The comeback.

The Huron River.

I’ve never been out of running shape like this since before I started cross country in high school. Well, I guess not quite that bad, but it’s rough. I’ve taken time off before, but I’ve never had to come back from a year of not running consistently. I’ve still been plenty active, but nothing’s the same as running 75-mile weeks consistently.

So starting back up at basically nothing has been a new experience. I’ve been taking it very slowly and cautiously – even running just a few miles a week is better than no running at all – and yesterday I ran my first 6-miler since… last June, I think, when I was out in Colorado and did a 7-mile run in Colorado Springs. I’d just done 2-4 before that. Pacewise, I’ve been hovering around 7:30s, which is ok. One of my goals in this comeback period is to build up a better speed base than I had before… which was basically nonexistent. I had the miles but not the speed. At all. (I think. I should check my logs.) I’d like to get my 5k and mile times down to something respectable (around 20 and 5-something, respectively), so I’m planning on working in more speedwork and tempo runs once I have the strength.

So yesterday’s run. It was sunny and warm enough that I was in a tank top (although there are still stubborn piles of grey snow lying around), but when I woke up knowing that I was going to run six later on – and even the day before – I felt weird. Like I had lost my running confidence. Like I was worried that I forgot how to run, or wouldn’t be able to, or would do 12-minute miles. I almost didn’t want to go.

But of course I did, and of course it was fine. I was slow, averaging 9 minute miles (including a mile of snowy trail and three longish hills)(and I’m hella out of shape), but my shins generally felt fine. And I rather enjoy running, in case you hadn’t gotten the memo, so I arrived at the parking lot fifty minutes later smiling with mud-spattered (and very tight) calves. Bam – confidence renewed.

I did a short run today, just 20 minutes and some strides, to loosen up my calves. It was 60 degrees and a good choice. I’m thinking about investing in those compression sleeves with built-in ice packs – a bit pricey, but with my shins, they might be worth it.

So coming back isn’t super easy, but it’s also not really hard. It’s just a transitional period. And yesterday when I found my form deteriorating a little or my mind going “You’re SO SLOW, what is this?” I just thought back to how shitty I felt in the last 3 miles before the last mile of my 50. Compared to that, every other run is a cakewalk.  🙂


PS. I will do a post about my climbing spring break trip soon.
PPS. I got a new kitty! Her name is (choose one) Audrey/Aubrey Pawza/Miss Kitty/Lady/Tasha. (I couldn’t decide.)