Where to begin. I’ve run this race many times over the last three years, so there’s really not much to describe in terms of the course: start at Worcester State University, run in either clockwise or counter-clockwise direction make a couple of turns, and, depending on the direction you’re running, you finish in front of a bus stop or in front of Aristotle. Today, it was clockwise which means Aristotle was the finish line.
For what seems like forever at this point, I’ve been battling dents and dings related to running: jacked my piriformis doing the To Hale and Back trail race, tried to push through it at varying intervals, which led to shin splints…both of which reduced the amount of actual running and HIIT bootcamp training I could do so basically despite having had a few decent outings, my conditioning is not what it needs to be.
This is the first time I’ve run this course in this direction since February, when I finished with a 24:16 time. In February and March, I was really at my peak form: hitting personal best times all over the place and feeling AWE-SOME about the whole thing. The last few months have really kind of sucked and more and more lately I find myself asking no one in particular when I’m going to feel “good” again. The shin splint comes and goes – kind of like a roommate you don’t particularly like or want around – just long enough to take the wind out of my running sails. I find myself limping sometimes and I’m not really sure if it’s because my shin actually hurts or because I’ve just become accustomed to it.
It seems disingenuous to say my conditioning is for crap because I’m basically running at the pace I was running most of last year, but I’m certainly not where I was the last time I ran this particular course.
Today was a glorious day outside, perfect weather. Perhaps a touch too much pollen in the air, but then again I’m probably just looking for excuses. I got a quick warm up run in around the WSU campus. Running in this direction I will often run as fast as I can the first mile – it’s pretty much downhill – and then find a comfortable pace to latch onto for the final two as there is some gradual elevation gain, but it’s otherwise so flat as to not be noticed.
So the result? About a minute slower than the last time I ran it: twenty seconds a mile. When written out it doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you’re hauling your butt across 3.1 miles it seems like forever. Not quite as slow as I ran it in January – by about 7-seconds – but basically it tells me I’ve been shuffled back to where I was 5 months ago.
Time for some more long runs and more frequent longer distances. This race has a special place in my heart as it was this that gave me the benchmark I needed to see progress when I first started running, it was frequent (and CHEAP!!!) enough that I could keep doing it, and it introduced me to a running community I don’t think I would have kept running without. That’s why my backsliding hurts so much: it’s literally the benchmark I use for everything else and how I’m feeling about my running condition.
Clockwise (last 5):
June 16, 2018: 25:08. 75, clear. Beautiful.
February 24, 2018: 24:16. Mid-40’s, clear
January 27, 2018: 24:24. 34 degrees, sunny. Just beautiful.
January 13, 2018: 25:14 53 degrees, cloudy, 22 mph wind, rainy
November 25, 2017: 24:55 Sunny and 28 degrees.