The Emerging Runner returns to the street

Looking back I’d say it was a pretty good week. My doctor gave the okay to return to work on Tuesday and although I struggled through the mid-afternoon hours I managed to rebound with some strength. It was great to see my colleagues at work who were incredibly gracious and welcoming.  I missed them a lot. After Monday’s treadmill run I decided to suspend any exercise for the remainder of the work week. The changes in sleeping schedule, the early morning commute and the work day challenges were enough to consider for my recovery. I saw Adventure Girl yesterday for the first time in over a month and she said (owing to my my pneumonia and flu induced weight-loss) that I look like a serious runner. I may look the part but I have a ways to go before I feel like one again. Today was a great first step in getting there.

I wanted to put some structure to today’s run to make sure I didn’t push past my capabilities. I mapped a route in my neighborhood that I had run many times before so I knew what to expect in terms of elevation and progress. My ego is still thinking that I am an 8:20 racer and 9:00 recreational runner so I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t going to run anywhere close to those paces today. It was in the low 20’s when I set out at 8:00 AM and I wore three layers of tech shirts, my mid-weight, full length running tights, a warm, wicking running hat that covered my ears and running gloves. I’d anticipated that the relatively short run at a slower pace would mean I’d remain cold during the run. That was a good assumption. I set out at a modest pace, just below 10:00/mile and I was happy that I had no trouble with my breathing despite the cold air. People told me my first time back out on the street would be hard but it wasn’t. As I passed the half-mile mark I started to wonder if and when “the wall” would come. I didn’t check my pacing but I could tell that I’d be covering the 2.15 mile route in more than 20 minutes.

As it happened I finished in 22:24 at 10:25/mile, perhaps the slowest 2 miles I’ve ever run. I was very pleased by this run for a couple of reasons. First, I finished thinking that I could have gone another mile or more without taxing myself too badly. Second, the experience felt great, pleasure not work, and it reminded me again why I love running. I downed an 8 oz. bottle of Ensure that I had bought to boost my nutritional intake when my illness depleted my appetite. They should rename that product and market it as a recovery drink. Good stuff. I may go out again tomorrow for another two easy miles.

The Emerging Runner is back.

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