I named this blog Base Mileage for a reason.
Throughout my track career, I perpetuated myself as “injury-prone.” Every time I approached consistency, the next injury or setback would strike, and I’d be starting over again. Starting physical therapy again, starting slow & easy again, alternating cross-training with running again. Always working on the base miles. And always falling back to base miles after the next injury cycle.
Here I am once again starting with base mileage. Less than base mileage – more like building the habit of running again. Runs feel hard, which is strange for a veteran. It gives me respect for those who set out to pick up running from scratch, because those first runs are hard. They kind of suck. Newbies don’t have previous experience of the highs and rewards and pleasures awaiting them down the road, so I admire anyone who laces up for their second run ever.
After Boston, I was feeling ready to get back on the horse, and I jumped in the Jackalope 5k on a whim after a yoga class. But as is the trend this year, I fell ill early the following week. Not like depressed or head cold… stomach virus ill. The kind of ill where you stumble into the bathroom, faint on the toilet, and wake up with your hand in the bowl, drenched in cold sweat.
I struggled to eat for several days and lived in my boyfriend’s bed because walking home put me at risk for fainting on the sidewalk (seriously, it almost happened on the way home from a bio exam).
I don’t care how little anyone has run over several weeks due to injury setback or funk or whatever… stomach virus will set you back infinitely further in just a matter of days. After more or less purging my body of all stored energy and foregoing food intake for several days + rapid muscle atrophy, my first run post-virus felt like my first run EVER. Heavy, slow, awkward, and sore almost immediately.
But I set goals anyway.
1. Get up at 7 am for one week.
Setting my clock radio alarm* to play NPR helps (now, that is old school). Also sorrynotsorry that 7 am is a goal, but seriously mornings have been ridiculously hard (nonexistent) this winter. Turns out I am far more productive when I hold myself accountable for rising earlier, and I actually have more energy.
2. Exercise every day for one week.
My goal for May is to average 20 miles a week, but first I have to start rebuilding my weeks which means rebuilding my fitness and relearning a habit. Consistency. Simplicity. And good habits are built upon repetition. (Don’t worry, there have been cross-training days.)
That’s it. One week of goals. Just one. So far, I am on pace. The runs haven’t all felt good, or fun, or easy. Far from it. Most of them include quite a bit of walking. Definitely humbling. But I feel better after, and that keeps me lacing up again right now. The initial soreness is diminishing, and the benefits will soon become measurable.
Yup, I even ventured down to Fort Collins to stop by the Roost and join run club for a thunderstorm 5 miler. You can’t tell in the picture, but water was dripping off my clothes. P.S. running is better with friends just as I suspected!
Longer term, I have set some goals too. Pencil marks. No time or pace goals. Just “showing up” goals. BolderBoulder 10k this month and two halfs, one in July and one in September. Embracing the longer, slower stuff rather than VO2 max repeats and 5k speed. Slow, consistent, building.
Laramie also has a cornucopia of local events from 5k to long trail races coming up this summer, and I plan on showing up for as many as possible to a) support small community events and b) keep my interest in and enjoyment of running high. On a quest to just do what seems fun!
*Oh, um, my smartphone bit the dust so I’m living old school for a while. [also why I posted none of my own photos and have no Instagrams to speak of lately. It blows]