What a difference your surroundings make! The intermediate group coach (the fast coach from last week....I think my regular coach is injured :/) gathered us up and asked if another run at 9 min per mile was okay. Jennifer and I quickly spoke up and said "NO!". Getting additional help though was a great thing for us. Because of the size of our overall group, even more people were enlisted to help with the training run. We ended up running with a guy named Ron, who works at Phidippedes. He kept the same pace we did, was nice and friendly, and just wanted to have fun. He wasn't too serious, wasn't concerned about running fast, and because the faster group headed out first we were our own unit. I know that at races we have to know how to pace ourselves so we don't run too fast, but I can't have every Saturday be race-like. That's a sure fire way to get burned out.
Because the pressure was off, the run was awesome. I ran the whole thing, with the exception of a quick stretch break for my calves (more on that later). All 45 minutes! Woohooo!! The only problem I encountered were related to my shin splints. I've gotten them before, but it's been a while. Here's what happened...
Thursday I must have been pushing off with my toes a bunch, because I felt my left calf tighten up so much my foot became a little numb. This happened a lot when I first started out, but I think because I'm increasing my mileage through this training I'm running into a couple problems from my beginner days. Yesterday (Friday), my left shin hurt so bad that I wasn't sure how the long run on Saturday would go. I broke down and finally iced my shin before going to bed. That helped a lot with the pain, but I still had a lot of trouble going down the stairs to my car. About 3/4 of the way through the run this morning my calves tightened up again, mostly with my left one. I tried to stretch them out for a minute, but realized quickly that they weren't going to get better until I could finish running and dedicate some serious time for stretches. I kept going with a decent finish and then really focused on stretches. My heels just wanted to stay off the ground because the muscles were so tight.
A couple suggestions for what to do when this happens to you are in this link. In my experience with this problem, I prefer stretch #1. The podiatrist that came to speak to us today also suggested turning your foot in a bit to increase the stretch shown in stretch #1. Try to use your instincts on this...overstretching can be dangerous too. It may seem like no big deal that my calf muscles are so tight, but I'm at a crucial point in my training. The last thing I need is to tear my Achille's tendon because I pushed myself too hard. Learn from my mistakes!!