The one thing I was fully committed to doing this summer was training. Really for real training.
I wanted to push myself. To see what I was still able to do.
And I've been pushing.
Still just three runs a week (cross training on the non-run days), but focused, planned, following-a-training-schedule runs.
And here's what I've learned...
I can't really follow a training schedule anymore.
The training schedule wants me to run at a certain pace on certain days; to hit specific times on specific days.
And my knees just look at that schedule and laugh.
Because some days I head out the door and feel fantastic and I can run like the wind (okay, maybe the breeze... or someone blowing a pinwheel to make it spin around... but you get the idea). And the next run, I just have to hunker down and put in the miles because speed just isn't going to happen.
And I never know what kind of day it is until I actually start to run.
So that's how I've taken my training. Do what the schedule says, in whatever way I can, and cover the distance for the day.
And I've kind of felt like it's been sort of working. Maybe doing some good. But there's been no real way to know for sure. No real test of the training plan.
I haven't run a race since the first Saturday in June.
That's a long time ago.
But on Saturday, I got up very early. And I gathered up my race bag and a cooler full of ice packs, laced up, and headed north for the original road and trail race.
This was going to be my test.
I eased into the race. Let my knees loosen up. I stayed relaxed. I watched my form. I pushed just enough. When there wasn't much distance left, I pushed more.
And that was that.
I passed this test.