(Just Like) Starting Over

Posted on May 17, 2013. Filed under: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Starting over

I’ve never been crazy about John Lennon’s music outside of the Beatles.  One song in particular (not coincidentally, the title of this post) drives me batty.  This is the song that wormed its way from out of nowhere and into my brain on Monday morning.

After 3 weeks of inactivity, I’ve been eager to jump back into my training schedule. I have a sprint tri coming up in a few weeks, and I’m a bit anxious that I’ve had so much down time.  I figured I’d ease back into training this week by starting small.

Monday:              Run 2.5 miles

I didn’t expect it to feel like a stroll through the garden, but I also didn’t expect to have to consciously remind myself how to run.  I had to coach myself through the first mile.

Keep your chin up. Relax your shoulders. Use your arms to propel you. Lean from your ankles, not your waist.  Point your right toe out more and take a longer step with your left. No, you’re not spontaneously combusting.  Those are your lungs.

Here’s the good news.  I only planned to run 2 miles, but at my intended stopping point I was at 2.37.  The voice that pushes me just a little farther piped up:  2.37?  Well that’s a crazy, uneven number. Go to 2.5.

So I did.

Tuesday:              Run 3 miles

Since I felt good by the end of Monday’s run, I thought I’d go out for a 4 miler, my usual weekday run.  I was surprised to find that the first half mile hurt even worse than the day before.  By the end of mile 1, I knew it was not a 4-mile day.  I was happy to get in 3.

Wednesday:      Swim 30 minutes

Nearly a month since I’d been in a pool.  I was nervous.  I stalled for an extra half hour before I left my house.  Made the bed.  Fiddled with some papers, yesterday’s mail.

I decided to do a few warm-up laps with the kickboard. Remind myself what an arrow feels like; to kick from my hips, not my knees.  I stretched out, face down, and pushed the kickboard out in front of me.  Pain spiked my shoulder.  My doctor gave me the go-ahead to swim and weight lift just the day before, so I ignored the pain, kept going.

I managed 20 laps—ecstatic at the end.  Ice packs are my friend.

Thursday:            Run 4 miles

Within just a few dozen yards, I was in my Running Head Zone (RHZ)—minus John Lennon.  My body only intruded a couple of times—upon approaching mile 1.5 when I realized where I was and thought maybe I should turn around, make it a 3-miler.  By the time I got there I forgot and kept going.  But the last 1/3 mile was all body.  Fortunately, my working parts are working, muscles and joints intact.  My lungs protested.

Friday:                  Rest day

I have to admit, I’m struggling with this. Fridays are rest days; on weekends I push myself hard.  But I feel like I haven’t done enough to warrant a rest.

Nevertheless, I’m sticking with it, especially after my doctor’s scolding on Thursday (When you feel pain, you have to stop! Oh.) and my still-throbbing shoulder.

My friend Stephanie, who happens to be a running coach, tells me that when people train year round, their bodies need a two week break at some point to rejuvenate.  Two weeks seem like a long time to me.  Three seem like eternity.

Fortunately, we have muscle memory and it doesn’t take long for our bodies to remember what they’re supposed to do.  Even better, we have the RHZ, the space that obliterates pain and discomfort, allowing our bodies the liberty to move.

Tomorrow will undoubtedly be a better day.  Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to get in 6 before my lungs implode.  And at least I’ve left John Lennon behind.

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