Monday, July 9, 2018

From Scratch

OH HEY THERE RUNNING. Long time, no see.

Hi there friends! It's been a while, but these last couple of weeks I've actually gotten out on the roads & put some miles on my (frail, weak) legs.

My original plan had been to start running again around June 15, which would let me pull off close to the same post-running break plan as in 2016--about 2 months of base training followed by three weeks of speed work & a 10K in early September. Unfortunately, the rest of my life didn't really cooperate. The week of June 11, we had The Ring Cycle most nights which often meant leaving work early just to make the show on time. (Weekday morning running isn't really feasible for me unless I want to get on the gym treadmill, and that just really was not how I wanted to do my first few runs back.) I was in SoCal in a hotel the week of June 17th & went to the trouble of packing all my running clothes, only to arrive at the hotel & discover I had forgotten my shoes. So it was the 25th when I finally went for my first post-B2B run instead of the 15ish, but, eh, you work with what life gives you.

(Vaguely related: OMG if you ever get the chance to see an entire, full Ring Cycle performed, dooooo itttttt! Yes it is ~17 hours of opera over four nights but it is SO! DAMN! GOOD! you won't even notice. I studied it extensively in music school & watched a number of video clips for different assignments but had never seen even one of the actual operas performed live. Seeing SF Opera do a full cycle with an *amazing* cast was 100% worth getting tickets two years ahead of time & eating dinner at 5:30pm for four days.)

I'd charged up my watch during the previous weeks but by 6/25 it was dead again, so that day I just did a little jogging around the neighborhood as I ran errands, a grand total of about 2.7 miles from our temporary place to my doctor to the pharmacy and then back home again. After two months of no running and really almost no cardio at all, I expected that I would feel like it did when I took a month off after my first marathon, or when I went to Ireland for three weeks and did nothing but sit on a bus and eat dairy and drink whisky--that is, like an elephant with emphysema. But this run felt....weirdly comfortable. Or, rather, the downhill and flat parts felt comfortable; going up hill was noticeably harder!

Now, that day since I went watchless, I had no idea what my pace or heart rate was and I didn't really care much; it just felt to go out & get my legs moving. But since then I've been trying to stick pretty faithfully to the base training protocol that's worked well for me in the past, which is to try to keep my heart rate between 140-155, no matter how slow I have to go. When I've done this in the past after a break, it's not uncommon to find myself running 11-12-13+ minute miles in order to keep my heart rate that low, and in the beginning I often find I even have to walk up hills or take brief walk breaks, but after 2-3 months I eventually get back to easily running 9-10 minute miles at that same heart rate. So yes, I'm going quite slow right now, but it's actually been pretty nice to ease back into running and know that not pushing things and staying nice & comfortable is exactly what I should be doing for the next few weeks in order to eventually get my speed back.

I haven't done *quite* as much running as I would have liked due to some work stuff and the fact that we've been busy moving back into our house (**SQUEEEE!!!!**) and cleaning all the things and trying to get organized oh and also entertaining guests, but I've been pleasantly surprised at a) how good running has felt and b) how easily I've been able to up the mileage without really feeling it. After that initial 2.7 mile run, I started with four milers, then six when that felt fine, and finally eight after about a week and a half. Having never taken a break this long, I guess I sort of expected that even four miles would feel tough and that eight or ten would feel impossible. But to be honest I still feel like I could probably run about as far as I wanted. (I just wouldn't be doing it very fast, or at least not for very long.)

I've been fairly diligent with strength work over the last month or so, which I know for me is an important piece of the injury-free puzzle. I think this past week I ran about 22 miles and would be super happy this coming week to break 30 or so.

Happy July, all! :D

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