February 9 marked one month back to running after a 3 week break and this is the slowest and most difficult return yet. I started on the treadmill, running 4-5 miles, and my legs felt like two cinder blocks. The transition from the treadmill to the road was also tough and although I enjoyed some decent runs where my legs seemed to have some pop, I have yet to experience that magical run after which I think to myself “I’m back!” Plus, and I hate to admit this, my foot and ankle were a 6/10 on the healthy spectrum for the first 3ish weeks. I had been feeling a bit stressed out about it, but a running friend brought up a valid point the other day. I would rather go into future races healthy and not in the shape I’ve previously been versus in pain and… probably still not in peak shape. That thought kept me optimistic, hopeful and excited through last weekend.
Then I got inside of my head again, set an unrealistic running goal for the week, didn’t meet that goal, and beat my subconscious up. I try not to take running too seriously, but I find myself doing just that. My shoulders tense up during runs, my breathing won’t even out and I just feel like a mess. I slogged through more not-good miles last week than good ones, but felt decent during today’s long run of 16 miles. I haven’t completed 16 miles in a very long time and it felt great. It wasn’t fast, but it was solid and I wasn’t falling apart at the end. I also did a few pick-ups during yesterday’s run and that felt so much better than I anticipated. The best part is that my ankle and foot pain are significantly less now than in the weeks prior.
Here’s to being hopeful.