3 MILE RUN: TAKES ONE AND TWO
I had a lot of mixed feelings and anticipation going into my first run post break/chiro appointment.
I didn't know what to expect or how to really approach it. This new route, shorter distance sort of through me for a loop, literally. So, when I set out early on Thursday morning, my only real goal was to run pain free. Which, I didn't have a whole lot of control over, or know if it was even a legit possibility. Still, I reminded myself before I even ran a single step, that the numbers/pace/mile splits did not matter. What mattered most was just getting healthy, and slowly building my mileage and endurance back up. Making a smart/safe comeback to the world of running.
What went down on that first run was beyond anything I could have expected.I had a whole lot of pep in my step, from that very first block all the way too the finish. I felt unstoppable. The new route with zero downhills and just the mini hill at the railroad tracks is quite possibly the best idea I have had all summer. It was a wonderful feeling to be able to just cruise around familiar streets from my old route, without feeling super winded or exhausted from the hills. My legs clearly needed that 3 day hiatus from running, because this was the freshest they've felt since late April-early May.
For once, the mini hill and subsequent trip down Main Street wasn't even that bad or slow.
I did my very best to hold a decent pace, and made sure to kick things up a notch the closer I got to the end of that loop. Then, per usual, it was an all out sprint past all of the gas stations and towards the finish line. I waited as long as possible to look where I was at distance/pace wise. I didn't want to jinx just how good I was feeling by seeing those numbers too early. When I finally glanced at my watch and saw just great this run was going, I couldn't believe it. There is no way I should be putting up times this good this soon post injury/building myself back up. NO FREAKING WAY.
So, I ended my first run back at a 9:18 pace, with a mile 3 time of 9:05. This is the fastest time I have put up in 4ish months. I don't normally run these fast of times unless I am on the treadmill and pacing myself, constantly aware of how fast I'm going and how much farther I have to run. Yet, I was able to do just fine running outside and being completely oblivious of both of these critical factors when it comes to pacing. In fact, there was only a 5 second difference between my first mile (9:25) and my second mile (9:30). What on earth is this nonsense.
Clearly, take one was a fluke. My watch must have malfunctioned or I must have just gotten really, really lucky.
That is exactly what was going through my head as I prepped for take two of my new found perfect 3 mile route. All the while assuring myself that is was perfectly okay if I wasn't able to nail those uber fast time that I had put up yesterday. As long as I tried my best, and stuck to 3 miles, that was all that really mattered. Welp, it happened again...only faster this time. Yup. Apparently those number were indeed legitimate, because today I pretty much blew yesterday's times out of the water.
I will admit, I took off a little bit faster today...probably because I was a little bit cocky and knew that I had it in me to beat yesterday's time. Also, I'm still not 100% happy about this whole restriction on mileage thing, so running fast is sort of my only way to get even with it/actually get something out of these shorter runs besides healing my body. Anyhow, I started to slow down just a tad at like the 1.5-2 mile part of my run. Clearly, taking off super duper fast wasn't going to bring my times down any farther. Somehow, I was able to maintain a decent enough speed to get me all the way through the 11th street loop and up and over the mini hill.
That's when the real work/fun began. Because, I was quickly running out of time to kick things up a notch.
The hardest part about that, was knowing just how far to kick things up...and of course not falling flat on my face. Which, is pretty difficult when you're racing slightly downhill all over the sidewalk watching for cars at every intersection. I pushed so much harder during that last 1/2 mile than I have pushed in a long, long time. I wanted to do better, feel better about where I was at with my training. I wanted to prove to myself that I could still put up decent times, even while working through injury and self doubt.
Well, when I saw that that last mile was an 8:48, I WAS SO DAMN HAPPY. If I wasn't completely out of breath and struggling to walk straight, I so would have been jumping for joy and dancing up and down the sidewalk outside the gym. I haven't put up an outdoors mile time that fast since my 10 miler at the end of April. Finally, after all this time, running was getting fun (and pain free!!) again. Mile 1 (9:20) and Mile 2 (9:32) times were basically the same. So, clearly those are where I need to focus on cutting seconds away. My average pace, a speedy 9:09. I know these are just numbers and they can't possibly measure all the hard work, sweat, tears, and curse words I have put into running this summer. But, they show that this whole " running restriction" just might be working. Might.