I’ve had two full days off to rest and recover. I feel much better.  Today was my test run to see how my fatigue and achy hips and quads are faring. It turns out – they’re all doing just fine. Yay! My period started a couple of days ago, too. I think PMS may have also been a contributor this month to my exhaustion.

This was seriously the best run I’ve had since the half marathon on the 10th! I felt light, happy, pain-free and even a wee bit giddy!

I warmed up with a quarter mile walk (as I usually do) then very slowly started running, since I wasn’t sure what to expect from my legs and didn’t want to push too hard at all today. My intention was an easy, short run.

About half a mile in, I hit my usual dirt path which has acres of dry sage brush and weeds (I have mentioned I live in the wild, wild west of rural Idaho right?) Just a few steps into the path, I heard rustling in the brush not far from where I was running. My eyes grew wide and I grabbed for my pepper spray and I glanced back at the busy road not far from where I was, ready to react if I had to. But, no one was there – not even a stray cat. I heard it again and relaxed, finally recognizing that familiar sound of late summer — grasshoppers! Lots and lots of grasshoppers in the brush!  It’s the strangest sound when there are thousands of them moving amongst the dry grasses. It sounds like a rustling of the wind. So, I ran amongst the grasshopper-infested brush until I came to the road, where I turned and ran back along the asphalt entryway of my neighborhood, which is bordered by several nice, shade trees (many of them pines!), bushes and flowers.

I felt loose. I felt light. It felt easy and comfortable. I didn’t have a plan. I didn’t have a pace to keep and that felt refreshing. Just running because it feels good. 

I veered off the street and onto a little asphalt, tree-lined greenbelt which borders a rushing canal. I run this path all the time. It’s the spot where the pit bull came after me a week or two ago. Today it was all mine. There was only one difference: sprinklers! About 10 of them, going full blast across the path every 6 feet or so. I only hesitated a moment before a huge grin spread across my face and I just went for it. I hit the first one right in the face and it felt wonderful!!!! It’s so hot today already. The second one was a giant fan of water droplets soaking me all over with it’s icy shower. I could hardly see through the water drops on my sunglasses and I didn’t care at all. I kept going one after another through the sprinklers, slapping my feet through the puddles forming on the pavement as I went. It was pure heaven!!!!! Really is there any greater pleasure to a warm runner than encounters with chilled water? I don’t think so. 

I finished up my run, feeling alive again and my hope renewed. My splits today show the natural progression of my run as I relaxed and had fun with it:
Mile 1: 10:37
Mile 2: 9:52
Mile 3: 9:30
last 364.44 feet: 8:19

Just for the heck, I checked my McMillan printout from each of my recent races to see what he predicts an “easy” run should be at my current fitness. Know what? Today’s run fit in exactly as it should. Easy runs should never be speedwork. That cancels out the point of the “easy” part – where your legs are just stretching out and gently moving along. Too much speedwork (as I recently showed – usually results in burnout or injury. More is better, so therefore tons more must mean way better is just not true when it comes to speed work or long distances. Both should be increased very gradually to get the best results.) The meat and potatoes of a good running program are the easy runs. They are the foundation for the “desserts” of the other types of running.

I rarely looked at the Garmin today. I just let the run “come to me” and unfold naturally. Man, that felt good. I have no running plans for the rest of the week. I’m still going to just let my body nudge me out when I need a run and stay in when I can tell it needs a rest. Next week, I’m back on schedule – though I will confess, I am intent on keeping the fun in my running and don’t want to lose that aspect again. So, when my legs say one thing and my schedule says another – even in the future – my legs get the final vote!

Happy Running My pals! 

Today’s Stats: 3.07 miles. 9:57 ave pace. 30:34: total time. Easy run. Felt: Happy!  Temperatures: 75 degrees. Hot. Humidity: 25%. Winds: 10 mph (felt nice!)

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