Have I said yet how hard it is getting back in shape?
Run #2 (Jan 2) :
“Long Run” #1 (Jan 5) :
I will shamelessly go on the record saying I (naively) didn’t think a month off would be completely detrimental to my fitness. I envisioned myself hopping right back out for double digits and seamlessly transitioning right back into hard training, maybe just SLIGHTLY slower than before.
Apparently, not the case.
Spending all of December after CIM with beer & cookie marathons did a serious number on my endurance and fitness. SHOCKER!! For an injury-forced break I’d normally have done some low-impact cross training to get my heart rate up over comatose level every once in a while, but with the skin sutures requiring clean healing, sweat was kind of out of the picture.
Which was fine. Health is most important. I knew my leg would be better afterwards and really didn’t want to be bothered with a staph infection, so I happily soaked up my newly minted free time and embraced Zero Month.
But boy am I paying for it now.
It sucks and it hurts and I hate how even the most compression’y of the compression leaves room for something to jiggle. I hate how uncoordinated and awkward I feel – like a baby horse learning to walk. … with three legs. … on ice. … blind and deaf.
But with all the pain and extra focus required (to avoid bad habits), each run seems purposeful. Everyday I feel myself getting stronger – still a long way from where I was pre-injury, but on a smart and steady path there.
And the real benefit of being totally, completely, fatass out-of-shape?
Reopening a world of constant improvement. Where PDRs (personal distance record) are reset and expectations attainably low. Progress is obvious and undeniable – from running my work loop without stopping, to eventually double digits, to the first race back. Feeling the gradual increase of ease and decrease in exploding kill-me-now lung burn.
In distance running, at least after the beginning initiation, that obvious sense of accomplishment gets squeezed and hard to come by. Shaving seconds off tempo pace, maybe a few minutes from a race PR – the “glass ceiling” is pretty quick to hit and can become frustratingly monotonous.
After five marathons, I found that sense of improvement again when I started going to the track. New workouts, new times to break, obvious gains. Those confidence-boosting workouts spurred an inspired training cycle, and I’m hoping this “start from scratch” approach will do the same.
Yesterday K and I got to run together again, the first time since before CIM. It felt good to be back in a Saturday Long Run routine, and ease back into harder running. We covered eight miles, with the last two “hard”.
(No idea how fast or slow “hard” is, since I made K promise beforehand not to tell me any paces no matter how I begged, and like a good runfriend she obeyed.)
I decided to run “wireless” the first two weeks back, knowing that getting wrapped up in numbers would be defeating, frustrating, and unnecessary for an institutionalized headcase runner. I wanted to get back into stride based on feel, measuring success by things like “no walk breaks!” and “didn’t feel like an elephant!” and “looking less and less like the Phoebe run everyday!!”
I’m prepared to be horrified by what I see when I finally strap Garmin back on this week, but vow to measure myself only against me now, not the me of 2012 or anyone else.
If “easy” is 10:+ and tempos are old MGP, so be it. ACCEPTING IT. There’s only up to go from there, and I’m ready to put the work in to see just how high that will be.
So here’s the summary : I’m back running, PAIN AND STITCH-FREE, and am excited to someday stop feeling like a herded buffalo disguised in Oiselle & Brooks. Eugene Half training starts in three weeks, I plan on running at least two races with “K” in the name before then, and am not looking at reuniting with 26.2 until fall earliest.