December 31, 2017

Closing Out 2017

I spent Christmas eve and Christmas day at a hospital, supporting family, grateful for medical care and the impressive things that can be done to save and prolong lives.  It was the first time I've ever celebrated Christmas where I wasn't at a family home-hosted celebration.  Sure, there has been the occasional celebratory Christmas eve or Christmas day meal at a restaurant, but it's always been tagged on to a gathering of either my family or E's family (and often friends as well), with the general celebration based in someone's decorated home with presents.

Christmas Eve Seafood Dinner
Mom and I left the hospital for two meals -- Christmas eve at an oyster bar and Christmas day at a Sushi restaurant.  At both places, I was so thankful for the servers, chefs, bartenders and other service professionals who worked on the holiday, most of whom wore Christmas-themed clothing and played Christmas music.  I saw many single people, sitting at bars, enjoying a holiday meal alone.  And I was so, so grateful for the people who made their and our evening out possible, as well as the great fortune I've had to be able to celebrate the holidays in a family member's home as their guest.  I teared up when I dialed in to watch the unwrapping festivities with E's family -- I very much wanted to be there. Somehow, I'd never realized just how lucky I've been to have experienced joyous Christmas present unwrapping with family every year of my life.  Acknowledging that I'd taken this amazing gift for granted was very humbling.

[Edit: E reminded me that we spent Christmas eve in Sydney and Christmas day in Wellington in 2014.  So, we have spent one Christmas away from other friends and family, I've just never done so before this year in the United States.]

Octopus Ceviche Starter for Christmas Dinner
On the running front, I am tentatively hopeful that I'll be able to continue to improve and actually complete the Kaiser half marathon.

This week's mileage totaled 20.5, almost all of it running, and definitely the highest quality week since I'd admitted my leg was injured (and probably the highest quality week for a couple of weeks before the admission as well).

Christmas day, I did a solo chilly hour along the dike of the Mississippi river, 20 easy minutes out and 40 minutes strides/walk intervals followed by stretching, rolling, and glute work.

Tuesday, I rested, and Wednesday I ran a 5K in the ATL hills @ 11:53 average pace.  Afterward, I dropped in 4 60-second strides by effort (some on hills) @ 9:34; 8:27; 9:25; 10:28 per mile pace with walking recovery.  This was, essentially, the first real "workout" I'd done in 3 weeks and I managed to roll and stretch my leg afterwards until it felt pretty good.

I took Thursday as a rest day, and headed out Friday with hopes of a nice slow 5 miler.  Unfortunately, my leg was not on board.  I did 2.55 miles @ 12:16, but then the tightness in the side and back of my leg made me think it would be best to stop to stretch out my glute and hamstring.  From there, I did some intermittent run/jogging to close out the day with a total of 5.2 miles, although probably only 3.5 or so was actually running.  Upon return to the house, I aggressively rolled and stretched and hoped for the best.

Piedmont Park is a great place for flat strength intervals
Saturday AM, my leg surprised me by feeling much better, so I decided to go forward with the planned for (very short) workout.  I did side lunges and glute bridges to warm up, then walked to Piedmont Park, and ran a mile @ 9:44.  The original goal had been 10:30, but E came along and pulled me at a faster than planned pace.  I walked the 5 minutes to recover and started up again for a second mile, but it was not to be.  After 0.25 miles of starting at 9:44 and eventually slowing to 10:11/mile average pace, I walked a bit to recover and closed out the last 0.75 miles @ 10:34.  Looks like the original plan of 2 mile intervals at 10:30 pace was the right call... BUT, I fit in some 8:45 pace strides on the way home from the park and my leg held up afterwards, so this, too, was a success.

Sunday's plan was pace agnostic -- just 3 miles to get me over 20 for the week.  I rolled and did side lunges and glute bridges beforehand and headed out with my father in law for his favorite loop, warning him that I wanted to take it very easy.  We finished 1m30s faster than the last time we'd run it together a couple of weeks ago, and better yet, my leg was barely annoyed with me.  Three 11:30 pain free miles on a perfectly chilly day including 244 ft of elevation gain and loss?  It's a great way to close out the year.

Happy New Year's Eve, y'all.  Stay safe and I'll see you in 2018!


Jen said...

Happy 2018! Glad to hear your leg is behaving for the most part, but I’m sorry about (more) family medical issues. Sending you a virtual hug. xo

Biting Tongue said...

Thanks, Jen! Right back at you on the Happy New Year and virtual hugs.