The feelings I had on Wednesday of the first week – of being at peace with the fall and its consequences – were by no means permanent yet. Emotionally, the second week was much harder than the first.
I started to come to grips with the reality of what had been lost in the fall. And now I really wanted to figure out how to make a come-back – how to feel like all that training wasn’t wasted. I figured I had only run 19.6 miles – so my body shouldn’t be as beat up as after a full marathon – and I should be able to resume training relatively quickly. So I tried to figure out if I could get ready for an early December marathon (Rehoboth or California International).
The training plan was tight – if I didn’t really run the second week, then that next week would leave me with 11 weeks of training. That would put me into some pretty heavy mileage and work if I tried to follow the same plan I had followed in the summer. I didn’t want to do a December marathon without being ready –so it was important to me to figure out if I could be ready.
Of course – the slight wrinkle in my plan was my left knee. It still had stitches in it, it was still rather stiff, and I was uncertain whether I could run on it (and whether it was smart). I joined Derek on our favorite running path on the first Sunday (a week after the fall) – he went for a run, and I did a short walk/run to test the knee. Mostly walk, interspersed with 0.1-0.2 miles of slow jogging. The knee felt ok – but my body didn’t really feel ready to run.
I did two more runs that week – another where I walked/ran, using slightly longer intervals of jogging and a third where I actually slowly jogged three miles. Would I be able to go from this to marathon training? I just couldn’t figure it out.
The next Sunday (two weeks after the fall) – the local JCC was hosting a 5k race. My good friend Sarah was running in it and had asked Derek and me if we wanted to join (she had initially asked weeks ago). She asked again this week and we agreed that, at a minimum, Derek could run it and I could spectate. Then as the week went on, I thought – well I could walk/run it. Then – I could jog it. That Sunday – I decided to actually run – not full out racing, but allow myself to push a little.
I didn’t really expect this – but I was terrified at the starting line. As the time got closer to the race start, I got quieter and quieter – I was grappling with fear. I did not expect to be so anxious. I am sure I ran a little tentatively – the pavement was also a little wet and had some leaves on the ground. But I let myself run whatever pace came out of my body.
I actually ran decently – ended up getting an age group award (2nd!) which felt really victorious for me. And my time was ok – something like 7:45 min/mile pace – not my fastest 5k, nor my “target” 5k pace – but really decent given what had happened.
I felt fine during the race and after the race – but later that day, my calves started having odd pains. I thought it was just minor things that would sort themselves out. But Monday morning – I was going to head out for a base pace training run – maybe like 4-5 miles. And I could not run – it was way too painful. I had to give up and wait in the car for Derek. This certainly put a wrench in my comeback plans.