in a long long time either. During the last mile we slowed the pace down a tad bit and crossed the finish line with a time of 30:30! Who does this shit!! I must be some sort of medical freak!!! I again was glad I did not have my watch set for overall time because if I knew I was 30 seconds slower then having a sub 30 min 5K 3 months and 1 day after a spinal fusion I think I would have kicked it up at the end instead of slowing down a tad.
After the 13.1 on the 7th I have only ran a couple of shorter runs, I have been getting my steps in each day and doing strength training as well. Early this week on my FB page a post popped up about the Indian Run in Hocking Hills....for the past couple years I always heard great things about this run but I was always out of town doing events when it took place. They have a 5K 10K 20K 40K and 60K.....I also read the 5 10 and 20K can start anytime between 9-11am so that meant I didnt have to get up at some God awful early hour and drive or find a place closer to spend the night. Its only about an hour and 20 minute drive too. I knew Heather would love to do this and the price of only $25 even made it more appealing!! I quick message with the details to Heather and the next thing we knew we had both emailed each other a photo of our entry fee that we were mailing in! We make a good team!! I had never been to Hocking Hills so had no idea what the course would be like. HOLY MOTHER HILL BALLS!!! Major Major climbing and long decents in the beginning made for some tired quads and painful lungs but it was a wonderful day and we had a blast!! We chose the 20K just over 12 miles....Some of the steep climbs really kicked my ass and Im usually a power hiker up hills but that was not expected out of me today and I honestly didnt even think they would have climbs like that! WOW......I kept moving forward each climb....even the one in the beginning that had to be over a mile long and 1000 plus feet of gain..I wanted so bad to stop and catch my breath but I knew I couldn't catch it even if I stopped so I may as well just keep moving forward. Heather was loving it and she would stop and turn around to check on me and giggle and say Im enjoying the view....because Im usually the one way ahead on the climbing up where she kicks ass going down. The course was on some road and when it was on the trails they were beautiful. Nicely shaded and we crossed a bridge that was above Old Mans Cave. I would like to return and hike out here and check out all the offering the park has. The last couple miles was mostly walking....the trails started to have a lot of roots around and being tired I was a little nervous trying to maneuver my feet with all the roots in fear of falling and hurting my back. We were in no hurry at all....we kinda had a goal with it being trails and lots of climbing of 3:30 and came in in 3:08. My garmin showed we had 3,819 feet of elevation gain and 3,428 feet of elevation loss! WOW!
Next weekend is the Adams County Half Marathon and Marathon....Clyde and Kelly Shank are coming up - Kelly is going to volunteer with Jackie and Clyde Heather and I are going to run it. Clyde will run the full and Heather is going to run what ever I decide to run and hang with me. This course has a lot of hills too but after this weekends hills I think I will be ok....I worried about the downhill pounding on the spine and the uphill use of the lower back muscle to help you climb would bother me but so far everything is good. The only issue I have and have had is the tightness in the right ass cheek.....there is still no nerve pain radiating down the leg and I don't think doing nothing will take it away and I don't think doing what Im doing will make it worse since it hasn't been getting worse just staying the same. Part of me really wants to do the full but I won't push myself if after the half I have pains that are not normal marathon pains.
I would love to go to my next appointment with a marathon finisher shirt and medal for the Doc....I also can't wait to let him know that he is a hashtag :)