Monday, April 18, 2011

Douro 10 Miler

After the Around the Bay race I was getting some pain on the top of my left foot. My physiotherapist said it was a little tendonitis from the sudden increase in distance of the 30k race. I took a few days off to rest and recover and then 6 days after running the race, I ran 24k. It may have been too much too soon because the pain in the foot came back. I don't want to spend too many days recovering because I only have a few weeks to train for the Toronto Marathon. So on Thursday April 7 I ran 13k but at a much faster pace. After about 6k, the tendons at the top of my left foot started to hurt again so I switched to a more mid-foot landing from a forefoot landing. The pain left my foot, but I could feel it more in my knees and groin.

The following Sunday was the Douro 10 Miler. It was now two full weeks since the 30k race and I wanted to start increasing my distance. I got to Douro early at 11am, two hours before the race start so I could run the course once before the race and then the race to give me the 32k for the day. The morning was colder than was forecast and it started raining as soon as I got out of the car. I decided to run in shorts and singlet so that I would have at least the dry t-shirt to wear for the race. I joined two other runners who were also running the course early for the extra marathon training distance. We set off with the sound of rolling thunder and light rain falling on us. The asphalt was rough but the section of dirt road was a nice rest until we got back on rough wet asphalt again.

 On the way back at about the 10k mark I was tired, cold, soaked and seriously considering going home once I got back to my car. By the last kilometer the rain had stopped and the temperature had risen a couple of degrees. I got back to the race start and was surprised to see so many people ready to race considering the weather. After an energy chew and some power drink, I decided to run the race just to get my distance in. I had enough time to put on my new dry shirt from the Around the Bay race and get to the starting line.

 The race itself was kind of a blur since I had just accepted the fact that I was going to be sore tired and uncomfortable, but I did notice a couple of things. The first was that my left foot wasn't hurting yet and I was landing mid-foot now. The second was that the dirt road was now a muddy road and felt great to run on. Once I got past the muddy section on the way back there was only about 1 k left and that's when I saw the flash and heard the loud clap of thunder. The rain now fell in sheets with some wind. I didn't care how I felt, I just decided to get to the finish and back to my car as fast as I could. I continued to pick up speed all the way to the end of the race. When I saw my time I was astonished to see that I had PB the 10 mile race by 10 minutes with a time of 1:28.

 I went to the car to change once again into a dry shirt and that's when I noticed how sore and red (bleeding a little) my nipples were. This had only happened once before when I had run in the rain and my shirt got wet. It had been so minor then that I hadn't thought much about it since and pretty much thought of it as a joke. But from now on if I am running in the rain I will take my shirt off to save the nipples.

My continued training has consisted of a 9k speed workout and the first gravel run of the year around Jackson Park pond on Tuesday April 12. I avoided the gravel as much as I could, but I know the only way to get better is at running on it is to run on it.

 On Thursday I ran another 9k, but this time it was all crushed gravel trail and the last 4k was a time trial. For discomfort comparison, if the bridge in the Around the Bay race was a 10, then I would give this gravel trail run 8. I also did a little hike up a steep muddy hill in the woods as a finisher.

 Then on Saturday I was supposed to run 35k, but only did 18k due to the much misery. It started with the run on the gravel trail again, which made my decision to wear the VFFs seem like a good one until I was soaked in the cold blowing rain. It didn't take long for the VFF shoes to wear away my wet skin at the sides of my feet. I continued on anyway, but luckily at the 9k point a huge puddle (or small lake) made the decision to turn around much easier. It was a good choice because I was cold and soaked so I don't think I would have lasted much longer.

 Now however, I am feeling like I have to push harder to make up for lost time or distance and I am still bothered with the pain in my left foot.

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