Ice is nice, just not under my running feet

It’s bound to happen sooner or later, and considering I (knock on wood) haven’t experienced any major incidents in the five or so years I’ve been running, I should count my lucky stars I’ve taken just a couple of spills mid-run. Once thanks to an intruding tree root on a trail run, and the other because of a tiny pothole not even a mile into my first race (yep, that was embarrassing.)

Still, damn if it doesn’t hurt when you take a fall. Today’s perpetrator: icy back roads.

I should have known better, that the warm temps earlier this week mixed with a frigid cold front over the past 24 hours surely would wreak havoc on lesser-travel roads. All that water pooled and then frozen over. What made it all the more dangerous — this particular road I found myself on not even three miles into my 8-miler — was the fluffy snow blanketing the slick street. Pretty enough, these dime-sized flakes sifting through the gray sky. But not so much once they combined forces with the frozen ground below.

I’m really glad my running friend Amy was with me for this long run. A far more experienced runner than I, Amy made me feel better by sharing her own taking-a-spill stories as we trudged over to a nearby coffee shop for a Band-Aid; I broke the fall with the palm of my hand, which was pretty cut up. I’d taken off my gloves only moments before — even in 9-degree weather I get warm enough to take off my gloves sometimes — and I’m guessing a pebble, maybe jagged ice, made the cut. I have to say, though, even as I sat there for a few moments, collecting myself and wincing at the pain in my scuffed-up left knee and soon-to-be-swollen right palm, I thought to myself: “Well, at least I have something interesting to write about now!” And: “I’m an athlete, and I’ve got the war wounds to prove it!”

I’m a dork like that.

Back to Amy. Having a running partner today, for my long run in particular, most likely saved me from calling it good after that fall. I’m guessing had I been alone, I might have just half-heartedly ran back to my car and headed home. And then I would have been depressed, even though I shouldn’t have been, at having only logged a fraction of my long run. I did feel OK to keep going, especially after taking a short break to bandage up. It wasn’t all that serious. I have a feeling I’ll feel the fall tomorrow when I wake up, but at least tomorrow is a rest day.

Finding a weekend run training friend was something my marathon training coach laid out as a goal for me this coming week. I was so happy when Amy was game for it this weekend, not only because she’s super sweet and has been running for a long, long time, but because she’s a very good runner — someone who has run several marathons and is willing to share her experiences, tips and advice. There’s no doubt she challenges me to be a better runner.

As we move past the holidays, i.e. 10 days off from school for my kiddos, I’m looking forward to getting back into a routine. This past week was hit-or-miss on my training plan. I ended up cutting short the mileage on a couple of days, even missed one day altogether because I was just too, too tired from everything. Total miles: 26, when I was scheduled for 31.

But I’m not beating myself up over it — I’m impressed that I got out there as much as I did, really — and I did experience one rather amazing run Friday.  I was scheduled for 6, but because the weather was ideal — 40-degrees, sunny, clear roads — I plugged in 10k in my Nike+GPS. I figured that tiny extra would be good given I’d missed the day before. I ran my neighborhood hills and felt great, starting out nice and easy. It was so gratifying for me to realize I was going faster later in my run because I didn’t start out too fast. I ended up running my best 10k time, races included, which is just crazy to me. I am not sure I’ve ever broke 8 minute miles at that longer distance, but I did Friday: 7’56”.

This week ahead: I’ll again strive for 6 training days, though I am toying with switching my rest day so that I can have one day off on the weekends. Total planned mileage: 31. Principle #3: Allow for illness and make adjustments. (Keeping fingers crossed I stay healthy, but realizing colds and other winter ailments are reality.)

Stay safe out there! :D

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