I CAN DO THIS // FIVE MILE FRIDAY
"I can do this" is what I told myself as I hopped on the treadmill yesterday.
I had not ran a single mile since last Friday. I was supposed to wait until today to try running again. But, the weather had other plans. I was stuck inside...and I did not want to spend 90 minutes just walking on a treadmill. So, I had improvise with a 3 mile treadmill run. My first treadmill run in over a month! And it soooo did NOT live up to my expectations. It was way harder than I thought it would be and I wasn't sure if I could mentally/physically go the distance.
"I can do this" quickly turned into "I don't know if I'll ever be able to run pain free again" following that run.
Sure I had ONLY ran 3 miles at a slow pace of 9:51 min/mile. And I had done it on a treadmill where there was virtually zero risk of falling or running way too fast on the downhills. On top of that, I only upped the speed by .1 every mile. All in all, I was extra cautious when it came to my first run back this time. But, it somehow still didn't feel quite right. Like, I had somehow forgotten what it was like to run on the treadmill...and what it felt like to run pain free. As, I still felt pain at times during that run...but I would not let myself quit until I hit the 3 mile mark.
Flash forward to today. Five mile Friday.
Those first 2.5 miles during lap one felt like a dream come true. Like, finally, I had gotten somewhere with my rest and rehab. Like all those days spent walking and icing and biofreezing and chiropractor visits had paid off. It was my time to shine. And shine I did. My first mile was a 9:35, which is pretty fast considering all the dang hills I had to scale. And, sure, there was still a part of me that felt the need to be careful. Play it safe. Not go uber fast on the downhills. And overall find a comfortable pace that I could hold.
But, more than anything, I wanted...NEEDED to put out some fast times. And go as far as my body would let me.
What I didn't factor into my plan (although to be fair I never really make a fool proof legit running plan) was how terrible the humidity was going to be. There was a nice breeze when I took off at 5:36...so I was sort of banking on a cool, relaxing 6 miles. Well, that was not the case. Because, a. the humidity was REAL and b. every single song that came on my ipod just made me want to run stupid fast. Like, screw being injured and taking off almost a week from running. I HAVE A NEED FOR SPEED. So, that's probably why miles 2-3 were run at 9:15 and 9:26 respectfully. I just could not pace myself at all today.
Then, I hit the wall of all walls at around the 3.5-4 mile mark.
Ironically enough, this became crystal clear to me when I got to the spot/block where I stop for my gel break during longer+hotter runs. And I knew I could not stop because a. I had no gel and b. I had no business running anything more than probably 4 miles...but here we were. Drenched in sweat, trudging along just willing my arms to take over because at this point my legs were just over it. However, despite the struggle, I was still so freaking happy just to be out there. Putting one foot in front of the other. Overcoming obstacles with every stride.
The worst was yet to come, though. Having to run up the final 2 hills to cross the rail road track and get back to main street was an absolute joke. I might as well have been crawling up those hills as long as it took me to get over them. It literally felt like I spent a good 3 hours just climbing them and of course everyone just had to be driving by at that moment. IF THERE WAS EVER A TIME I NEEDED AN INVISIBILITY CLOAK...THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN IT.
There was definitely a small part of me that wanted to go for 6 (or 7 or 8 or 9).
When I was heading back towards the gym and saw I had already surpassed the 5 mile mark I thought to myself, "Hmm. I wonder what would happen if I went for 6 or 7?" Because, that's what every intelligent runner does when they get back to running after recovering from an injury. 7 mile really isn't THAT far. And, besides, I need to learn to just suck it up and run longer distances in the heat & humidity anyway.
However, for once in my life, I decided to make the smart (and safer) decision to just stop when I got back to where I started. The gym (of course!!). So, with that, the first outdoor run post running hiatus number 2 was completed. 5.26 miles were ran at average pace of 9:36. Not fast...but not slow either. Pretty good all things considered. But, I know I can do better. I will do better. Next run is on Sunday...do I dare go for 7 or 8 or even 9? IDK. Better grab a gel just in case everything happens to fall into place.