4 long weeks of no lifting and NO running. Does that sound glorious or anxiety inducing? Probably a little bit of both if we are honest.
That's exactly where I've been for the past month. After a procedure I had to take it easy and lift no more than 10 pounds, no high intensity and the most notable---No running.
To put into perspective I haven't taken that much time off of running since my pregnancy/postpartum days which is a story and a half. I wasn't sure how I would feel physically or mentally. While the rest wasn't necessarily unwelcome I didn't love the idea of it being a hard stop for that long.
I was busy the first 1-2 weeks just purely recovering and trying to feel even remotely normal. Weeks 3-4 were full of me itching to get back out there. I listened like a good athlete and rested, didn't push and healed.
But this past week I finally got the all clear to get out there and log some miles. I spent most of the week trying to go for a run but one thing or another just kept getting in the way. Truth be told I didn't try that hard to squeeze it in. I was nervous to go. I didn't want it to suck, I didn't want to be disappointed and I was afraid that I wouldn't feel as fulfilled as I had hoped.
Even though I am more than a runner, I heavily hold my runner title close to my heart. It brings me joy and helps my mental health. So after a long pause I feel like it's natural to be apprehensive. Much like a blind date you don't know what to expect and it can be a bit overwhelming anticipating the outcome. But you have two choice; take the leap of faith or don't show up. I chose the latter, laced up my shoes and ran.
My little one went to bed earlier than usual and I decided on a whim to go. The time change is fast approaching which means some extra sun so I figured, "Why the hell not?".
Giving myself a pep talk before I went out and telling myself that I wasn't going for pace and it probably wasn't going to feel "easy" or comfortable. But just like when I started running I had to go and put one foot in front of the other. Setting my watch to a warm up I jogged for around 4 min before taking a walk break. From there, I chose 60 sec runs with 30 sec walks for 10 rounds (something manageable, sweat inducing, but safe). The time flew by and dare I say, it did feel good! There were times I felt a bit labored but just kept telling myself to ease up on the pace and not push. Continuously reminding myself this was a marathon "figuratively" not a sprint.
Much to my shock the run felt dare I say "Good?"
I guess in my head I built up the run to be rough like when I was coming back postpartum. Maybe it's that small pessimistic side that kept creeping up but overall I like to prepare for the worst and be surprised. In this case, it worked out to my favor.
My second run was equally nice albeit HOT. I continued on with the run walk ratio stretching it this time to a 90-30 to see how it felt. Again, pleasantly surprised to report it felt good, sweaty and exactly what I had been missing. Don't get me wrong, my pride wanted to just run non stop but my coaching brain knows that I'm physically not ready for it and it's not the smartest course of action. I'm honestly just excited to be back.
The third run I completely admit I was feeling spicy and wanted to rest my endurance. I set my watch and plugged into Coach Natalie’s run on Charge and rolled right along. Originally setting out for a 120/30 Run and walk ratio but decided to see how long I felt good to run. The first round I ran for 4 min run/30 sec walk and then walked the 30. Then because I was still feeling good I decided to try next 6 min run/30 sec walk and finally hammering out 8min run/30 sec walking. My quads definitely burned and I had some mental training moments as well but overall I ended on a high note
I try to never take my running for granted and always appreciate the fact that I found this sport. I know I will keep building back my stamina and being able to run distance again (as I say this is have two half marathons on the calendar this year). I'm grateful for the break and equally grateful that it's over.
Ready for long runs, sunny days and many many more miles to be logged. In the meantime, I'll just enjoy the comeback and the miles I can log. Each step, each mile and every twist/turn that it will bring.