Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I don't know when I should

Although I like nothing better than to run (or these days, cycle), getting myself out there in the first place still remains a challenge. My whiny lazy butt wants only to stay nice and warm (or cool, in the summer) and sedentary with a book or some knitting and a glass of wine. Putting on running (or cycling) (or cross training) clothes and starting up is something I'm not sure I'll ever want to do, even though I know the results are always worth it. So when I'm not feeling well I never know if I should force myself to exercise like I always force myself, or if I should take a break.

Last night I decided to force myself to run. I still have a cold hanging on, still have a bit of a cough, but mostly I'm feeling normal. I thought that if I didn't join Olivia's buddy run after work that I wouldn't run after work all week and once again I'd hit the weekend feeling like a slug. So I stayed late at the office and then headed over to Heather Farm to join the group.

And then wondered if I had missed a memo somewhere canceling the run; nobody was there. I decided that even if I ended up being alone I'd go out and run. By myself, in the dark. Finally I saw a few people gathering and walked over to join them. Apparently lots of people are sick, including Ms. O (feel better Olivia!) so there were less than 10 people there (including 3 of us who aren't even on that team). When we ran over to the stretching area I was far behind everyone else and figured that I'd end up running alone. I didn't mind since I knew there were other people out there, people who would miss me if I never returned, people who'd come to look for my body in the canal. Yeah, I had a vivid fantasy of that.

We stretched and the first group of 5 sped off - really sped off, they were out of sight almost immediately. I found one woman who was about my speed and we ran together. She was slowing down for me I'm sure, and I was running just a titch over my comfort level, but I was still able to talk. When we got to the turnaround another woman who had fallen off the back of the first group joined us for the way back - she found it too creepy to run alone.

I was being very very careful of my knee and my back, not to mention my breathing. While I needed to know how my knee would feel I didn't need to trip on the very broken and uneven pavement of the trail. I spent almost the entire run looking down and luckily my head lamp was bright enough to show me most of the worst spots. We finished 4.6 miles with an average of 12 minute miles, a consistent pace for the entire route. We took a very short walk at the turnaround and stopped at a couple of red lights, but otherwise ran the whole time. I was very tired the last mile or so but I didn't want to fall too far behind so I kept up.

On the walk back to the car I started coughing; it had cooled down considerably from the 70 degrees it had been earlier in the day and the cold air on my soggy body wasn't doing me any favors. My knee felt ok, my back felt sore, my sinuses felt amazingly fine. After I warmed up, got home, cleaned up and dried off my cough got a little better. I had that wonderful after-run feeling though and it made the slight body aches and left-over cold much easier to live with.

This morning I'm coughing a bit, still stuffed up, my knee is no worse than yesterday, ditto my back. I don't think I caused any harm by running but I also am not any better. So do I exercise tonight or take another (yet another) day off to rest? My natural inclination is, of course, to do nothing but I need to remember that I'm actually training for an event. I'd like to get on the trainer that I spent all that money for and which is gathering dust. I guess I have to see how I'm feeling after work and make the decision then.

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