I missed the group long run yesterday due to my cortisone injection on Thursday. I was supposed to wait at least three or four days prior to running again. Today was day 3 and there had been a post on the training board from someone looking for a partner. She is slightly slower than I am and is on a 3:00min run/30 sec. walk recovery program at about an 11:00 min mile. I figured that would be a great way to easy back into it after my week off due to various injuries and illness.
We met downtown at the skate park with plans to repeat the 6 mile route of the prior week. I didn't clue her in on my secret plan to bail at my house if the run wasn't going well. The route literally runs within 100 yards of my front door. I set my Garmin to start and kept track of our pace. She set her phone to it's pre-programed application of an electronic male voice which would command us to "high" when it was a running sequence and "low" when it was a walk break. Funny how much quicker the walk breaks ended. At first his electronic voice was annoying. We laughed at it and discussed whose voice we would prefer to be speaking to us as we trained. I found out that there is a Lance Armstrong application and you can bet your sweet ass that I'm going to be looking into purchasing it. However as the run progressed, I noticed something I wasn't expecting at all.
Walk breaks made all the difference in the world. We actually ran a 10:30 or less pace the entire running sections. But knowing that you were going to get a regular recovery time in between kept me going. I finish the run today pain free. Yes, pain free. My pace was slower than last week, but who cares. Slower and pain free, and not even that much slower either. I can't believe how much better I feel this week.
And so I shall with my ego in check switch groups next week to the run/walk group. My pride is slightly bruised, but I feel so good that this has to be what all those people are talking about when they say they find peace in running. I just had to slow down long enough to listen to the voice, be it an electronic voice prompting my speed or the voice in my head saying-"this is what you are supposed to be doing dummy". I don't know. Either way, I feel better than I've felt in months and I'm going to go with it.
Of course, if I have to have a voice whispering sweet commands to me, you can bet I'm headed out looking for the Lance version I've given up some pride at this point but not my ability to dream!