Sunday, January 13, 2013

Assessing my running game

As a teacher, my colleagues and I probably throw around the terms assess, assessment, and evaluation far too much just to avoid the reality - that we are GRADING our students.  Gasp!

So, when I laced up my shoes today, I started to thinking about my run in terms of grades - would it be a good run (A-/B+) or kind of crappy (C range or below)?  I realize that some people use actual charts and data in order to evaluate their runs, rides or other active ventures, and I do have a garmin which gives me more data than I used to have.  But, I still prefer the inexact science of assessing a run or ride based on how I feel.  While heart rate monitors and lactic threshold training serve more serious athletes, checking in with my body and, lately, gauging the different aches and pains I've experienced, is probably better suited for my aging body.

Today, as I started out the run and nothing felt 'off' initially, I thought - wow, this might be a good run!  I might be at 90% today.  Woo-hoo - that is an A-!  I was a bit nervous about such optimism so early on (it's like reading an essay, of which I've read my fair share this weekend, and the opening paragraph is great but the rest of the paper just turns to shit), but the rest of the run continued at a faster clip than I've seen in ages and, even better, I felt really good for the entire four-and-a-half mile run.  This comes as a huge relief because, in recent weeks, I've spent far too much time worrying about my ability to continue to run in the short and long term.  The plantar fasciitis combined with the tailbone injury sidelined me, and the few runs that I managed to squeeze out were fraught with physical pain and frustration, and I would have given myself a C- for most of them.  So, to finally go out and enjoy a run a is a true delight!

Being injured, especially when it isn't something major but small yet debilitating issues (like plantar fasciitis), probably challenges the active individual more than any big event possibly can.  Perhaps I'm wrong there, but having to sit and wait and see is definitely not my strength.  For the PF, I tried as many different approaches that I possibly could, excepting acupuncture, and I'm not sure that it was ONE trick or another or if the multi-pronged attack worked.  But, after resting for about 3 weeks, doing lots of stretches with a tennis ball and a frozen water bottle, 2 sessions of active release therapy, buying two pairs of new shoes (one of which definitely works; the other pair, well, I may have just wasted a pretty penny on them), using the Strassburg sock, and, finally, getting custom insoles when I was Boulder, it seems that I'm finally running pain-free.  I do credit much of my recovery to the insoles.  I had read some articles that recommended insoles, other articles that recommended bare-foot running, so I wasn't sure about going the insole route.  However, over Christmas, I saw my cousin, who runs crazy ultra-marathons, and he advised me to get insoles.   So, I went to an insole store in Boulder, In-Step, and liked the owner who is a runner and had tons to say about plantar fasciitis.  I don't love running with the insoles, but they do seem to be helping, and I'll take whatever is working!


kilax said...

You are cracking me up, grading your runs!!! LOL. I think it is good to go by feel, like you said. And not all feel good runs have to be speedy to be a good run either (imho)!

I am happy the insoles are helping so much!

Kristina said...

I'm just glad that I *can* run again - and that it feels good! As much as I'd like to be a speedster, I'll take long term enjoyment over short term thrills.

Raquelita said...

I grade my runs all the time, so I'm glad to know that I'm not alone in this habit. (Mine have all been in the C range this week due to just not being mentally in the zone and sore from yoga.) I'm also glad to see that you are able to run again after being injured.

Thanks for your comment on my blog. I'm glad to find yours! I just put a library request in based on one of your reading recommendations.

Kristina said...

Glad that I'm not alone in that!
Hmmmm, my reading habits have been pretty poor these days, so don't judge me if the book is terrible!