The only bonus to taking seven weeks off of running due to an injury is that each milestone afterward feels exciting again. I remember my very first 10-miler... I was training for Indy in 2011, and I parked at Renee's house. I talked to her husband for a minute before heading out, and told him how nervous I was about my first double digit run.
Completing that 10-miler made me feel so proud! And then once I started doing half-marathons fairly regularly, a 10-miler became no big deal. And that was especially the case once I did longer runs while marathon training.
Being side-lined from an injury is almost like wiping my entire slate clean of everything--no PR's, no expectations, nothing. So each long run now feels like a new longest distance to me, and I get excited when I see a sub-10:00 pace again (last year, a 10:00-ish pace was so discouraging, because I had gotten used to seeing 8:00's).
So, today I had 10 miles on the schedule. I knew it was going to take some mental prep work to get out there and do it, so when I saw my friend Stephanie post on Facebook that she'd be doing a 20-miler this morning, I asked if she'd want come company for half of it. We made plans to meet at 7:30 this morning at a high school, and from there, we'd do an out-and-back 10-miler. Her friend Ann was supposed to join us, but she had to cancel at the last minute.
I got my clothes ready last night, so that I could just wake up, get dressed, and head out. But, I was actually kind of nervous about this run! I didn't sleep much last night because of the nerves, which I know is stupid, but I couldn't help it. I was up a little before 5:00, and had some toast and tea before I left to meet Steph.
She was waiting when I got there, and said she'd already run four miles! I was impressed. It was really cold and windy this morning (a "feels like" temp of 16, and it definitely did feel that cold). Stephanie warned me her pace was going to be around 12:00/mile, which of course I didn't mind.
We had a headwind all the way out, which was really cold. I was wishing I'd worn something over my ears, and possibly a long-sleeved shirt under my jacket (I'd picked short sleeves). Once we got to the halfway point and turned around, though, it was so much nicer! The sun was in front of us, which warmed my (then numb) body, and the tailwind felt like no wind at all.
It was nice to get to chat with Steph, because I hadn't seen her in a while. I felt like I was talking too much, but she told me that it's hard for her to run and talk, so she's usually quiet anyway. When we got within a mile of the cars, I kept wanting to get excited about being almost done--but she still had six miles to go after I was done, so I kept my mouth shut ;)
We made it back to the cars, and I was so relieved to be done! Getting my 10-miler done before 9:30 in the morning felt great. My calves didn't give me any problems at all, thankfully. I haven't run with Joey since Tuesday, so I suspect that running with him is what was causing the calf soreness. I've also been using The Stick to roll out my calves (and along my shins) which really helped.
Anyway, it was a great run! And Stephanie actually was a little faster than predicted, holding a sub-11:00 mile average. She can now start tapering for the Glass City Marathon.
I felt guilty when I got home, because Joey looked so offended that I went for a run without him. After showering and eating lunch and all that, I decided to take him to the marsh across the street and let him play off-leash for a little while. He absolutely LOVES it over there! It had warmed up a little (mid-40's), and the ice was melted (last time we went, the marsh was frozen over). He ran down to the water and started tromping through the marsh--he was totally soaked and full of mud, but he had a ball. He chased after birds, and leapt through the phragmites. I think he forgave me for not taking him on a run today ;)