Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Back to the Basics

The recovery story continues. I'm still making my way back to running and training. While I wouldn't call what I am doing now "training", it is still training. What I am actually doing is training to get back to training. I have gone back to basic running to get my endurance back so that I can start working on increasing my fitness.

I have only been running with a heart rate monitor for 6 or so months, and not long after I got it, my coach and I established some training zones. We used those some while training for Houston, to make me push it a little more or not push it too much. I am now using my HR strictly to keep from overdoing it. My runs are all listed as easy, but really they aren't as easy as I would like! I'm keeping my HR under a certain number, and I can definitely feel when it starts creeping up. I like having a number or some kind of data to follow to keep myself in check. What I don't like is how high my HR is at some of these paces I'm running. It's a very different feel for me. However, I trust what I am doing and that it will help me to return to my old stuff safely. For weeks I was spinning my wheels, trying to do too much too fast, only to find myself taking steps backward instead of forward. I feel like now I'm on a path to move forward and stay moving forward.

I'm approaching 3 months of this whole ordeal. I count the positives as much as possible to keep from dwelling on the negatives. That is hard to do, let me tell you. I want to be running 12 miles for fun on the weekends. I want to be with my crew having fun, reveling in the paces, and sharing stories. I didn't expect things to change so much or to feel so alone and left out because of something as silly as running. But running isn't silly to me, never has been, because it has made such a huge, life changing, impact on my life. That is when I try to turn my focus to the positives. In 11 marathons and almost 10 years of running, I have been healthy and just now had an injury of this nature. I'm also not hurting anymore when I run, at least because of the injury. :) And the one I have to REALLY focus on is I will be back to my old self. It won't be as quick as I wanted, but I will be back. I never expected this to last so long or to be so difficult to get over, but it is what it is and that I can't change. There is something I can do about it though, and that is what I am doing now.

I have only run the miles this so far year that I would normally do in a 2-3 weeks, and I might not be able to do a marathon this year. There are a lot of unknowns right now. I am running again though and that is progress. I have a lot of miles still left in these legs and this body, and I will achieve my goals.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Success of a Different Kind

First things first, I passed! I got the long awaited email today that I passed my comprehensive exam for graduate school. I had expressed to several that I was honestly worried about one section, but at this point, it was in God's hands. Several of my fellow classmates and I joked that all we could do is pray for mercy as our professors graded! And pray we did! In fact, before we started our exam that morning, all 12 of us formed a circle, held hands and prayed. God was on my side as I was able to remember what I need to in order to pass. I'm happy to have this behind me, and now I can finish my last class without worry and GRADUATE in May!

Ok, now to the running. Alec Baldwin says it for me. I'm frustrated. What's new you might ask? Well, in fact, nothing. I have had some progress, but I am still having a good bit of trouble moving forward without aggravation. Maybe I'm overdoing it, maybe I'm not doing enough. I have some aches and pains I never have, and I simply know that it is all because of the amount of time I was off. I don't remember starting to run for the first time years ago being this difficult. These aches and pains are what is holding me back. I'm SO READY to move forward and get this all behind me forever. I'm ready to meet up with my friends to go run 12 or so miles. I'm ready to do tempo runs and speed work (shocking I know)! I'm ready to put a race on my calendar and prepare for it. I'm debating on taking a few days off to get over a few of these aches and pains before they turn into yet another injury. And to also give my mind a break as it worries a lot about this training. I'm also going to trust. Trust that this is just one small blip on the radar and that I will overcome.

For today, I'm going to bask in the glory that is the passing of my comps and my upcoming graduation in May. This feeling is enough for now.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Little Something in My Log Book

This week's mantra - I will have a successful run. I repeated this to myself a few times as a method to encourage me to get out there on a regular schedule and try. The last few weeks started pretty well only to fall apart in the latter part of the week. So this week was to be a new direction for me.

I am happy to report it has worked so far! I ran Sunday (not a great one), Tuesday (better) and Thursday (best run since injury). I kept to my typical schedule that coach and I sorted out last year which is spin on Monday, run on Tuesday, spin on Wednesday, run on Thursday, rest on Friday, run Saturday (long) and recovery run on Sunday. I still have two days left in this week's cycle, but I feel good about finishing. I think this is what I need to push my over that final hump and get me back to normal.

