First off, I’m so thankful that this injury only sidelined me for three weeks, it seemed much more serious initially. Second, I’ve practiced actually resting completely and hope I can remember this lesson next time something happens. Third, I have fallen back in love with running immediately.
I was given the all clear to try a run last Wednesday, in the hope that some easy running might aid in the draining of fluid from my knee. I made it through a couple miles and felt no pain or discomfort, so I tried again the next day and managed four easy miles. Fluid was mostly gone and no pain either, so after resting Friday I went out for 10k on Saturday, with some pickups and faster sections and ended up running too hard at a 6:25 average pace. It just felt too good to slow down! I ran another four easy miles Sat night and still felt no pain, tentatively started thinking, “I’m back!” Sunday seemed like a good day to take it easy again so I skipped running and did a brutal core session. I had been doing core almost every other day while I wasn’t running, mixing up it up with 30 minutes of Greg McMillan’s and Lauren Fleshman’s favorite exercises. Fleshman has some seriously sexy abs and by sexy, I mean tough as nails and well conditioned! (McMillan’s Core Workout – Lauren Fleshman’s Favorite Moves) After taking Sunday off I got back to it Monday with 6 easy miles and 4×10 second hill sprints, the hills felt especially good and my legs felt much better on the 10 I ran Tuesday, followed by core. Wednesday was an easy 7 and Thursday another 7 + 5×10 sec hill sprints followed by core again. Friday I ran 8.5 and picked it up over the last mile, running a 6:01, smiling the whole run! Today was a comfortable 6.3 as I get myself prepared for a fun 5 mile race tomorrow. As a final note on my first week back to running; I have been very carefully paying attention to what my body says after and during every run, training my mind to be more aware of pain signals and when they are telling me I need to stop. After a few years of telling myself to push through any pain I feel while running, it’s been a critical area for me to work on and relates to my summer training goal of being mentally in better shape than ever before.
I have been telling myself all week, that pending swelling and/or pain, I will line up for the 5-miler tomorrow with no time goal and just hope to make it through and have fun. Thankfully, that is still my goal, everything feels great and I can’t wait to kick off solid training once again with a USATF-NE Gran Prix race. I’d love to be more fit going in and try to place for my club, but with no speedwork in a month and only one week of easy runs, I’ll be very happy to go sub 30 minutes. (Not a goal, just speculation on current fitness!) My watch is conveniently broken so I will be racing purely by feel, no doubt the better approach when so recently returned to running anyway. Speaking of Gran Prix races, I just looked through the individual standings from last year’s Gran Prix and was psyched to see that I had actually made it on there with one point in the marathon last year! Too bad I was still unattached, could have helped Greater Lowell out in the standings, too!
One last topic for this post. Happy Father’s Day to a dad who has shown me how to be passionate about what I enjoy, intellectual in my pursuit of knowledge and above all, desiring of giving glory to God in all I do! I just read this article on How Elite’s Fathers Have Inspired Their Running and though I wouldn’t say my dad has inspired my running in particular, he has inspired my personality in such a way that encourages me to run. He was a college basketball coach and athletic director and a various times a high school basketball and soccer coach or referee. His favorite sport has to be basketball, but he’ll watch football, soccer and baseball too. He puts up with my excited ramblings of pro runner’s accomplishments and my favorite Americans and who’s up and coming, as long as I let him respond with some exciting basketball news. We shared very little in interests when I was growing up and though I often wonder what my life would be like had I started running as a kid, I’m so thankful that my dad let his youngest son focus on books, imagination and then working on cars, never pushing me to play any sports. My dad supports me doing as well as I possibly can in my running, but would never want that to be at the expense of my faith, putting God first in everything. We might not share many interests even now, but we both share an intense passion for the things we love and combined with the incredible work ethic and drive of my mom, I’ve been blessed with a passion and drive to fully pursue every goal, as long as consult with God first. I truly couldn’t ask for better parents, so Happy Father’s Day dad, wish we could all be together!