Week #1 of the new Summer season is officially underway! I always have butterflies whenever a new season starts, but there seem to be even more of them this time around than before. Thanks to the numerous injuries (ankle tendonitis, hip flexor strain, hip pain, and last but not least, knee pain) I’ve been nursing for the last 3 or 4 months, I find I’m way more tentative than I usually am. Worse, not only am I tentative, but I’m SLOW.
Well, not slow in an absolute sense, but definitely in a relative sense. During Winter season–just a few months ago–I was coming off a high from my first marathon and focused on getting stronger and faster. I worked hard in our weekly track workouts and managed to move up into a higher wave group (runners are seeded into “waves” based on their pace–the faster their pace, the higher their wave), as well as set PR’s in my 5K, 10K, and half-marathon events. I was on a roll!!
And then these injuries happened.
And now I find myself pulling back just a little bit so I don’t reinjure myself–which is probably good on a prevention level, but not so good at helping me continue along the path I’d set for myself and riding on the momentum I was on.
There has to be some sort of delicate balance to all of this, though, which I am trying to find. Yesterday, I went out for a solo run, just to keep testing and finding how far I can push the envelope without hurting myself again. I was shooting for a 4 miler but ended up doing 3 miles–it became obvious rather quickly that the cold I had last week and the severe allergies that have been banes of my existence have taken a toll on my aerobic endurance, and I found myself sluggish and feeling blah within the first few feet.
But then a miracle happened. At the 3-mile turnaround, I decided that even though I was going to go for a shorter distance that day, I was going to push myself as far as I was going to go. If nothing else, it would end the run that much sooner ;). And so push myself, I did–and guess what? I started to feel better and better as the run went on! When I finally got back and looked at my overall pace, I ended up running an average of an 11:43-minute pace per mile. Not spectacular by any means, but under 12, which my usual pace per mile. And it is just a minute over my best 5K pace, which I set during Winter season. So all in all, not bad, even though I was still “pulling back” somewhat.
Small victories–I’ll take ’em :).