We had some crazy weather on Monday, so we actually took a day off from running. Almost seemed weird. I probably needed it, as I slightly strained my calf muscles Sunday afternoon playing volleyball. Probably would have been fine if we had not ran close to 11 miles that morning. Anyway, we all went to the MSU XC course Tuesday after the kids got out of school, but upon arrival the bottom fell out, and we were drenched. So was the course, so we opted to run fartleks on the gravel roads of the adjacent South Farm. The kids did, however, jog a warm up around the lower portion of the XC course first, probably a mistake as it was quite wet. But, the combination of mud, standing water, and rain really got everyone excited about running, and it ended up being a very good practice. I went with the faster boys and we tried to simulate 1000m intervals by running our fast portions for 3 to 3:20 minutes, then running easy in between each for 2 minutes. We did 5 of those across the hilly, muddy, and gravelly terrain in the rain, then 5 serious hills, then one more fast 3 minute burst! If my calf muscles were sore the day before, they were screaming after this with all the hills and wet mud!
On Wednesday morning, my right calf was quite sore, to the point where it hurt to walk on it. So I wrapped it using a taping method I like. I kept it taped all day to keep my achilles and calf muscles from overstretching. With it taped up, I had no problem running 8 miles with the varsity boys that afternoon! We average just under 7 minutes a mile, with some of them running faster for the first half than the rest of us. Joseph probably averaged about 6:30 per mile for the whole run. Aaron also ran very well today, as he has been doing lately. A couple of the guys had run a good bit that morning, so they did not go as far as the rest of us, but did fine while they were with us. Ethan was again ever steady! We wrapped it up with the last couple of miles being about 6:30 each, then everyone did six 100m strides.
On Thursday, we headed to the South Farm for some 400m intervals. After warming up and a mile warm up run, we started. The intervals were done on a very difficult hilly, gravel road. We ran up 400m, then down 400m. Needless to say, the uphill ones were quite a bit slower. Hard to get any traction on gravel. On the way down, you had to stay in control so as not to fall. Most of the kids did 16 of the 400’s, although a few did less, and Joseph and Ethan did 18! I thought everybody did a good job considering the difficulty, not to mention it was pretty warm. Joseph and Kamau were, of course, the fastest, with their uphills being 1:18 to 1:20, and their downhills 1:08-1:10. Although, Kamau whimped out and only did 14, and with a pretty good break in the middle. Punk. Needless to say, I again had my calf wrapped, anticipating the strain the hill would put on those old muscles. No complaints afterward. In fact, everything was feeling better and better.
With no meet this weekend, we were able to get in a pretty good long run on Friday afternoon with the varsity boys and girls running for an hour. I took the varsity boys through the MSU campus, then through University Estates and down Bardwell Road. It was a great run and a beautiful day to run! The temperature was ideal. I again wrapped my lower leg, but after today, I don’t think I will need to again. I cannot over emphasize the effectiveness of the wrapping method for letting your calf/achilles region heal, and while still running at a decent pace!
I plan on stopping by the MSU XC course this afternoon at 4 PM for a tempo type run on the course. Hopefully, it is dried out enough for that. Sunday morning, we will again meet at 6:50 to 7:00 AM at the MSU South Farm for a 10 mile run. See you there!