Sunday, July 24, 2016

Update, I like running again.

For about three weeks after we came back from Ireland, every run felt awful--just a slow, unpleasant, walrus-with-emphysema slog. Which, yes, I knew I was coming off of two weeks of near zero physical activity and only a little bit of running in the weeks before that. But still. (I am sure it had *nothing at all* to do with the quantity of bread, butter, meat, & booze I consumed on the Emerald Isle.)

Let's just call this symbolic of the whole trip.

Then a couple of weeks ago (thankfully!), I finally felt like I turned a corner. I started seeing lower numbers on the watch (both pace and HR), and occasionally caught myself thinking, "Hey, this actually feels NOT like the 9th circle of hell!" Weirdest of all, I sometimes came home from work on rest days with crazy ants in my pants, kind of desperate for some physical activity. "I'll just sneak a quick 4 miler in before karate, no one will ever know..." I gave myself July 4 completely off as a luxurious present and wound up running 10 miles because I couldn't stand the inactivity. Saturdays have also generally been rest days but last week, screw it, I wanted to go do a free 5K somewhere novel with my friends. (Also I woke up full of energy so I went early and ran ANOTHER 5K before the 5K because WHY THE HECK NOT??)

I've been loosely shooting for right around 40 miles/week but hadn't been keeping super close track of the numbers, so it was a little startling to total things up & find that I ran 45 miles this week, 43 last week, and 46 (!) the week before that. Also I've done my 3 hours of lifting/strength work/PT every single week since we got back, plus karate & some rock climbing. And...I feel kind of great.

Even when I haven't necessarily felt great, running has felt like the path of least resistance. Like, no energy to work, cook, clean, run errands, catch up on misc. tasks, read, play dumb clicky video games, or even follow the plot of some Netflix show? Eh, I'll just go run. While running 13 miles last Sunday, I bumped into some friends & we chatted for a minute about the weekend. They asked what I was up to & my response was basically "Yesterday was busy & we were up late & today I feel kind of blah so I'm pretty much going to chill & relax & do nothing."

"By running 13 miles."

"Oh, that doesn't count as doing a thing, that's just running."

"We have very different ideas about what is relaxing."

I'm trying to keep tabs on my body so that I don't accidentally do something *really* stupid and end up with an injury before CIM training even starts, but honestly, everything feels really good. And the upside of really enjoying running & trying to err on the side of NOT doing too much means I don't have any weird anxiety or guilt or hand wringing about taking a rest day if I feel like I need one. Eg, last Wednesday I hadn't slept well the night before, got slammed at work, felt generally crappy, & had no interest in doing anything but eating chocolate for dinner and going to bed at 7. But even then, by Thursday afternoon my legs were itching to go again and I felt like I hadn't run in FOREVER; ten easy miles that afternoon felt like three.

Even on days that have felt a little tougher, I kind of don't mind? Like, academically, I can register that I feel tired or my legs feel heavier or whatever, but my reaction is, "Yeah; this is a thing that happens and it's cool," and "Yep, I'm pretty awesome at running strong through this, actually; good job, me!"

I'm traveling (and working pretty long days) this next week, and after three straight weeks in the 40s, I think a bit of a cut-back week will probably be good for my legs. I'm planning to just kiss 50 miles in the weeks after I come back, leaving me about three weeks to cut back a little as I start speed work & get ready to run a 10K on Sept. 4.


  1. I always like reading when someone comes back from seemingly inexplicable blah runs. It gives me hope and reminds that even a series of crappy runs doesn't mean my good running days are over. Glad you're back to loving it!

  2. Awesome! I'm in the opposite camp right now of feeling close to burned out. Hope you can stay happy and relaxed for as long as possible!

  3. Being able to shrug off bad runs and say, "Part of the process" is what indicates strength for me - everyone can run well on a good day!