I noted that Thursday's run was my best since the injury. I've said that before, and I'm sure I'll say it again a few more times while on this journey back. But it was. My legs felt like they had some bounce in them, I wasn't as sore and I didn't feel any tugging in my injury. And I ran about 30 seconds per mile faster with no walk breaks. I've mentioned that I'm slower right now. I've been running 1 1/2 to 2 minutes slower per mile, but this run was only about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes slower. I'm having to run slow for a few reasons, one being I've lost fitness and another being I've been hurting. That's why I feel that getting back on a consistent schedule will help me push through some of that instead of letting it stop me. I have had to take it slow at times, resting a bit extra here and there for fear of re-injury, but I think I'm at a point where I can push forward. Fingers crossed!

And there is a rumor I might hear about comps soon. Another rumor is that so far, no news is good news.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

I know whoever reads this does not want to read another post about my injury. I apologize in advance for today. But you see, this is in fact a blog primarily about my running, hence the title Dawn Will Run. And since for the last couple of months my running has consisted of this injury, and I haven't been able to train as I normally do, I haven't had a lot of running to talk about except for my continued attempts to return to normal training.

For a while, when I wasn't posting, I was having a super hard time dealing with the injury and the fact that I was not going to be able to run my goal race in Houston. I didn't feel much like writing. I wrote previously that with my racing season over, I am happy to have no pressure on me to return to normal training by a certain date. I can take my time, return as I am able, and that is a great feeling. However, I'm going to admit to struggling with all of this still. I want to run, miss running with my friends and even miss those early Saturday morning long runs. Currently, my running is sparse, very slow and sometimes lonely. It consists of constantly thinking and worrying about my injury, if it hurts or will it start hurting. That makes running almost seems like a chore. So the days when I feel like my injury is sore or something else is sore (which happens a lot now), I am almost relieved.

I feel that playing is safe is absolutely the smartest thing to do because it's not too far off in the past that I was in intense pain barely able to walk for about two weeks. I haven't run since Tuesday of this week, and I honestly haven't felt like I should try due to some of the aches I've had. The problem is I struggle with enjoying the gym and finding alternatives to running. There is nothing like the feel of a good, pain/worry free run, and I so miss that feeling. Today is the third day straight of complete rest, and I don't like that. I should be doing something else, but I'm struggling with what I want to do. I love my spin class and it's great cross training, but it's the plain gym work - treadmills, stationary bikes, elliptical trainers, etc - that I get so bored with.

On the flip side of this frustration, I admit to enjoying this rest a little. I loved being lazy and sleeping in today. And no I haven't done any exercise yet and not sure I will. I almost feel a little guilty for feeling that way. I know I'm all over the place. I say I miss running. Then I say I don't miss running. I like being lazy. I feel guilty for being lazy. That's why I'm writing today, to try to figure some of this out. The good points are that during this craziness, I have reeled my diet in and lost a few of the pounds I put on during the absence from running. I also massively cleaned my house today and rearranged my living room! I have quite a long list of things at my house to accomplish still!

So like each weekend, I will look to the start of the new week as the time when I finally get on a schedule of some sort. Let's hope tomorrow is the day. If not, I will look to the next week for that regularity to start. And I promise to go back to normal posts that include a lot of positive thoughts.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

How to Avoid a Failure

I've posted before that the process of returning after my 6+plus weeks of injury is up and down. Tuesday I ran 5 miles, no walking, but slow and easy. My legs were a bit tired and stiff near the end, which in this situation I feel is normal, however I felt good overall. Yesterday morning's spin class was a solid, consistent hard effort, just like Monday. Both days I had completely full classes, which is amazing because the energy you can pull from a full class really fires up the adrenaline and those endorphins. I had been having some trouble in my class from losing some of my fitness, but these classes were better. I experienced some fatigue in the legs yesterday, but no pain. I was happy with how I felt overall.

I'm still very pleased to report that I am really feeling great as I continue to get back on the horse. From time to time, I feel a little extra fatigue or a TINY bit of discomfort where my injury was, and when it comes to feeling that discomfort, I put on the breaks. As yesterday wore on, I some tightness and started to feel some of that discomfort. While it does not affect my walking or my cycling, I definitely do not want to push it when it comes to running. Not only am I really not able to push too much, I certainly don't want to reinjure or set myself back even further. This morning, I was going to attempt another run, but I decided to ax it. I decided to avoid a failed run attempt that would only leave me more frustrated than not running would, and at the same time, keep me on a healthier path. Not only was I concerned about my health, I was really tired and the weather has been awful the last two days. It was a very balmy, foggy 61 degrees this morning at 5 a.m. That would not have made my effort any easier or enjoyable. It would have only added to the frustration and the intense feeling of failure. I feel that I made the right decision. I will attempt again after work today or tomorrow. It all depends on how I feel. That's how I make my running decisions lately - it all depends.