Natalie and I ran the 2-mile fun run at Berry Dairy Days this past Saturday. There was also a 10k and a half marathon. It rained the entire time, so it was quite a soaker. Natalie has only run two or three times since track season ended, and not at all since June 5th, so she didn't expect to throw down a crazy fast time. Still, she managed a 38 second PR, running a 15:42 (she ran a 16:20 at a 2-mile race last fall). Her splits were 7:55/7:47. She was hurting toward the end, but that was to be expected. Our next race will be the Run of the Mill 5k on July 7th. I'll probably let her run on her own there, while I see what I have in my pretty minimal tank.
My Maffetone-esque training is progressing into its 6th week. If you're not following along at home, several weeks ago, I decided to do all of my training runs at a pace slow enough to keep my heart rate in zone 2 (roughly 120 bpm, or under, for me), with only the occasional race serving as speed work. I've lost weight — 7.5 lbs. in 4 weeks — and I feel fitter, but I still am unable to run at a faster pace while staying in zone 2 than when I first started this system. I've been running at a 10:15-10:30 pace pretty consistently the past 5 weeks. I was able, however, to run a decent 5k a couple of weeks ago on this type of training alone. I'm going to stay the course, with only one modification. During the weeks in which I'm not racing, I'm going to give myself one "fast day." It'll either be a short tempo run, or some 1/2 mile surges during a run. Other than that, it'll be slow zone 2.
I also wanted to follow up on my orthotics/no orthotics experiment. I ran one week (two weeks ago) while wearing my orthotics in my running shoes for every run. I followed that up by running for one week without the orthotics in my shoes. I did this to see which approach was less stressful on my perpetually injured heel.
I have absolutely no clue. This heel has been finicky at best for over two years now. The only thing I know for sure is that running more than just a few miles per week does still bother it, to some degree, as does running hills. The frustrating thing is that I've never really been able to establish a pattern based on whether or not the orthotics have an effect. Maybe I need to go with each approach for longer than just a week. During each of the last two weeks, there were periods when the heel felt fine, and times when it was really aggravated. And there were times when it felt fine during my runs, but ached like crazy at other times during the day (especially at night, and often really ached when I woke up in the morning). I've taken ibuprofen regularly for a week at a time, but I'd really like to stay away from it if at all possible. I still ice it after nearly every run and stretch nearly as frequently. Ah, the trials and tribulations of a middle-aged runner.
That's about it from the Western Front. I'm trying to very gradually increase my weekly running mileage. I cracked the 14-mile mark last week. For a guy whose DOWN week was 30 miles a couple of years ago, a 14-mile week is paltry. But given how many weeks (months) I've been unable to run during certain periods for the last two years, I'll gladly take a 14-mile week right now. Onward!