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November 10, 2008

Yesterday I learned that a week of walking around Walt Disney World, even at 23 or 24 thousand steps a day, is not a good substitute for working out regularly, especially if one cuts way back on running the week before the trip for fear of re-injuring one’s ITB and only gets two workouts in the week after the trip. That lesson came in the form of a 4K race in which I didn’t reach my goal of being faster than last month’s trail run of similar distance. Improving my time at least a little should have been easy; I dropped fifty seconds between the two races when I did them in 2006, and this last event was a road race, with no pesky slopes or gravel or wood chips to slow me down. But I sabotaged myself by only getting out to run three times between these races this year, which is really sort of pathetic. (I didn’t even notice until I was at the start that none of my running playlists were on my nano, having been wiped out when I tried to synch more podcasts than would fit on my harddrive.) I did a bit better with going to the Y to do weight work, which is something that wasn’t even on my agenda two years ago, but still, I slacked, and it showed in the race.

I also didn’t warm up for this race the way I normally do, so that probably contributed, too. I only did a handful of squats and a few stretches inside before going out into the cold for a little jog around the parking lot and some jumping jacks waiting for the start. I’ve never jogged or jumped pre-race before, and I don’t think it helped, at least not in place of the balance exercises I skipped this time. During the race, my right hip hurt from the start and my shins complained periodically throughout, and I took many more walk breaks than I’d like. I was extremely confused at the one mile mark, when the guy with the stopwatch said 4-something as I went by; I only figured out today that he was giving times for the 10K, which started about five minutes after the 4K. I know I tend to go out too fast, but not that fast!

After most of my races, I’ve felt like I could have pushed at least a little bit harder. This time, I tried pushing and it just wasn’t there; I passed a woman maybe two hundred yards from line and when she came back by me I just didn’t have it in me to catch her again. Still, I did finish the race and did not come in last and did improve my time from 2006 by almost two minutes. Also, Paula Radcliffe came on my iPod and told me I’d set a new personal best for the mile. (She doesn’t know about the seven seconds faster personal best from my first Nike+ unit.) Most important, I’m still running, which I really didn’t think I would be when I started down this road over two years ago.

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