Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Return to Running

On Sunday, February 20, my legs took their first real steps of “running” in almost 10 weeks. It was set of jog/walk intervals on the safe confines of the high school track. My first 3 minute “jog” was around a 12:00 pace as I made rapid-fire checks on how all my parts and pieces felt.

Flashback to Wednesday, December 15, 2010 when I logged my final run on a quiet semi-icy trail at Pandapas Pond in the Jefferson National Forest. The semester had wound down and things were relaxed at the office so after dropping the kids off at school I got in a quick 6-miler before starting the workday.

The next day, I sent this to Coach Jim in my workout report on Training Peaks:
"hey I have a little issue I've been ignoring for two weeks, but thought it might be time to share/admit to see what you might think. (I was hoping it would just go away.) About 3" above my left ankle bone (other leg from the one I injured) I have a really tender spot, right on that tendon, sore to the touch. I think it stems from a funny step on a run when my ankle torqued in (opposite the normal ankle twist). I notice it primarily when I am just walking around, and not really at all when I run or bike. Not sure if it warrants any adjustments or not. My plan, now that I am acknowledging this is a possible issue, is ice and ibuprofen for a few days and avoid trails/ice. I'm not all that worried, just need for it to go away. Awful flashbacks to that other know.” (this is the first I have reread this….kind of eerie in hindsight).
Coach Jim returned with a suggestion to see local physical therapist TJ Sites, who is also a competitive triathlete. (Can I just mention how grateful I am to have a coach who sees through my BS?!!) TJ saw me first thing Monday morning and zeroed in on it being a bone issue. He sent me to my orthopedic doc, Dr. Lebolt, who luckily shoe-horned me into the end of his long day on Tuesday. Things moved quickly and we all know what happened next with the month of cast and crutches and month of the boot.

Here I am on the other side.

The swimming, rowing, lifting, and later biking, was all great but there is no perfect substitute for running. That first 3 minutes on the high school track was like coming home again. I had waves of excitement and watched my heart rate climb with something approaching anxiety attacks (but a good kind!).

It quickly became apparent that my biggest obstacle in this recovery process could be myself. My final “jog” interval that day was down to an 8:30 pace. Today, just 8 days after getting the boot off, I slipped into a 6:40 pace on my final 5 minute “jog” interval. Enough of that bravado. Discipline in training means self-control as often as it means pushing through. I know I can push through. I know I can ignore pain. Maybe this is the time to learn self-control.

I think I should subtitle this post: A Return to Jogging...OK Yes, Running....but I Meant to Jog...No Not Really....But I Know I Should...And Really I Will... I Need To, I Know....

Are all runners this psycho??

I’m missing a favorite local race on Sunday – the Blacksburg Classic 10 Miler and 5K and conditions look to be perfect this year. You know I’ve entertained fantasies of toeing the line. Control, baby, control!! There will be other races.

Next up: running on grass!