Learning to run again?

Wow, it’s been a while since I have posted here. I had no idea that having to take several weeks off from running while recovering from a broken arm was going to affect my running momentum for months to come.

I last posted here about running a half marathon only nine days after my doctor cleared me to run again. I was slow and I walked a lot, but I managed to finish in 2:33:37, just 21 minutes off my PR. In retrospect, that race was one of my better running days this summer.

I knew long before my accident that I have become a total cool-weather runner. I don’t enjoy running in the heat (I define “heat” as anything over about 60 degrees). I have to carry water. I have to put on sunblock and some of it always ends up in my eyes, making them burn. Sometimes running in the sun makes me dizzy.

I’d much rather run in the rain. Rain keeps me cool and if I want a sip of water, all I have to do is stick out my tongue.

I don’t enjoy running all that much when it’s really cold either. At temperatures below 40 degrees, my feet go numb. It takes me a mile or two or even four before I warm up enough that I can fully feel my feet. But I’d rather run on numb feet than run on a hot day. For me, a cold day is the perfect incentive to run long — if it’s going to take me four miles to warm up, I might as well run at least eight miles. So why not run ten or more? Long runs are easy on a cold day.

So give me temperatures between 40 and 60 degrees with a bit of mist and I am a not-so-slow but very happy runner.

This summer in the Pacific Northwest has been long, hot (by PNW standards), and dry. I’ve tried to get back to my traditional schedule of running three days a week, but more often than not I’ve run twice… or just once… a week. CFL and I have traveled for a total of five weeks this summer. I find it difficult to keep to a running schedule while traveling because we like to do things together, and CFL doesn’t run.

Excuses, excuses! The fact is, this summer has played out as follows: On any given morning, I think, well, I can run or I can ride my bike. Running makes me hot and sweaty. Riding my bike creates a cool breeze and allows me to cover more miles more comfortably. The bike is looking pretty good this summer!

Although I haven’t been running as much as I’d planned, I have finally gotten back most of the speed that I’d lost during my time off. I hammered out 6.6 miles at a 9:38 pace the other day. But I don’t seem to be running with joy, and that concerns me. I don’t seem to be running with heart. When I get tired, it’s just too easy for me to decide to walk or even stop instead of pushing on.

Near the beginning of this year I looked forward to the Victoria half marathon this October as a realistic chance at another half marathon PR, maybe even the still-elusive 2:10:00. That’s not looking so likely now.

I’ve decided not to worry about it too much. Running is supposed to be fun, right? The fun will return — I’m sure it will! We probably only have a couple of weeks now before the temperature drops back into my comfort zone. Victoria is still seven and a half weeks away. I still have time to get serious about training… right??

 

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Posted on August 21, 2014, in Running and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Bruce Herrington

    Newton was right – MOMENTUM is what it’s all about. Really get going and you can’t sit still when there is a run out there. Get settled in during an injury period and it is VERY hard to get back going again.

    This issue has frustrated me for years, and confirms the adage that running is a sport of the mind – if the mind is not in the right gear, the feet don’t move.

    • Bruce, I agree that momentum is crucial. In my defense, however, I haven’t exactly been inactive since I broke my arm. I still haven’t missed a single day of activity and I’m averaging well over 8 miles per day this year between running, cycling, hiking, and walking. My feet are definitely still moving.

      I’m simply not doing as much running as before. I’m confident that I WILL pick up the running miles again, as soon as the weather becomes a bit more mild.

  2. I sympathise. At least you have been doing lots of other activity!

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