On Thursday, I wrote a post about a run that ruined my day. But on the flip side, I want to write a short post about a run today that went way better than expected.
Thursday night, I developed a nasty knot in my right hamstring. I didn’t know what it had come from – my run that morning? The deadlifts I had done Wednesday morning? Some new moves I had done in a Pilates reformer class Tuesday night? The strain didn’t really make sense, and I assumed that it was just some tightness that would go away in a day or so. But it got worse Friday, and this morning, it still hurt. What to do about my planned “long run” (5k long run = 6 miles) today?
I woke up to a beautiful morning, and I decided that while I wasn’t going to go out with my running group, I’d try some really easy miles on my own. I had a 5K loop around the trails behind my house in mind, but told myself that I could stop anytime if it wasn’t going well. I assumed I’d do a mile or less before calling it and heading home.
I started running tentatively on my street’s uphill, and my hamstring felt totally fine. I then took a left onto the downhill that would lead me to the trail. Downhill would be the true test for a hamstring… and it was still fine. I could still feel some of the tightness, but it really wasn’t bad at all. So onto the trails I went. I was still taking an easy pace, but the steep incline up to the top of the Open Space was giving me a good workout for my lungs anyway!
Whenever I’m doing a long run, I usually plan a course that takes me nowhere near home. Maybe it’s just me, but if I have a 20 miler planned and then I run by my house at mile 15, the temptation is just too great to say “good enough” and pack it in. Today, though, I intentionally looped back and forth staying close to home. I wanted to be able to stop running anytime if my hamstring got bad, and not have too far of a walk home from wherever that might be. But on this beautiful day, with the misty mountains ahead of me and my neighborhood at my feet, I just wanted to keep running. And so I did.
I kept turning toward home, passing the intersection at the end of my street multiple times. But each time, I chose to go the other way and add on another half mile. I did this over and over, until at mile 4.5 I got attacked by a sprinkler. (No, really I did: it popped up out of the ground and started spraying directly at me on the running path, soaking me to the skin. No idea why it was positioned there or what caused it to go off like it was on a motion sensor to my presence.) I had worn some ill-advised cotton capris thinking I wouldn’t be out there long enough to get sweaty, but once those were wet, I took that as a sign to call it. (Plus, I really needed to get home to get ready for a spin class that was starting soon.) 5 miles done – way more than I expected to run!
This is my favorite kind of run. When you feel fabulous, soaking up the sun and the sky, and you just want to stay out there and run forever. I wished my run would never have to end, but I’m so happy that I got to experience such a joyful, happy time out on the trails. Injured or not, I can’t wait for my next run!