April 07, 2022

Return to Running Recap : Week 45

This is not at all the post I expected to be writing!

A few months ago, my sister suggested running the Glass City Marathon Relay in Toledo on April 24th. I had no interest in running races since I got back to running last May, but the idea of the relay actually sounded really fun. I've run it before and the course is fantastic.

The relay is done with a team of five, each person running one leg of a particular distance. Jeanie asked if Jerry and I would be interested, as well as her best friend Audrey and my younger brother Nathan. It didn't take long to even think about it--training for that sounded perfect to push me to follow some sort of schedule.

I wrote up a relatively easy 10K plan (the longest leg of the relay is 6.6 miles if I remember correctly) to prepare for the race. Jerry and I have been following the plan and are up to running five miles for our long run.

Unfortunately, I've had issues with my knee and I still don't know what's going on with it. I cut back on running--instead of running four days a week, I've been running three. My knee hurts pretty badly the day after a run (it doesn't start while I'm running, but several hours after I finish and then continues the entire following day). Then the day after that, I feel fine to run again. So I was giving a full day's rest between runs.

As of right now, I haven't run since Sunday because my knee is still bothering me! It hurts to walk or even do anything other than stand still or sit. I even notice it hurting when I turn over in bed. I'll run again as soon as the pain goes away, but I'm frustrated. It doesn't feel like a typical knee injury and I don't remember doing anything to injure it.

Anyway, that's secondary to the other problem... our relay team fell apart! Audrey is injured and Nathan said he doesn't feel ready because he hasn't run in a long time. Jeanie has a lot of unexpected stuff going on and said if we really need her to, she can come out for the race but it would just be for one night. She lives in Illinois, so I wouldn't want to put that pressure on her to drive all the way here for the race that isn't going as planned. (I don't even know if my knee will allow me to run then!)

I did ask a couple of other people about possibly joining and was able to find someone for one spot, but it's just not working out to put together a whole team this last-minute (about two weeks away). So, it doesn't look like the relay is going to happen for us. I'm super bummed! I was looking forward to it.

The bright side is that the training has gotten me following a running schedule and I've improved my fitness since I started. Jerry and I both said we are going to continue with the training schedule (it's only two more weeks) and then I'll write another one for maintenance so that we don't lose our fitness. I'm really hoping my knee will be feeling good enough to run tomorrow, but it might be good to give it a few extra days' rest.

Anyway, despite the fact that this isn't going as planned, I'll write a quick recap of this past week's runs.

FRIDAY (Run 4 miles easy)

It was cold and a little windy on Friday morning, but I still wanted to run outside--and I actually went out there and started at 7:40 AM! It was funny when I was getting ready--I had no idea how to dress for the weather anymore. It's been so long since I was regularly running outside that I completely forgot what to wear for different temps. (It was 34 degrees outside)

I ended up wearing my Cold Gear running tights, a thin long-sleeved shirt with a running jacket over it, gloves, and a Buff for my head. It turned out to be pretty good--I was a little warm sometimes, but each time I got close to the lake, I was glad I dressed warm.

I actually felt so good that while I was running, I decided to run five miles instead of four; my long run on Sunday was scheduled for five miles, but since I was feeling good, I figured I'd just swap the four- and five-milers. I ran the same five-mile route that I was walking daily for months in 2020-21 and it felt nostalgic.

As usual, I covered my Garmin so I didn't see my pace, but I deliberately tried to run slower than I've been running outside lately. I wanted it to be a *true* easy run, so I ran at a pace that felt comfortable. A good way for me to notice the difference is in my breathing rhythm--when I run an easy pace, I tend to run with 4:3 breathing (inhaling for four steps and exhaling for three steps). As soon as I notice I'm breathing with a 3:2 ratio, I know I'm probably going a little too fast.

(I actually wrote a whole post on How to Breathe While Running, if you're interested--I learned about it from the famous Budd Coates when I was at the Runner's World headquarters. It's actually much more interesting than you may think!)

After five miles, I saw that my average overall pace was 11:20 (I was imagining 11:30, so pretty much what I expected). What interested me most, though, was my heart rate. It was really consistent for each mile! And it was in the ideal "easy zone" for the entire run (according to the heart rate reserve training I wrote about last week).

Summary: 5.01 miles in 56:46 (an 11:20/mile pace). Average heart rate was 147 bpm.

SUNDAY (Long run - Run 5 miles easy)

I already wrote that I switched my long run to Friday, so on Sunday, I just had to run four miles. It actually snowed on Saturday night, but after having such a good outdoor run on Friday, I decided to run outside. There were only a few areas on the roads that had any slush/snow anyway. (It was 34 degrees again, same as Friday)

I used the same pacing/breathing strategy as I did on Friday and I had pretty much the same results! My average pace was 11:21/mile and my heart rate was consistent. I was in the "aerobic" zone the whole time.

A few hours after I was done running, my knee started hurting; then it got pretty bad on Monday. I skipped Tuesday's run and I'm skipping today's run. If it's better on Sunday, I'll run. I've actually really been enjoying the outdoor runs in this weather. The weather is miserable for everything else, but great for running!

Summary: 4.01 miles in 45:30 (11:21/mile). Average heart rate was 145 bpm.

Okay, well that's what's going on for now. Maybe now that I'm not doing the race, I'll write up a heart rate training plan to start when this schedule is done. I like seeing the splits on the new Garmin!


  1. Huge sad face that you're not doing the race, but maybe that's what you knee needs to heal. I'm so sorry. Hugs too. Oh, and if your knee isn't better soon, maybe time to see a PT person or get it checked? Just sayin'.

  2. Smart move listening to your body. Heaven knows you do not want to mess up your knee. I know you wrote about the possibility of having RA. Perhaps that would explain the pain you've been experiencing. Hope you're well soon.


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