4 MILES STRONG
I was incredibly nervous this morning, because the last time I had run more than 3 miles was August 26th.
I have gotten so used to just running 3 miles, and running it well over the past week and a half. The route I run is pretty straight forward, and I know exactly when to kick things up a notch, and when to just hold my pace steady. Now, all of that was going to be turned upside down. Thankfully, the weather cooperated nicely and it was incredibly cool out this morning with no rain or storm. The only thing I had to worry about, was whether or not my body (and mind) would follow suit and cooperate.
As always, I started out pretty fast, mainly because I had become so used to just running fast from the get go with all of these 3 milers. Which is weird, because I told myself from the get go that I had to be somewhat conservative pace wise, so I could actually make it the fully 4 miles without tiring out. I even felt like I had started out at a slow pace, but the splits would disagree because that first mile was a 9:12. Lucky for me, my body figured out rather quickly that I would not be holding such a fast pace for my first longish run back.
Miles 2-3 is where things really got interesting and difficult.
At this point, my route had to be altered slightly to adjust for the extra mile I was running. Which, shouldn't be a big, huge, scary deal. But, of course it sort of threw me for a loop because here I was struggling to figure out just how fast I could/should go. I wasn't even 2 miles in before I had to make an unexpected stop. My dumbass (but highly motivating) Eric Church playlist had just stopped playing. No rhyme or reason either. At this point, I though I should be at the 2.5 mile mark. So, naturally, seeing that I was off my that much distance wise freaked me out.
I didn't pay any attention whatsoever to how fast I was running or what my current pace was, I was too busy calculating in my head trying to re route myself to get these dang 4 miles in. Once, I got my music situation figured out, I continued on. Hoping that the mini hill wouldn't drag down my times too much. I was definitely not moving super fast at this point, which I made sure to continually assure myself was 'ok'.I wasn't looking to hit any PRs today. My only goal was to try to get in the miles without any pain.
I was only slightly over 3 miles by the time I got back to gym/aka what had become my finish line lately.
That was super annoying and difficult, because I was definitely ready to stop and be done at that point. I wasn't exhausted or in pain either. It just felt like I should have been done by then, at that particular point. So, I did my extra loops around the the streets surrounding the gym, trying not to fall on my face or let this unfamiliar route interfere with me giving this run my best shot. My best effort. The conditions were ideal, I just had to believe in myself and get out of my own way. And that's exactly what I did during mile 4.
I ran my little heart out, reminding myself with each step just how amazing it was to be able to run this far pain free. When I finally got to the 4 mile mark, I was astonished to see that my final mile was a 9:15. No, it's not Olympic/Kenyan fast. But, it's a damn good mile four time for someone like me who is just trying to get stronger with every run and build up their mileage post injury 1 run at a time. Sure, running 9:30's during both miles 2&3 was sucky. But, it was worth it to be able to say that I ran 4 miles strong with zero hip or pelvic pain. Plus, 4 miles at an average pace of 9:26 is a pretty fast outdoor 4 mile time for me!
So, where do we go from here?!?
The plan is to alternate every other day between 3 milers and 4 milers. Then, pain/injury pending, go for a 5 miler next Sunday. I'm not really in a super big hurry to get back to those longer distance runs, mainly because I have been enjoying working on my speed with these shorter ones. Also, I really want to focus on getting strong+healthy again before I really push myself with those distances, because I don't see myself taking my first 5 and 6 milers in the coming weeks slow.
Good news is, I also got through my heavy leg day in one piece. I was able to back squat 170 for 1 iffy rep (no spotter, so I'll take it). And, even better, I was able to up the weight on several exercises that had caused pelivc pain/required lighter weight in the past few weeks. Oh, and not to complain or anything, but I now suck at decline situps. I used to be able to bust out sets of 15-20 w/ a 15lb medicine ball. Now, I couldn't even do 1 situp with one of the little 10 lb medicine ball. So, I had to do sets of 15-20 body weight situps and I felt like such a weakling.