Of Hamming and Hammies

I was photographed by Runner’s World today.  It’s a safe bet I won’t be on the cover.

When we were doing our class runs to train for the half marathon, we would have members of the previous class come out and run with us.  My wife and I decided to carry on the tradition and go run with the fall class, and be there to cheer them on as well.  This was their 8 mile Ward Hill run, which means 4 really nasty hill climbs over 8 miles.

So, as we meet up, there’s a photographer from Runner’s World taking pictures of the group.  Andrew (the guy who came up with the whole idea for the class) had contacted them letting them know about the class and they’ve decided to do a story on it, I think it’s supposed to be in the January edition, hence, the photographer.

So yeah, I could be in Runner’s World.  Okay, she took a ton of pictures and there may be what, 2 or 3 that get printed?  Maybe, MAYBE one of the group pics gets printed.

I am really pumped for Andrew’s sake though.  He’s put together a great concept for this class, he’s built it up into a sort of cult now with people from all 3 class groups being in the long runs now, and he’s working on getting it through the state wide curriculum committee so the class can spread to other colleges.  Getting this kind of publicity is huge.  I’m proud of the guy.

Since I’m working on the 5k training for right now, I had decided ahead of time I’m just doing one loop, or 4 miles, but then I could be there to cheer on everyone else.  I cannot begin to say how much we all loved it having the previous class out there before to cheer us on, so it was nice to think of paying it forward.

So I kicked in the intervals that you do for Couch to 5k, running 60, walking 90.  There’s a total of 8 running segments.  As I’m coming up on Ward Hill, I’ve done 6 of the runs, I’m walking the 90 second bit and suddenly my mind is spinning.  I can tell that my 7th run will be on normal flat terrain.  But segment 8 will be on the steep uphill.  I’ve been doing the run portions pretty hard — do I do that 8th run at the same intensity?  The photographer is up on the hill catching pictures of everyone as we go.  Going hard on that uphill part would be killer but it could look good for the pictures, right? (Thus, the hamming).  Or should I just slow to a jog on which I can make the whole hill?  Or do I just jog my 60, walk my 90, let the pictures be what the pictures will be?

Okay, time to run #7:  I get going, I’m doing good, and 30 seconds into it, my right hamstring musta grown eyes, saw that hill and said oh hell no.  That puppy seized up and shut me down really quick.

Well, that decision was made for me.  I shut it down quick enough that I don’t think I pulled it or did anything in a way that was going to haunt me for a long time to come, but it was walking the rest of the way for me.  So she got plenty of shots of me hobbling up the hill — not the kind of pictures that are going to make the cover, to be sure.  I will admit, my mind is thinking maybe I should try running again after a few steps, but you know, I’m not going to take a chance on keeping myself from being able to run for the next several weeks.  Oh well, there goes my shot at Runner’s World cover glory.

It’s got me maybe wondering a little…  am I giving up too easy?  That’s two long runs in a row now where I shut it down and walked in — during the Bear Chase because of my back and today because of my hamstring.  So much of running is mental and am I copping out or being smart?  And it has me wondering about the wisdom of my approach now on this training.  It’s by no means full speed when I’m doing the running part, it’s maybe half to three quarter — not really going all out but not shuffling along, either.  Maybe I’m not ready for that much running at that intensity yet.  Or maybe my head wasn’t in it like it should have been and I wasn’t paying enough attention to form, I wonder if I was over striding (which is a great way to mess up a hammie).  I don’t know.  And where is the line between being cautious and preventing injury, and being over cautious?

So I may be scaling down the intensity a little bit.  But it was fun being there as everyone came in from the run, it’s good getting to meet some of the newer class, and I think I’d enjoy doing some more runs with them.  Now this group is training for a full marathon, so I’m not planning on keeping up with them on the long runs for the full distances, but it’s still a good way to keep doing some longer runs but still be there to encourage this group on in their training.

And the good news is, at least next time hopefully I’ll do better at concentrating on what I’m doing eh?


About Ron Walter

I'm just a guy who was so out of shape he couldn't run to get out of the rain. I'm taking my life back. It's not always perfect, not always successful. The victories though are greater than the defeats. I plan to keep it that way.
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