I'm still alive, just a little incommunicado due to the fact that the owner of my free internet connection apparently split town for the holidays. More importantly, I actually have been running, though not quite as much as I was before my shin pain showed up. It's just a maintenance thing right now, as I try to keep up some semblance of fitness while letting my body recharge and recover enough for me to start beating it up again. I don't really need to think about racing again for a while, since the next team points race isn't likely to be until the end of February (a 4-miler).
To summarize the past seven days...
Thursday: Took an overpriced "flat rate" cab home after the transit strike had officially, but not really, ended, putting me in a grouchy mood at the outrage of paying $11 bucks to go a mile and a half. But then experienced the serendipity of an abandoned 7-foot Christmas tree on the sidewalk outside the building, thus saving me the anywhere from $30-60 that it would have cost me to bargain for an identical piece of foliage two days later on Christmas Eve. Carrying that thing up five flights and wrestling it into a reasonably stable and sustainable upright position definitely counted as a workout.
Friday: Ran an unmemorable 5 1/2 before work and used my superior physical conditioning to deftly avoid the deranged Orthodox Jew who was standing by the 72nd St Christmas tree market and verbally assaulting female passersbys by yelling at them..."I JUST LOVE THE CHRISTMAS BUSHES! I LOVE THAT CHRISTMAS BUSH!" Decorated aforementioned free tree.
Saturday: Ran nine brisk miles in the morning and started to recognize the early repercussions of not doing my piriformis stretches of late, those familiar sciatic twinges shooting from my lower back and down my leg. Note to self: Stretching is important.
Sunday: Ho ho ho! Woke up early to spooky, beautiful Upstate mountain mists and ran 15 minutes down a hill at a very easy effort and 25 minutes back up it at a very not-easy effort. Love that 17% grade. Opened some gifts and then headed south, back through Manhattan and then out to New Jersey for more familial festivities.
Monday: Morning spent entertaining 3-year-old and very high energy 6-year-old, inducing serious thought about the pluses of avoiding parenthood. Back to Manhattan for nine more miles to shake off residual haunch soreness from the previous day's hill.
Tuesday: Procrastinated past the point of no return on the run, but did finally attempt an ab workout with a grab bag of crunch varieties. They didn't seem that bad, so I did a lot. By evening I was starting to regret that decision.
Wednesday: Woke up with a full understanding of why one might choose to gradually begin an abdominal exercise program. I'm reminded of how my stomach felt three or four days after my hernia surgery...right around when I decided to go off the pain meds. I still managed to shuffle through an easy 5 1/2 in the park though, so I do perhaps exaggerate.