A miserable, unpleasant week of it, bouncing between humid and overcast to torrential downpours. We’ve avoided any floods in this part of the city (so far… so far), but it’s already the wettest August in sixty years, and there’s only so much water that a river in a built-up area can hold.
This also makes the weather fairly unpleasant for running. I started Hal Higdon’s 12-week Spring Training Plan last week, and while the distances are going fine so far (well… to be honest, the longest run in the first three weeks is 3.5 miles, but it builds! it builds!), the rain’s caused some difficulties even though I usually find it fine to run in. Most annoyingly my iPhone is probably dead after Wednesday’s run, when drizzle turned into heavy and consistent downpour that just didn’t stop. Okay, it was very old and somewhat sluggish and I was planning to get a new(ish) one when the iPhone 5 came out anyway, but still, dammit. Annoyed.
Also annoyed with my right knee, which has been bothering me since the last couple of runs and is the reason I’ve taken a few days off. It’s not horrendously painful, but it’s got that sharp, niggly pain and stiffness that feels like something’s on the verge of going a lot more wrong. It’s also got very clicky all of a sudden (which given that the rest of my joints click like maracas maybe isn’t so surprising, but it’s new in this knee, at least), and that combined with the pain combined with the surface tenderness that’s still there from when I fell on it a few weeks ago makes me think it’s better to go easy for a while.
So that’s me, watching the rainclouds from the shelter of indoors:
(Clouds over Cooper’s tower, just before sunset)
Quieter on campus in August, especially after the business of graduation days. The fourth-years have left for pastures new.
Runkeeper’s elevation graph of my usual route:
Also, there’s a small but evilly steep hill at about 3.2 miles that the GPS never picks up on, which is easily the toughest even though it’s not a patch on the height of the others.
Hills are awful. They’re a kind of awful I’m getting used to, sometimes in a weird Stockholm-sydrome way where running on the flat worries me because there’s no uphills to beat and no downhills to look forward to, and to be fair to them they’re a kind of awful that’s making my leg muscles look like they were sculpted by Michaelangelo, but they’re awful all the same. Especially in the first two miles. Especially especially when a large chunk of that two miles is along a very long, straight road where there is no avoiding the hill ahead of you.
I got around this for a while by taking one of the little side-pavements that’s tree-lined and windy, but it was tree-lined and windy with paving slabs, and paving slabs are clearly the bane of my existence because, trip, bang. Again. And this time it truly was a bang – huge bruises on both knees, right one still sore three weeks later. Nobody saw (because you have to check), but still. Ouch.
So there is no escaping the sight of the hills looming ahead of me. And yet, I am determined to add more of them.
Meanwhile I’ve started Hal Higdon’s Novice Spring Training Program, with the aim of getting a bit more structured about building up my weekly mileage. That means getting used to four runs a week rather than three (or, if I’m being totally honest, two-and-a-half) with three back-to-back runs midweek. Good news! In the first week, two of them are 1.5-milers, and the one in the middle only 3 miles. Bad news! Either running two days in a row was a lot harder than planned for or running later in the evening after two gin and tonics was a lot harder than planned for, because dear God that was tough going. My legs are not my friends this evening.