Sunday, July 31, 2011

In which I run 4 miles

July 31 is one of the greatest days of my life.

Two years ago today I was blessed with a spinal tap, and shortly thereafter, our youngest child. She's come a long way the past 24 months and so have I in the past 12.

This morning was a pretty good day, too. My 10K training plan called for my longest run yet - 4 miles. All week long it's been in the back of my head 4 miles on Sunday...4 miles on Sunday...

Heretofore the most I've run was 3.1, so this would be a jump, but I figured, if you can run 3, you can run 4.

I set myself up for success in several ways:

1. I picked a new route. My usual around-the-neighborhood route is 3 miles. I didn't want to get to the end and think Ugh, I have another mile to go. Instead, I thought a new route would be fun.

2. I picked a flat route. I didn't want to combine increasing my distance and running hills - at least not today.

3. I made a new playlist. I've been running on the same playlist for a few weeks and it was getting stale. Time to shake it up.

All that done, the run went very well. I got out nice and early and the weather was super: high 60s, sunny and dry. I ran through my little town's main drag. I saw people heading into Mass, smelled the bakeries and diners as they fired up breakfast and goodies for the day. I rarely walk through "downtown", so to experience it on foot was much different and more interesting than my normal route of trees, hills and roadkill.

Surprisingly, the run went pretty fast. I got to 3 miles and looped around for the 1 mile back to my car. By the time I got to 4 miles, I felt I could have run longer if I had to, and that was encouraging.

This morning was also my first run in my new shoes. My left heel has been bothering me for the past week, but I couldn't figure out what I did. I thought possibly the last month of training was taking its toll, but my heel didn't hurt when I ran, it was just sore after. I know I don't heel-strike when I run, so I wasn't sure what was up.

But yesterday I wore one of my newer pair of sneakers and my heel felt much better. Then it hit me: I bet my running shoes are breaking down. I've had them since January, I was due for a new pair.

I went to my local running store and picked up another pair of Asics (Foundation). I put them on and my heel felt a lot better.

I should have known it was meant to be when I spied the shoebox and saw my racing nickname there in black and white:

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