One of Canada’s Olympians, Reid Coolsaet, recently tweeted “When I look back at my career, I doubt I raced to my potential but hammered out my recovery runs, said No.One.Ever.” I couldn’t help but laugh. Over the years, I have often been reminded by running partners, husband and coach that I am not suppose to push myself on recovery days. “They are about building base mileage,” my coach reminds me. “The workouts are to build speed; take it easy on the other days. ” While I am getting better and slowing down the pace when I need to, there are times when I get carried away with my thoughts and forget; my legs take off and the rest of me follows.
With ten weeks to go until Chicago and steadily increasing mileage, I was glad to have an easy 12K planned today. So that I could sleep in a bit (I had to pick up the teenage dude from work at 2:00 a.m. so a morning run was not favoured), I decided to run in the late afternoon even though it meant running in high temperatures. Like most runners, I stalked The Weather Network all day, hoping for a change in the forecast. Nothing. Even the rain and storms were consistently predicted to arrive after 8:00 p.m.
Just after 4:30, I headed out. “Oh, my legs are tired,” I thought to myself as I started. “Keep it slow. Keep it easy. All you’re doing is logging miles.” I could feel the wind picking up and it wasn’t long before I realized that I was going to have to run into some gusts for part of the run. About halfway through, while impatiently waiting for a street light to change, I saw them. Just northeast of the town, the skies were black and I could see the clouds were getting closer to home.
The storm wasn’t going to hit us until evening but I found my thoughts turning to lightning protocol:
1. When you hear thunder, seek shelter. I had my ears open. There were lots of places to turn to: the stores, the soccer club, friends’ homes. Check.
2. If there is lightning, crouch close to the ground. Curl up in a ball to make yourself as small as possible. Do not lie flat. Check.
3. If you are with a group of people, spread out. I’m alone. No problem here.
4. Stay away from metal objects. Check.
As I ran, my head kept turning towards the clouds watching them get darker and move closer and closer. I worried about my husband, out on a bike ride, and wondered if he was caught in the middle of the rain and needed to be picked up. And I thought about my boys at home, who were probably completely oblivious to what was going on outside.
Sure enough, despite the darkening skies, the dudes had no idea that a storm was on its way. Hubby was obviously fine as he hadn’t called. Me? I beat the rain home by about 10 minutes but, without even realizing it, I broke the rules for my recovery run. My watch made it clear; my pace was faster than it needed to be. The miles seemed easy today but, tomorrow, I am pretty sure that I am going to regret them.
Then again, tomorrow is my rest day. I bet I can hammer out some solid rest.