In case those of you non-facebookers (does such a thing exist anymore) thought I gave up the running ghost, here's an update to calm your fears. I've been training for a half marathon for the past couple of months and it has been going well. Though my IT band flares up from time to time, I can actually run further every time before it starts to twinge.
There have been challenges, however. I don't know if it's the swirling prairie winds, or the thinner air (though by now I should be used to this), but I have found my runs to be difficult in the lung department. All of the construction that is inevitable in the northern summers probably doesn't help either. So while I've been building mileage, I've also been slowing down. It is so frustrating. And to make matters worse, after my 12 mile run on Sunday, what I believe to be my achilles started blaring pain and hasn't subsided much, especially when I climb stairs. Did I mention it's the right achilles..... just down from the right IT band, which is right beside the right kneecap that aches when I try to straighten my leg. How many freaking chronic running injuries can a person have in one leg?!!! I know I've been lazy in the strengthening-the-inner-knee-muscle-in-order-to-avoid-runner's-knee department, something both the doctor and the physiotherapist warned me my legs were prone to, but come. on. I have done everything right this time. Well, mostly right. I increased mileage at a snail's pace this time and my total weekly miles is shockingly low for someone gearing up for a half. Maybe that's part of the problem. Maybe I'm not running enough short runs.
I looked up (a little late in the game, but better late than never), a proper training program for one's first half and it turns out I was doing the long runs correctly but not doing enough miles/any speed training during the week. So I tried a bit of speed training and a few longer runs. I'm a bit hesitant to totally give'r because of my history with injuries and it's also hard to find the opportunity to do anything longer than 3 or 4 miles. Why? Because that's about my limit with the jogger. And I have to run before 11 AM. Or after 7 PM (these are my only windows of having enough energy) , but evenings are often hot and the hours of 7 to 10 pm are the coveted hours to myself during which time I like to do creepy Brianne things... things that don't include expending energy. So, without childcare during the week I am stuck pushing a 25 pound kid at an 8:30 minute/mile pace (for the tempo runs.)
All that being said, I had a wicked run today. My mom is on holidays so I left N at home and did a 7 mile run averaging 8:34 minute miles. It felt great. I was motivated by the fantastic weather and two songs playing over and over on my iPod. "Glass of Water" by Coldplay, and "Nantes" by Beirut, the latter of which I discovered on one of the mama blogs I read. Whenever I start crowing too loudly about Nadia singing made-up songs in something other than monotone I keep myself in check by thinking of the writer of that blog's 4 year old son who can sing a Carmen aria pitch-perfectly. Other parents who rave about their tots' musical stylings could stand to search for the archived evidence and maybe gain a bit of perspective.
Any..way.... in answer to my question as to whether I can run 10k in under 54 minutes, the answer is yes. I think my next goal will be to get it under 50 minutes, but that may take a while.
So I have a goal in mind for how fast I'd like to do the half. I won't tell you until after it's over, at which point I'll let you know if I've achieved it. It's a conservative goal for how fast I was before the postpartum year was up, but these days, I'll be lucky if I squeeze in under the line. I'm a bit scared of the whole race experience, not knowing how I'll do with the large crowd, if I should start fast or slow, what group I should start with, etc.etc. I hope I don't see anyone I know. While racing against familiar faces can be motivating (when I won that race in January I was partly motivated by wanting to beat my OB, just for cutting me open, but alas, I was only ahead of him for about a 1/2 mile), but it can make me go too fast and feel like puking. I hate that feeling. And it's a hard feeling to maintain for such a long race. We'll see.
Oh, and for all you runners out there looking for the perfect running shorts. Lululemon all the way, baby. Low enough that I don't get tummy aches from the waistband, but tight enough I'm not constantly having to pull them up. Well worth the investment.