Day 18, 19, 20….

Three days of no posts?  Am I slacking???  Nahhhh…..just don’t want to bore you with the mundane.  There were two achievements worth nothing.

The first one and the best one is about my feet and ankles.  These have been pretty painful since the Turkey Trot last November…3 months ago.  At one point, I thought I had a stress fracture but a visit to the ortho ruled that out.  It turns out that all of these years of running have pretty much flatten my feet out.  Call them old man feet since not they feel it but I walk it.

A visit to the new PT group at the Y, Buffalo Rehab, revealed the muscles around my feet are so weak you could call them spaghetti.  After one day of exercises which consist of nothing more than balancing on each foot, I was totally amazed at how neglected they were yet, how critical they can be to the sanity of a runner/triathlete!  A second visit during the blizzard, more exercises and I proclaimed myself ready for the race too tough to tame, the Lockport Y10!  Ten miles of grueling suffering in the cold, on the slush even though its most famous feature, the wind was missing.

Now typically, this would have been another race, another ho hum day.  While this wasn’t my best time my training plan called for me to run this continuous evenly paced.  And that I did!  In some spots, the time would have been different but pay attention to the elevation there.  This course has plenty of rolling hills plus one big monster at the end!  I was suppose to run it at a 9:30 minute per mile pace yet I averaged just a snag under 9:00.  The conditions were perfect for it plus one important thing that I neglected in the past, I was well hydrated with carbs!

Let me tell you…a fuel belt is the best accessory/article of clothing any long distance runner can wear!  Four bottles filled with HEED, a sports drink specially formulated for long runs and slow absorption kept me going as if on a full tank.  At every mile split, right when the vibrator in my watch goes off…SIP!  It was so cold out, 16 degrees, that it turned to slush but I still managed.  So lesson #1 and a successful check off of one aspect of the training plan…HYDRATE!

Next…even though I was suppose to run at 9:30 pace, I hope Coach Mitchell didn’t mind my doing 30 seconds faster but I wasn’t alone since other members of her training groups were turning faster times.  We were we freezing our bunzies off!  But I think doing the next best thing also paid dividends.  Each mile split was evenly paced after you factor in/out the elevation changes.  Since I was suppose to do 12 miles total, I started out with a 2 mile warmup which you don’t see here.  Those two miles were at 9:05 and 8:50 so if you add in the first two miles of the race, you’ll see I was averaging 8:55.

Notice on the elevation graph at miles 3 to 5 where I dropped to 8:34, those were downhill.  These are very long downhills that can give you a chance to catch your breath because as you can see, the rest of the way is pretty much uphill especially between miles 9 and 10.  This was where pacing and saving the best for the last comes into play.  For the first time I can remember, I RAN up the hill and what you don’t see on the chart….I was passing people.  And at that very last 200 yard mark, I SPRINTED pass some poor huffing and puffing dude.  I swear…I could have kept going!  Even though that last mile was the longest, I remember the last two times I did this race, I had to walk up the hill.  Lesson #2….PACE YOURSELF!

So three weeks into my training I find myself enormously satisfied and confident.  And I count my blessings that I made the right decision in getting a professionally coached training plan and in finding those muscles I didn’t realize I had, with PT.

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