Early this morning (7:15 a.m.) Lisa and I met the Trail Nerds at Clinton Lake for our weekly Saturday run. Lisa had planned for a leisurely 10-miler while I was in it for 20 miles with Nick, Laurie, Stuart (I think that was his name), another lady whose name escapes me, as well as another fellow whose name is also sailing away at the moment–names are my weakness; forgive me.

Here is the GPS info from today’s run:

Gary was supposed to follow along, but this morning the weather was in the single digits (6 or 7) and the wind chill put it at -6º F. From my understanding, Gary is not a huge fan of the cold, and there was an issue: his hose connected to his water bladder had froze, as did mine and just about everyone else’s, so he decided since he didn’t have water to take it easy and turn around at Land’s End to make his run 10 miles.

I had shin issues early on in the race—roughly from about mile 2-6.2 (Land’s End). The bitch of it is that it’s not shin splnts; it’s something terribly annoying on the inside of my shins and it’s only in one specific area that’s relatively small in size, but painful as heck nonetheless. And sure enough it happened in both of my shins. And any runner will agree with me when I say that this kind of pain can zap your energy in no time at all. But I had to push through this. I did, however, stop to stretch then out and caught up with everyone at Land’s End.

The water issue luckily wasn’t something that had worries me since I felt pretty good up until mile 11-12 or so. Then I felt like I really needed either a Clif Shot, which I need water to wash it down with afterwards, or an energy bar of sorts. Mind you, up until that point, I had had nothing to eat or drink. I could feel that if I didn’t get something in my system soon, I would hit a wall for sure. So I decided on the Clif Bar. Problem though. It, too, was frozen solid! So I had asked Nick if we can stop for roughly one minute while I put my Water Pack inside my jacket in order to allow the frozen water to melt, and this would also allow my energy gel and bars to thaw as well. This worked, but it took about a good hour before I could get any water out of it through the tube. So what I had to do was when we got to our next rest point, I just drank from the bladder. To hell with it. I needed water, especially after having had a energy bar. When the ice in the tube finally melted, it tasted like ass, but it was water nonetheless. So I was happy.

When we made it to about mile 17, back at Land’s End, we stopped once again to pee and hydrate/refuel for several minutes. I felt a little fatigued at this point, probably because I wasn’t careful enough with my refueling methods. I’m sure having never run 20 miles before also had something to do with it, but there’s always an exception (I don’t have a lot of faith in these excuses, but it’s plausible of course–more on this at some point in the future). When I feel like this and then have to start running again, it’s always torture on my legs. But, again, I had to push through this and the pain gets placed in a special compartment where it doesn’t matter to me anymore. At least my shin issue wasn’t the only thing annoying me. But honestly, the shins at that point weren’t even as bad as they were in the beginning of the run. As I was telling Nick and Laurie, I sometimes need like 4, 5, or even 6 miles to warm up before I can start really running. It’s the strangest thing, really. It’s not *always* like this, but quite often.

Coming back to the parking lot felt amazing, simply because I was glad to be done. Up until the point we finished, pain had not entered my mind, but I knew once I was done and stopped, it wouldn’t be nice to me. When I finally reached the parking lot, I needed an immediate stretch because I could already feel leg pain coming on. Fortunately, it wasn’t all that bad (very, very manageable), but once I got in the car, my face was burning because it was so cold out there. I did feel bad that Lisa had to wait an hour for me after she had finished running, but she didn’t mind so that made me feel a tad better about it.

Overall a good run with good people. I always enjoy our Saturday runs and I can see my miles increasing. I may take tomorrow off to allow my legs time to recoup. However, after a bit of stretching , a great lunch at the Mirth, and some hydrating, my legs are already feeling pretty good. So I may wait until tomorrow to decide whether I’ll run or not.

Stay strong,