A day off from running can do wonders for all those running pains. It did for me anyway.
Today, day four of my running-and-writing quest, was the third day that I laced up the old New Balances and hit the trail. The good news is that unlike two days ago, my legs felt like legs again. They weren't a pair of lead weights that I could barely lift off the ground.
If there's good news, you know there's got to be bad news. Today it was my lungs that were burning. The back-to-summer temperature and high humidity seemed to combine to put a vice grip on my lungs. I've battled mild asthma since I was a kid and while it doesn't bother me doing ordinary activities, it can make breathing a chore when I run, especially on hot, humid days like today.
Usually I can't stand waiting for traffic when I'm running - it interrupts the natural flow. But today I needed that break, even for a few seconds, so that I could catch my breath. That brief respite did the trick and from that point on, I felt pretty good.
Not long after I hit the lake shore path, I spotted a runner about 50 yards a head of me. Up to this point I'd only passed a mom pushing her baby while chatting on her cell phone and a man old enough to be my grandfather. This looked to be a fair match, in comparison. The runner appeared to be in my age category or younger.
I didn't have a lot of gas in the engine, but I thought I had enough to pass him. So I set my sights on him.
Two minutes later, I had cut his lead from 50 yards to 50 feet. I was about to kick into my passing gear when he veers off the path. He's taking a short cut. Do I follow him, or stay the course? I've got to stick to my training regimen. Maybe I can catch him again. It won't be easy, but if I keep up my pace there's a chance.
Another two minutes later and his short cut spills off onto my path again. He's got a 50-yard lead again. I'm determined to catch him this time.
Two minutes later, I again have him. We're on a circle path around a small pond. I am ten feet behind him and then he veers off the circle path. He's headed in a different direction. I don't pass him.
So for the first time in three runs, I don't pass a single runner. On the flip side of the coin, no one passed me today.
The best news is that after three runs, I have the expected sore muscles from running for the first time in a long time but my knees are holding strong. Only time will tell, but I'm cautiously optimistic that I've conquered the knee problems that kept me sidelined these past five years. That makes all the Labor Day pains a lot easier to bear.