I’m BACK and Some Questions About Cadence

Last night I had a fantabulous run. Most importantly, my leg didn’t hurt at all for the first time since July, so that is big news! Unfortunately, my lower back hurt because I slept on it goofy or something, but that is a new ailment and not one that is running related given that I was coming off of three days of no running. My first few running steps hurt my back, so I took a few seconds to stretch a bit and then walked half a block or so. Then, I just ran easy until my back loosened up. Even with that rocky beginning, my overall time/pace was really good for a 4.2-mile training run on a moderately hilly course:

My mile splits were 9:59, 9:00, 8:33, and 8:43 (the last half of the last mile was a lot uphill, the whole “Legion/Cemetery Hill” if you’re local). I am thrilled with those splits, especially given that the run felt easy. I’m not sure why it was easy…it could’ve been that I took three days off, that the humidity and temps were lower, or my new method of “Flintstone running”.

I worked really hard at increasing my cadence and focusing on moving forward instead of bouncing. I also worked on keeping my cadence the same, meaning I strided out a bit more on the downhills and shortened my stride on the uphills. I have no idea if this is right or wrong; it just felt like the right thing to do to keep my rhythm. Here’s a chart of my cadence over the last 4 runs (most recent at the top):

Even though I felt like I was taking way more steps, my cadence wasn’t that drastically different. Or, is a change of 6 drastic? I don’t even really understand cadence that well. However, something was different because I ran an 8:33 mile in there and it didn’t even feel hard. I also felt like I was coming down a lot more gently on my feet. I guess I won’t know until I get some more training in and a race to really know! Our hometown race is this Saturday and I’m terrified. I haven’t decided yet if I will actually try to race it or if I’ll push Campbell in the stroller and use that as my excuse. I’m so not in race shape right now, and there will be tons of people I know watching the finish. Yikes!

What are your thoughts on cadence? Do your hometown races freak you out?

Clinton Half Marathon

For the past 4 years I’ve participated in one of the races at the Clinton Half Marathon. I did the 5k in 2011, the 1/2 in 2012, the 10k last year, and the 10k again this year. I really love the 10k distance because you don’t have to kill yourself sprinting but it’s not far enough to really hurt. And I really love this race because the course is so clearly marked and the pre-post race area is nice. It’s a nice course too–on the Mississippi River of a bit, then through downtown, then some residential areas, then some more business areas, and finishing up in a residential area. There are some killer hills out there so it’s not a PR course, but it’s a fun one and I think I’ll continue doing the race yearly.

Our whole family did the race this year (5k for Evan and 10k for Chris), so I pushed Campbell in the stroller. That actually worked out okay because I’m still in recovery from my nerve thing and not wanting to push it too hard (literally haha). Four of my running buddies did the half marathon, so I ran with them the first 4.5 miles until the two races split then finished up with one of the other ladies in our group who was also doing the 10k. Here is our pre-race picture, minus Chris who isn’t cool enough to be in our group. Or, maybe he wants no part of our matchy shirts and pre-race picture rituals.

Evan did a great job in the 5k and got 1st for the 10-14 age group. He ran a 22:27, which is one second slower than his PR (he’s mad of course).

I ran the 10k in 1:06:01, which is nothing to write home about, but isn’t bad for a Sunday “long” run with a stroller. I haven’t run over 4 or 5 miles in quite some time, so 6 was long for me. I also was able to run my normal stride with minimal pain during the run and NO pain after. I feel like the end of this nerve issue is in sight! I’m still going to run every other day and take it easy with both speed & distance until things are normal, but I’m feeling very hopeful.

Watching two of my best running buddies finish their first 1/2 marathon together was amazing and I had to fight back tears when I saw them. I seriously think it was more emotional watching them than it was when I finished my own first half!

Do you think it’s more emotional watching friends finish races or finishing yourself? Maybe I am just overly hormonal today!

The Night We Almost Died

Last night my friend and I ran around 8:30, which is now almost completely dark. We had on reflective gear and headlamps, as usual for our nighttime runs. We’ve run the same route hundreds of times. We were about a mile from her house, on a country road, when we saw this in the field:

It looked exactly like that, two glowing eyes, with it being too dark to see anything else. I huddled behind my friend in fear, but she yelled and clapped her hands. It didn’t move, except to turn its head to follow her as she went by. Then, it wasn’t there anymore.

We’ve had cougar sightings in the area again, so of course we immediately thought of this:

But when you are out in the midst of nowhere afraid at night your imagination can get crazy, so we also considered:

We walked backwards at least a half mile, afraid that we would get pounced on from behind. After we got home, and I had calmed down and become more rational (and had done some Googling), I decided what we had seen was probably this:

The eyes were the right size & height, and the way it just sat & stared at us was typical of a deer. Still, that was pretty dang scary. Who wants to see glowing eyes in the middle of nowhere? Yikes.

Has that ever happened to you? I am worried now that I might be too wimpy to run in the country now at night…we’ll see!