As some of the more observant of you are already aware, I made it to the end of September with a run every day. It never started out as an aim, but just became something I thought would be cool to have in the log once I realized it was possible.
After aggravating the injury last Wednesday it certainly took a measured approach for a few days to get there. The gentle late night run on Thursday, then a not so bad 7 km on a treadmill on Friday morning with the hill setting turned up to 6%. On Saturday I arranged to meet Satohi (who I am coaching for Tokyo Women's International Marathon) in Sendagaya to support her with a pre-speedwork run (i.e., she had to speed up to 5k pace for a couple of minutes with a good rest between efforts). I woke up at 9:00, precisely the time we had arranged to meet. Oops. Some quick calling and apologizing allowed me to get there only 35 minutes late. The run went quite well. The sore bit kept reminding me of its existence, but wasn't too bad. But we clocked up 12.5 km, which was certainly better than I expected.
So that just left one day, Sunday, to get the milestone. I had to leave the house at 10:00 to get to a craft beer festival by 11:00 (I was volunteer working there). That left not a lot of time for the run. The day dawned cool and wet, as in raining steadily. Without time for a proper long run, and with a slight head-fog created by a couple of drinks celebrating our 18th wedding anniversary on Sat night, it would have been easy to just can the run, hang out with the family for a bit, and head to the beer event. But there was just one run left to rack up the full calendar month of running! And it would be ages before the boys would wake up...they are teenagers after all...so there was not much choice was there.
I got out the door and decided to keep it simple by heading off on my normal weekday course, up to Komazawa Park, a few laps and home. I thought that if the leg held up I would try to keep the pace up around lower aerobic level and try to make 20 km -- six laps. So I wasn't going to push anything much and was looking to settle at a pace of about 4:40/km. However I was doing that within a km or two of starting and things were feeling good. I started running laps of the park and was surprised that despite being under a heart rate of 140 I was running at around 4:20/km and feeling quite comfortable. The leg was even feeling alright.
As the laps started accumulating my heart rate rose only very slightly into the low 140s, climbing to high 140s only late in the uphill section. It was just a great feeling rolling along at this pace in the rain, knowing somehow that things were gunna be alright. The contrast to those fatigue- and angst-filled struggles of a week or two back was stark. I soon realized that I was running at about or not far off 90-minute half marathon pace and started to think that it would be good to measure the half-M point, though not do anything different to what I was doing. So I ran a seventh lap to reach 19 km and then worked out where the exact point would be on the way back home for the half, which ended up being 92 minutes. Not exactly sub 90, but not bad for a long-run substitute! I had another 2 km to get back home and just kept on with the same pace.
I was thinking about how far I could have kept running at this pace. While it is always hard to be sure, I was certainly starting to feel a fair build up of fatigue in the legs, despite still being able to turn them over at the required speed. I think I could have kept it up until 30 km without too much drama, but we would have been getting into leg-thrashing mode, and I certainly didn't want that ;-) (nor did I have the time).
So that completed almost 23 km for the day (at 4:24/km), 85 for the week, and 503 for the month. Not so bad. Not so bad.
While the sore bit has not healed completely, and I am still going to have to be a bit careful with it, I am feeling much more upbeat than I was a few days ago. I think I can carry on running some easy/steady training runs this week mixed in with some sessions in the pool and or elliptical trainer. Then we shall see what we shall see.
And today is definitely going to be a rest day (the beer event took its toll, you see).