We had a turkey trot on the calendar with friends for ages that we were looking forward to. Unfortunately, I was not improving at the same clip as E, who just keeps getting faster with every additional week at home post-sabbatical (because for the first time in his life, he's working out 4-6 times a week and keeping data in a spreadsheet about it, and ummm... Nerds are motivated by data (in addition to other things), okay?)
At the last Parkrun, I'd aggravated my left hamstring insertion/glute, so I'd done my best to keep training intelligently afterwards. It was tough going -- it hurt, was obviously not great, and I didn't want to injure myself further, but it didn't hurt so bad that I couldn't go out and try something most days. So, for about 2 weeks, the something I could handle was lots of stretching, rolling, and a weak effort at running with me calling it short or slow to protect my leg and butt. Needless to say, these workouts looked really lame on the spreadsheet when compared against my aspirational training plan.
|Who doesn't love a hometown turkey trot?
In short, prep for the 10K was not *remotely* what I had on the plan. Even so, I still headed out with a modest goal of beating my last 10K time. It was not to be.
I went out by effort and tried to reign it in on the first mile, which I was pleased to hit around 10:15 without too much heavy breathing, but it quickly got harder from there. My leg/butt started to tighten on the second mile, and as I made an effort to keep it reasonable, I started to slow below my target pace. At some point after the turn-around, I got a *serious* side cramp unlike anything I've ever experienced on a run. Oddly, it seemed like it could have been in my right intercostal muscles. I had to stop, bend over, and dig my thumb between my ribs and then just breathe slowly, relaxing the muscle I was pushing against while walking slowly. In all of my years of running, I've never had a cramp like this -- it was bizarre. I walked and pushed on it and tried to relax, and finally, a little less than 2 minutes later, the tightness mellowed out and I started to run again, slowly passing folks who'd passed me on my walk.
At around 1 mile before the end, D surprised me by waving from the side and joining me. She'd accidentally registered her son for the 5K (thinking it was a kids' 1K), so she'd done that distance with him to support him (he kicked butt!) instead of the 10K. But, after sending him towards the finish, she'd decided to run out on the 10K course to wait for me and run the last mile in with me. I was so happy to see her. Thanksgiving, indeed! Company on the last mile in a slow, struggling 10K is a wonderful gift. (E PR'd his 5K by 1'16" -- as he noted, he's probably getting to the end of his easy PR streak.)
Our holiday celebration was wonderful. Sister hosted a party of 14 including E, mom, brother, 3 nieces and 1 nephew plus my uncle and cousins affiliated with my recently deceased aunt. We set up a card table and people rotated through the 4 open seats to rip through a 750 piece puzzle in very few hours, which was very fun.
Brother showed up with a rotisserie machine and contributed a 6 pound prime rib roast to round out the meal primarily prepared by sister and mom and me of ham, mashed potatoes, gravy from ham drippings, stuffing, green beans and mushrooms, rolls, veggies, cheese, hummus, and charcuterie, salad, and of course too many pies (my mom bought rhubarb in Summer and froze it to make a rhubarb apple pie!) plus carrot cake squares with cream cheese icing (cousin K for the dessert win!).
We spent 4 nights away from home for the first time since our sabbatical. I woke and had that familiar (but now unfamiliar) sense of, "Where am I?" "How do I get to the bathroom?" I had it almost every day for a year, and now, we've been home, without much travel at all for almost 4 months. It was a nice reminder of how homebound we've been and how thankful we are to return home to a place we love, where we feel comfortable, and where we can drive to share holidays with close friends and family.