My calves are killing me. 2 days of hard running more than 20 plus miles last weekend took its tool. All week long my calves have been barking. I've gotten my runs in but it hasn't been easy. And it didn't stop me from racing this weekend.
One of my favorite 5K's went off early this morning. It's a simple out and back course. As I prepared to pull out of my driveway my running neighbor Chris King rolled by and asked me where I was going at this ungodly hour. Running of course, I answered. So was Chris so I knew I would have my hands full.
I was out of sorts. My calves hurt. The Czarina is out of town. The drive to the race was marred by a road closure due to a nasty fatal crash. I got to Gateway feeling rushed and not in a racing frame of mind. I knew that despite the soreness and distractions I was ready to run faster than I had last month at the Edison 5K.
The weather was about as good as it gets in April. 63 degrees and no humidity. My mind was in a fog as the gun went off and I felt hemmed in by a bevy of high school runners who couldn't decide what pace to run. I just gunned it and before I knew it I could hear Chris behind me saying we had hit the half in 3:19. That was news I didn't need to hear. I throttled back and Chris eased by me and by the mile had about 15 yards on me. I heard 6:59 and just hung on for dear life.
By 1.5 miles Chris was 30 yards clear of me and I tried to work with another masters running to keep him from getting away. I worked as hard as I could and kept the invisible string intact until we hit 2 miles and I could see him accelerate. I quickened my tempo but he steadily pulled away. All the while I was catching and passing other runners. Mr. King ran a hell of a last mile.
I am happy for Chris. If he ever decides to run more than 3 times a week he could be a really great masters runner. I'm happy for myself. I had run fairly fast even though I was a mental mess. If I can stay healthy for another year I know I can run faster even as I grow older.
I have resisted the urge to do speed training. But since our racing season is almost at an end I'm going to try a speed session a week to see how my legs respond. If my hamstrings survive then it will all be gravy.
But back to those calves. I finally broke down tonight and treated myself to the jacuzzi at our club house. I don't know why I don't use it more often when I'm sore. After a session with the foam roller I headed over to the jacuzzi and relaxed. The calves feel better and I'm ready for a few more races before the heat takes hold.