After Thursday's less-than-stellar 9 miles, I was hoping to redeem my running self this past weekend. I've been keeping an extra eye on my IT bands and hamstrings all week - they have been TIGHT and I'm afraid I'm using my foam roller so much I'll soon wear right through it and need another one. I haven't had any flare-ups of pain, but they feel quite constricted.
That in the back of my mind, I was diligent about my rest day on Friday. I realized I had penciled in a 2 mile recovery run, but I thought it would be better for me to erase that. Instead, I headed to my favorite yoga class. The Friday evening class at my gym is taught by this great, dynamic, sarcastic, tough woman. Instead of focusing on flow, she focuses a lot on holding poses and moving quite slowly. For me, this is perfect and gives me the best of all worlds: it's challenging while being non-impact and inwardly soothing, it lets me work on both my strength and my flexibility, and I always come out feeling refreshed. One of the great things about the instructor is that she takes requests at the beginning of class, and really lets the class lead itself so no two classes are alike. Given my current state of leg affairs, I mentioned I'd love to do some hip opening poses and hamstring stretches. Well, I walked out of class feeling like I had a new pair of legs. It is like she had sat down with me and listened to my complaints for an hour before tailoring a class exactly to my needs. I loosened things I didn't know needed loosening. We even rolled side to side on yoga blocks to loosen the ol' ITB - and I didn't even have to ask (but I think the giddy look on my face when she suggested it said it all!)
Since this is a "running" blog I guess I'll also mention my weekend runs. Saturday was an easy 5.5 miles in the park. The weather was great, and my only complaint is that I should have gone earlier to avoid the tourists around the reservoir in the park. I must admit I took advantage of some of the huge puddles left by Friday's rainstorm by splashing in them extra hard every time a group of people forced me to run through one in the hopes maybe they'd get splashed. Yes, I'm a bit of a territorial bitch. But my god, people, it's water, not sulfuric acid. A little on the soles of your shoes will not do you irreparable damage. 5.5 miles in 47:22 (8:34 min/mile)
I went to bed on Saturday night excited for Sunday's long run. I was inspired by several sources to explore the Upper-upper west side of Manhattan. I've done countless runs in which I head west, but always have turned south along the Hudson River, through Battery Park, to catch the path along the East River back home. But for my 14-miler yesterday, I decided to run north through Central Park (I don't know how long the "but the Great Hill will be good training for a course with a hill at the beginning and at the end" will last cuz damn that was hard coming back home...), continue west to Riverside Drive, and head north. Oh, was this ever a great idea! Riverside Park to 122nd Street is gorgeous; the fact that it was Mothers' Day and families were out enjoying the perfect weather made it even better. I cut out of the park near Grant's Tomb, which I had never seen except to glimpse its stacked pyramid in the distance. I ran along Riverside Drive until about 140th Street, at which point I knew I needed to turn around. And it was a struggle turning around, seeing the promise of the George Washington Bridge in the distance, beckoning me with its amazing views. The only thing that made me turn around was the fact that on my future long runs, I'll always have a bit of uncharted territory as I venture further. Eventually I'll make it to the bridge, and across to Jersey perhaps.
That's why we run, isn't it - to get a taste of something we've never felt on each run. It can be tangible, like seeing things we've never seen or going somewhere new. But of course it's the intangible, too. Finding a part of ourselves we've never seen and letting it lead us, seeing where it will take us.
OK, I've figured out how to be extra-savvy and post the map of my run. Maybe I'll start doing this for all of them! Now y'all are gonna know where I live (I say that as if people read this. Just watch, I'm gonna make it to Digg.com)
14.1 miles in 2:09:55 (9:09 min/mile)