Friday, March 22, 2013

Week One - The Return of the Runner

March 22, 2013

26.2 miles.  The distance of a marathon. The race, other than ultramarathons, that requires the most time from my daily life. Unless you are a certified Marathon Maniac or one in spirit who is marathoning at least once a month, there really is this thing called "training."

Oh, so back to the 26.2.  My first week of running unearthed the newbie runner legs. It was weird, this pain I felt, deep in my muscles, a bruising, hot sensation, the sledgehammer effect of landing on my feet over and over. Day four, my first run on pavement, was excruciating. I had done 3, 5 and then 6 miles on the indoor YMCA track the previous days and think the new mileage took its toll on my body. It was only 3.5 miles outdoors and I had been contemplating "running" the St. Patty's Day half marathon the next day. The cutoff was 3 hours and a walk/jog might work but this run sealed the deal. All bets were off. The Leprechaun had left the building. The pot o' gold was stolen. 

To finish my first week of running, I did another 5 and 3.72 miles.  Here's the awesome thing. My weekly total mileage totaled 26.2 miles. I didn't plan it but there it is. Just a coincidence. Sure. Could be. Personally I believe there is something greater going on in this world, the unseen forces that many can't or don't want to recognize. It's such a small thing, 26.2 miles. I look at it as a little gesture of faith and reassurance, something I can hold onto while I'm struggling to run faster than 10 minute miles. It's a reminder that even in the small things, I am loved and remembered. 

As I am finishing off week two, my legs have recovered from the initial broken concrete feeling to almost no soreness. My foot doesn't feel 100% yet but my times have improved. My easy run started at 11 minute miles and this week I have a couple of runs that averaged in the low 9s! 

My next race on the schedule is the Yakima Marathon set for April 6th.  Yes, really. I signed up last year and shouldn't do it. Probably. But I might. It starts just minutes away from my daughter's campus and it has a 7 hour cutoff. That's a 16 minute per mile average. That's TWO TIMES my normal marathon pace. I say, GAME ON!  My family says, "What?!? WHAT?!??"  I don't know what my doctor says because I'm not telling him. Hopefully I won't have to tell him on April 7th.

Run Happy!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Can't stop smiling!

Yesterday, a little more than ten weeks following my fractured metatarsal, I had a third follow-up visit with Dr. Vaughan.

In case you forgot where I started...

 Anticipation was high as I thought about how it would all go down. I've been working out at the YMCA almost every day and when I'm not there, I'm pushing play on P90X2, RevAbs or another amazing Beachbody workout.  AWESOME BEACHBODY SITE HERE! Yeah, that's a plug for Beachbody and you better believe I will only promote what I truly believe to be the best at what they do. 

My workouts have extended to three hours of sweating bullets on Jacob's Ladder, StairMaster, Expresso bikes, rowing machines, rope pulling, elliptical running...basically anything that will get my legs moving with some arm work thrown in for good measure. My foot has been feeling good but occasionally gives me a burst of pain, especially when flexing (toes up). 

As I sat in the waiting room, I found the latest copy of Runner's World and read this article "Last Man Up" which was so inspiring. I haven't done any races like the one in the story, but I felt a kinship with him and the craving to keep testing personal boundaries.  The nurse called me back and I told her I would sometimes have pain so she proceeded with an x-ray. Finally the doctor arrived and shared the x-ray. He pointed out the cartilage buildup around the break but went on to show me that the break was basically healed and I had clearance to start running again! I have to admit that on Saturday, I slowly shuffled through a jog/walk on the YMCA indoor track with my partner in crime, Sharon. It didn't hurt but my feet barely left the ground. That was 3 days ago.

I asked Dr. Vaughan what he thought would be an acceptable rate of progression and he mentioned the 10% rule...increase mileage 10% per week., that won't work for me. I won't jump in with a 50 mile week but running one mile this week and jumping like a crazy person to two miles (50% jump) next week is a bit too slow for me. I asked him if participating in a half marathon this weekend would be okay...could there have been rolling eyes? Perhaps. He offered to write a note for the race director who could possibly defer my entry...yes, I super glued my eyes in place at that. I mentioned I knew the race director, Tony Phillipi, and that I wouldn't need a note! 

He sent me on my merry way and I immediately went to the YMCA, put on my running clothes, and plodded through three miles! Tears of joy flowed, followed by a crazy person smile, all to the horror of other gym members who didn't quite know what to make of the insane person jogging, and occasionally tripping, on the track. Whatever. Isn't that what runners do? We keep moving. We trip, we get hurt, we get back up, brush the dust off ourselves and keep moving forward. And we don't care if anyone is watching.

It's not about trying to impress anyone. It's about proving something to ourselves, to delve deeper into our character, our drive, our will. Sometimes we find we're undisciplined, lack desire and determination. Other times, we amaze ourselves at what our heart, minds,bodies worked together to accomplish. In the end, it's really not about the "running" but about what running brings to the surface and somehow we are stronger for it.