Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pre-Halloween Umstead Monster Run: 10/30

If you had told me before I left the house that I was going to have a great run today, I would have scoffed at you.  My left leg had been cranky since Thursday, and I had little to no energy on Thursday or Friday.  In fact, I used a rainstorm that blew in just about an hour before running group to stay home.  I could have gone because the rain stopped about 10 mins. before I needed to be there, but I just didn't feel it at all.  On Friday, I thought about going to the gym to stretch, do some abs, and use the foam roller, but that idea never made past the thinking stage.  And I wouldn't say that I felt anything close to wonderful when I woke up this morning, just "normal" at best.  But, I did change a few things up that might have factored into today's Monster Run!  I call this one a monster because I ran the same course that I always run in Umstead (the loop of the Company Mill Trial) nearly 1 min and 10 seconds faster than my best run.  Two weeks ago I nearly passed out after running the 3.9 miles of this hilly loop trail in 42:36.4, but my time today was 41:26.7 and I was not as gassed doing it.  I am not sure what produce such a big change in my time, but I can point to a some changes in the way that I prepared and ran that are probably big factors. Two days rest might have helped, but I have given myself two days rest before an not seen this type of result, so I think it was more do to these change:

  1. Instead of walking the trail to the bridge where I start my run, I did a light jog which warmed me up more.
  2. I changed the way I run up hills by shortening my strides.
The stream that runs beside part of the trail
This morning was pretty cold when I got to the park.  The low for today was 47 degrees and our high today was only 64.  Thank you for the return of fall!  87 degrees in late October is nuts!  I would guess that it was still in the upper 40's at 9am when I left for the park.  I only live 10 mins from Umstead, so I hadn't warmed up on bit by the time I left my car and stared down the trail, also I shaved my head last week, so I was feeling the chill, and after walking a bit I decide to jog because I knew the air was only going to get colder due to the shade from the trees and the air coming off of the stream that I would be running along for the first half mile and last half mile of the loop.  The stream wouldn't matter for the last half mile, but for the first half . . . .brrrrr . . . is the word.  So, I did a light jog down the trial to the bridge where I start my run, then stopped for a stretch before I crossed the bridge and began my run.  While I was stretching, I could see that the morning fog was still coming off of the water and steam was coming off of the top of my head!  I felt much more loose than I usual when I started running.  I had never jogged like this before when running in Umstead because it took everything I had just to run the distance of the loop, but recently I have moved beyond the 3 to 4 mile range and knew that the light jog would not hinder my run.
One of the more tricky part of the run are these steps that I have to run down.
It looks like this photo was taken from about half way up.

I felt good at the beginning of the run and didn't notice the cold air at all, but didn't let myself get carried away and open it up too early in the run, which has happened in the past.  Last week I was able to get in a good run on a day where I wasn't running my best by running smarter.  I am not Steve Prefontaine, and I need to realize that I need to manage my runs in order to get my best results.  Coincidentally, I got my first copy of Runner's Word this week and was reading their advice to beginning runner's.  One of the things that they said was that beginners shouldn't charge up a hill; that just before you get to the hill, you should shorten you stride, but keep the same cadence.  In doing so, you will conserve energy and still go up the hill at a good pace.  I put this advice into practice today, and I can honestly say that I think it helped a great deal.  I found at least two different spots where I was able to open up my stride and run harder than I have in the past after the hills flattened out.  Before, I could really take advantage of these good flat spots because I was using them to catch my breath, but I think that running this way is what enabled me to crush this run!  All in all, I was able to conserve a lot of energy to really push the end of the run.  When, I stopped running I was pretty winded, but I wasn't dazed like I was two weeks ago, and I even managed to jog a bit on my way back to the parking area. 

After my run, I drove to the Y for a stretch and to hit the foam roller.  If you haven't tried the foam roller I strongly suggest that you do.  It really helps with muscle tightness.  My PA suggests using the roller first then stretching, which is what I have been doing, and I can feel a huge difference versus only stretching.

1 comment:

  1. Did you overlook tye fact that shaving your head made you more aerodynamic and shaved some serious time off your run?

    I never warm up before a run because I'm afraid to expend the energy, but I need to try it and see how much it will help.

    Good for you on having a Monster Run! Mine is due any day now...