It's 5:45 on a Saturday night, but it feels more like 10. I swam for an hour and a half this morning, a lifetime ago. I spent the day at my kids' swim meet, in a hot, crowded, echoey pool ushering 8-year old girls to their many and varied events. I have been loudly upbeat and encouraging all day. I have smiled and high-fived and accepted several soaking wet hugs. It was a great meet.
But I have to turn around and do it all over again tomorrow. We have to be on the road to New Haven by 6:30 a.m., the three kids and me.
I must run. I will not get through tomorrow's meet with sanity intact if I don't have something besides Game Night and sleep to break up the relentless swim meets. So Brian plays games with the kids (Dominion -- our family fave) and I head out for a headlamp run.
O, glorious night. I love running in the dark.
My right knee (tendinitis) and my left foot (plantar fasciitis) are still a bit wonky. I have Super Feet insoles in my Kinvaras for a little arch support (goddamn high arches), and a Chopat strap on my knee. I have stretched (never stretch). I may as well be 80, bionic, but I'm heeble-hobblin' out the door.
I am not comfortable running in the woods by myself at night, so this is a road run. I'm lucky to have a gorgeous stretch of road, River Road along the Mystic River, easily accessible from the house. A mile and a half to River Road, 6 miles out and back, a mile and a half home. That's the plan.
The River is lovely. I'm used to running this route early in the morning with the sun coming up across the water. This is different. Darker. The highway is much louder in the distance. There are even a few cars on River Road. You rarely get a car at 5 in the morning.
I stop to stretch my foot against a telephone pole. It hurts a little. My knee feels pretty good. Being injured is surreal. Things hurt; they don't hurt; they hurt again. There's no rhyme or reason. Run through it. Stop. Keep running. Walk a bit. Stretch. Run. Ignore. Run.
You never know if you're getting better or fucking everything up. Run through it. Rest. Cross train. Run. Whatever.
My brain is all over the place. One minute I'm all healed up running the Vermont 100 this summer. The next I'm writing to the race director relinquishing my spot. Forget Vermont. Get healthy. This could be a building year. I'll run the Grand Tree series, short trail races. No, I'll be fine. I'll PR Vermont. Freaking Vermont.
I want to run fast. Back in October I ran a 5K in 21:02. That's less than a 7 minute mile. 6:48 or something like that. Are those days over forever? I'm barely holding a 10 minute mile here.
Maybe I could find a cool open water swimming event. Swim around Key West. I know a couple of people going down to do that. 6 miles around Key West. Who's in? Who's paying?? Maybe swim the Hudson River. Oil slick swimming. I'm swimming like a maniac these days. It's exhausting. But good exhausting.
The river is smooth, wide and very black. I hear but cannot see flocks of geese. Clearly they see me. Honk, honk. Good evening!
Home, ice, compression pants (Gretchen!). It's an oatmeal for dinner kind of a night. Some nights are like that.