I haven't posted in a while so I wanted to post an update on where my fitness is at. I have struggled a lot recently with feeling tired and stiff, while my achilles and/or calf have been consistently tight and sometimes painful. I experienced symptoms similar to achilles tendonitis, but I didn't feel like I had done anything specific that would have caused a condition like this under normal circumstances. I have come to the belief that I was probably experiencing some sort of nutritional deficiency, and I have been taking supplements to try and rectify the situation. Recently I have also started trying to decrease tightness in my calves/hamstrings through some minor stretching and massage which appears to be helping to decrease the strain on my calves/achilles.
I have been running reduced mileage for approximately two months now, generally running no more than about 40 minutes per day. I have slowly been feeling less fatigued and more recently my achilles has felt like it has started to improve. Today I ran approximately 5.5 miles, running the first 4.5 by myself in about 30 minutes, and the last mile with Olivia averaging between 9:00-11:00 pace (about 4:35 for the first approx. half mile, and close to 11:00 pace for most of the second half mile until I stopped to talk with a neighbor before running home at a faster pace).
As a test during my run today I started off a little quicker than normal, and I hit the mile mark in 7:12. I naturally continued to speed up, and when I noticed that I was running fairly quickly I decided to maintain the effort until I turned around. I turned around at approximately 15:02 (2.24 miles according to the course tool, so 6:19 pace from the mile mark to the turn around while losing 20 ft elevation). I then purposefully slowed down a bit until I hit my mark equalling one mile from the house in 23:27. At this point I sped up and ran a half mile hard in 2:42 (while gaining 27 ft elevation). This surprised me as I was expecting to run that half mile slower than I did due to the elevation gain. I then slowed down during the last half mile while trying to run just fast enough to keep relatively even splits for the first and second halves of the run, and I ended up running the last half mile in 3:41 (70 ft elevation gain) to reach the house in 29:50, and finishing that portion of my run at 30:00 even.
I was happy with how the run went today. Now, the real test will be to see how tired or stiff I feel later on today, or tomorrow morning.