SIGNS OF SPRING.
Yes, we actually are showing some signs around here that winter is on the downslide. Some of the things I saw yesterday: sunshine and blue skies; runners in shorts; robins; spring flowers poking up from the earth; people riding with convertible tops down or sunroofs open; snow melting; the temperature guage in my car at 72! According to the weather statistics, the last time it was this warm this early was in 1990; the last time it was even 70 degrees was in October. It has been amazing the metamorphisis over the last 5 days, what with warmer temperatures and melting snow piles, when the weekend before we had another late winter storm dumping many inches of snow and up to several feet of drifting snow. I have seen the probably 3 feet of snow in my back yard melt down to the shabby grass from last year.
This morning, I would have had to have had a peg leg to not run outside, and even then, I might have hobbled along if necessary. It was still 59 degrees at 6:30 am, probably calling for shorts, but I couldn't bring myself to get out of the tights just yet. March 14? Still winter. So I ran in tights and a long sleeved shirt. That was amazing in and of itself, since the last time I ran outside I still wore a face mask.
I hit the streets while it was still dark (of course, thanks to DST!), and decided to head to the track, up the hill about a half mile. I haven't been up there since probably December, when I was still running/walking, and today that half mile uphill kicked my butt. I just couldn't get all the way to the top without walking. But the plan was to do some sprints on the track, if it was in fact cleared of snow. Just a week ago, the track was totally under a blanket of snow, so I didn't really know what to expect but was hopeful it would be melted. I was thrown off at first by the huge (higher than the fence surrounding it) snow pile that had been plowed out of the alleyway adjoining the track, but I could see the track itself was clear of snow.
The interval workouts I have been doing have been 30 seconds fast, 90 seconds normal or slow, but since it was too dark to really keep track on my watch, I opted for sprint 1/4 of the way, normal jog the rest of the way. The first sprint felt so good. I just can never get over that long-ago feeling of fast running, so even running a meager 30+ seconds felt wonderful. I know I will never really be fast again, not without a lot more work and good luck, but my legs felt loose, and since I have been doing this workout now for almost 3 weeks, the faster pace felt easier. Even the slower recovery jog felt easier. This feeling lasted pretty much throughout the whole workout, so even if I couldn't see my time and be sure I was keeping the same or better pace, I went by how I felt on the recovery.
I also was keeping track of any signs of the plantar flaring up, since I do have to admit that increasing speed has likely also been a factor in the recent problems. After the ibuprofen/icing/stretching therapy over the last few days and an adjustment of the orthotics, I came through fairly good. Just a little "touchy" pain, but nothing that got me limping afterwards. I just think it will be a constant battle to overcome this.
After 8 laps around (not 2 miles, since it is a 5 lap to the mile track), I headed back down the hill, one of those steep, get-out-of-my-way type hills. I had to weave back and forth on the sidewalk, since it was somewhat uneven, and the college students were starting to converge on the campus for their early morning classes. I figure 2.8 miles, good enough for a sprint workout and testing out the foot. My time for this, including the uphill walk, and waiting for traffic lights on the way back was 30:35, probably 5 minutes or more faster than in December. I still have a LOT of work to do on catching up on my mileage and my goal of getting back under 30 min. for a 5k, but at least I am making some progress.