Pico de Orizaba

Pico de Orizaba
Taken from Huatusco, Veracruz, the closest town to Margarita's family's ranch.

Friday, September 12, 2014

10k... and beyond?

After injuring myself almost 2 months ago, I finally decided upon terminating the 2nd 5km loop of Metropolitan Park where I run here in Guadalajara.  Since I injured the tendon that runs on the outside of my right ankle, I've been running differently; shorter strides, not so heel to toe as had been my form since College and without any need for pushing myself.  Just head up, back straight, mind relaxed, enjoying the experience and the scenery.  While recuperating/running 3-4 days per week in Tangamanga Park in San Luis Potosi in August, I didn't have to run any specific course or begin or end at any given point.  I didn't even have to do a 15 minute warm-up walk...  I didn't have to beat a former time or extend the run beyond what I ran the day before.  I just had to appreciate the run...  

When we returned to Guadalajara, and to the hills of the Metropolitan Park, I just let my body decide how it would run and basically ignored where I had left off before being injured: a few meters from completing a 10k...  5-6 days per week.  I ran 40 minutes and completed the run where I was completing it back in early June.  The following day I only ran 24 minutes, but was fine with that... Something else was occuring that kept me relaxed about my "performance". I noticed with the shorter and more effortless strides, I was reaching certain milestones much quicker, even though I felt I was running much slower (which was not the case).  Another thing is that I read "Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen" by Christopher McDougall the prior 3 days and realized that after injuring myself in July I had changed my stride in a form that I was running almost exactly how McDougall explains the Tarahumara and the best ultramathonists run in order to cover so much ground with minimal fatigue and minimal stress.  

Yesterday I completed 8kms for the first time since mid-July and thought that it wouldn't be too much to ask of myself to stretch the run another 2...  Today the run began very slowly. In fact, I wasn't concerned about anything.  But, when I was approaching those 8kms I thought that I should see what would happen if I continued onward... 2pm, height of the day's heat and direct sun, like being on the beach... running without a shirt and feeling a slight burn.  But, truthfully, I found the heat envigorating.  There was absolutely no fatigue, almost no pain.  My breathing was near minimum... at least for not burning glucose (glycogen) stored in the muscle and just burning fat...  Nearing the 10k mile marker the tows of my right foot started aching (clearly that shoe isn't designed ideally for my toes) and I thought, "if I were in a marathon, I could do another 3 sets of these two laps of the park if not for my toes..."  My body was totally relaxed.  But, I wondered just how difficult it would be to run a marathon having toe pressure problems...  In the end, I finished the 10k in a slow 67 minutes.  Yesterday I had run a relaxed but fast first mile in 8.5 minutes and the 6th mile a little less than 1 minute slower.  The average mile was 10 minutes.  Today I ran the first mile in 11 minutes and the 6th in just under 10 minutes.  The average mile was 10.8 minutes.  The first and the 6th miles are the same stretch I always compare.  It's my favorite part of the park; the back end far away from the park goers that is 1 mile of rolling hills with pine forrests and lined with Eucalyptus trees.  When I ran from heel to toe, I used the 6th mile for basically sprinting.  When everything was working, I felt like a gazelle.  But, now I realize that running from heel to tow may not allow me to run longer distance or for an extended period of my middle-aged life, since it will cause injury.  Plus, it doesn't enable for running faster and it is an inefficient energy spender.  

I've never dreamed of running a marathon.  But, now the dream is to be able to run as long as I wish... As long as that is what the body was truly made for...  Our joke today is, one of us says, "Hey, I'm heading out to Veracruz in moment..." and he, she or I put on our running shoes or sandles and hops out the door for making that 500+ mile journey running...  If that's what our bodies were built for.  It remains to be seen...  

My next goal is to duplicate the 10k runs.  And I'm not talking about runnign a half marathon one day when there is a competition here...  The almost 10k runs were 5-6 days per week.  How about running a half marathon 5 days per week... one day.  Why not?

It took me 11 years to figure out how to reverse the obesity process.  Without worrying about fat or calorie counting, and with what seems like very little effort over the prior 6 months, I'm seeing an abdomin/chest reflected in the mirror that I believe I was seeing 20+ years ago.  It's delightfully surprising... And, there seems to be no reason that it would not continue in this direction.  So, why not one day be able to run as far as my mind desires?

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