I am so excited to (tentatively) say, I am back! It was a tough week, both mentally and physically, but I got some good runs in and even ran back-to-back workouts without leg pain. Before I get started, I just want to stress that I am nowhere close to an expert on training and I tend to be an awful patient who happens to have selective hearing. If you are recovering from an injury, it is ALWAYS best to listen to your doctor, physical therapist, chiropractor, etc. and most importantly to what your body is telling you. I am continuing to show up for physical therapy and do all my prescribed stretching and strengthening. My footwear choices have also taken a dramatic turn. Who wears supportive Dansko clogs at home? This girl. Who has scoured the internet for responsible, but not hideously ugly, work shoes? This girl. If that isn’t dedication to healthy Achilles tendons, I don’t know what is.
For my first week back running, I logged slower, lower mileage. Total mileage came to 31.26. My first run back isn’t counted in that total. In all honesty, my first run back was probably not terribly smart. I like to steer away from referring to my actions as stupid. “Not smart” just sounds better. Anyway, my first run was last Saturday morning. It was rainy and I had gotten zero sleep thanks to our new puppy. I made a mental agreement with myself to get in at least 6 miles, depending on how the leg felt. I ran with my husband and he was doing at least 10 miles. At the 3 mile mark, I was feeling good and decided to try for 9 miles. Maybe because I was jealous that Larry would get to enjoy extra miles, or maybe because just wanted to see if I could do it, but at the 4.5 mile turnaround I kept going. The leg felt good and we ran every step of that long run together. I know it could have ended badly, and 11 miles wasn’t exactly the “taking it easy” run, but mentally that run was exactly what I needed. I needed to know I didn’t lose much fitness, that after almost two total weeks off, I was still in good shape and relatively pain free. I finished off the morning with ice, ibuprofen, and a physical therapy appointment (just in case).
The plan for my first week back was to run every other day with no hard speed workouts and finish the week with a long run. I did almost exactly that. I ran easy Monday and Wednesday. Although on Wednesday I might have thrown in a couple fast(er) mile repeats, just to test myself. Friday I squeezed in a quick 10K on the treadmill. I wanted to test out my leg doing back to back workouts Friday night and Saturday morning. I also wanted to really push myself on the 14 miler on Saturday, which in my mind would get me up to where I should be on my training schedule. Saturday morning was one of the hottest and most humid mornings thus far this summer. My legs were tired and because my runs earlier in the week felt almost magical, I definitely underestimated where my fitness was. That long run was hard. Excruciatingly, painfully difficult to get through would be about accurate. I don’t know if I could have made it without some of the people in our running group or my husband (who probably wanted to kill me after the 3rd water stop). It was slow going, but I pushed through and finished all 14 miles without collapsing, having leg pain, or dying. After all the time I spent resting and recovering, I am declaring that a raging success.
This next week I am going to attempt to get back to my regular workouts. I am a little nervous about the speed work and tempo runs, but the only way to get over it is to just go out and run. I will also be testing out salt packets on my runs next week.
How is everyone else’s summer training going? Do you use salt tabs or packets on runs? 8 weeks until Chicago Marathon. 10 weeks until Marine Corps Marathon. 13 weeks until the Ft. Myers Marathon & Half Marathon, Key Largo Half Marathon (I will be there), and the Naples on the Run 10K. Any other fall races you are training for? (Or that I need to look into signing up for…)