Thursday, April 19, 2018

Pace-Talk

Every run feels like I'm unwrapping a gift. It's so dang corny; my heart is just so full.

I am so grateful to be running again, and I'm blown away by how quickly my legs came back. I just can't help but be surprised every time I have a good, strong, fast run. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.

When I ran on Wednesday, for example, I fell into a rhythm that felt comfortably challenging but not really hard. I glanced at my watch and realized this "comfortably challenging" pace was 8:55.
I mean...this didn't feel easy but it certainly didn't feel hard either.
And then I held that pace easily for a full mile; I only started to lose steam in the last quarter mile of the run (lungs, not legs), and yet I still managed to maintain a 9:00 pace.

In a race situation, I can apparently still bust out those paces. But on a random Wednesday night run? When I was just running by feel? That's...bizarre. I wasn't even holding those paces pre-compartment syndrome! This run left me feeling so grateful and filled with joy, and honesty a little gobsmacked.

To be honest, I haven't been paying much attention to my paces during my runs, only after. I still feel like I'm in recovery so trying to aim for specific speeds and distances isn't a priority. Maybe that's been paying off.

I simply can't wrap my head around the fact that this is reality now. I just hope it keeps progressing this way, and soon my reaction won't be shock and the need to reflect on where I've been and where I could go. I'm tired of the reflection, I'm tired of the topic, but it's where I am right now.

Right now, it almost feels like I've picked up well ahead of where I left off. I don't know how that's possible, but I'd like to stop second guessing it. My head isn't there yet, but my body certainly seems ready to move ON already! Maybe my head won't be too far behind.

ABK

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Bridge

Way back when I first started having calf pain, one of the first things I did was stop running the bridge. Elizabeth and I had been running it about four days a week during half marathon training. I attributed that bridge to my increased paces and stronger endurance when I first started running, and it has always been my favorite means of speedwork.

It was a weekly staple for me, but I haven't run it since December 2016.

Monday afternoon, while deciding where to run, Elizabeth suggested it. And I decided to take the bull by the horns.
It took me all of 2 seconds to agree. I appreciated that she pushed me out of my comfort zone!
We chose to park closer than usual to take the normal route from four miles to three. It was cool and windy thanks to whatever bizarre weather pattern is going on right now, and we had the wind at our backs for most of the run. I felt fresh from four days of rest. The first 3/4 mile was a slightly too-hard warmup. Then came the bridge.

I was surprised. It was...easy. I was nervous going in, sure my calves wouldn't be ready, but my legs and lungs actually felt alright. Good, even.

We walked at the turn-around, about 1.4 miles in, to alleviate Elizabeth's side-stitch. Then we ran back up, this time into the wind. We took a brief walk at the top. My left calf felt...something. Not tight, but stretched. Like it was saying We have not done this in a long time wtf. I've been pushing my left calf much faster than I did my right (because I can, seeing as how they've both been operated on now), so some discomfort is expected, but it's a good reminder to take it slow.
We took more walk breaks than I wanted, but considering we haven't run any inclines in over a year, I think we did pretty well. Our running paces, even up the bridge, were in the 9s. I felt fantastic.

I know I will need to build bridge runs into my routine slowly, maybe once every two weeks for now, but another mental barrier - another post-injury fear - is getting ready to fall. Soon, maybe it will be like this past year never even happened.
ABK