Weeks 2-5 of ?? Training

Week Two

We drove down to Florida for Thanksgiving this year, baby in tow. Somewhere along 1-95 in northern South Carolina, we got into a car accident and had to have our car towed away, be driven to a rental place to get a rental car, and then drive 5 more hours south. The whole journey took 12 hours. Everyone was fine (we were very lucky).

Once there, the baby slept terribly in his new/temporary environment in the pack and play. Each night for four nights, he woke up 5-6 times. Given the enormous stress of the car crash, plus sleep deprivation, I'm proud that I stuck to my plan. I was feeling extremely tired, but I am glad I got my miles done.

Over 15 miles this week, compared to 12 the previous week.

Over 15 miles this week, compared to 12 the previous week.

Holidays are pretty rough for me, but I'd forgotten what a salve running can be. I am a more patient, generous person when I can go run around in circles a few times in the morning.

A few things on my mind this week:

  • Speedwork: So far, I'm running everything at the same exact pace: 10-10:30 minute miles. I want to slowly start to push myself and get faster, so I'm planning to add in a little bit of speedwork soon. I forget which workouts I hate the least. 400s? 800s? Tempo runs? I guess I'll remember soon enough.
  • Joining a gym. I always join a gym during the winter. Right now I'm trying to decide whether to join a gym near my house, or near my work. My office has a gym in the basement which is super convenient, but I don't really have any extra time in my day to take advantage of it, since I am still pumping 2-3 times a day and using my lunch to catch up on work. I'm hoping that once the baby turns 1, I can quit pumping and I'll be able to start running during lunch. For now, I'm thinking about joining a gym near my house so I can go exercise after I put the baby down for the night. Usually running is the absolute LAST thing I want to do at 7 or 8pm after a long day, but since I'm not willing to wake up any earlier, it's basically my only option. 
  • Headphones: I mentioned I found and charged my iPod. But I haven't been able to find my earbuds (not an affiliate link) anywhere. I've had these earbuds for over four years! I'm hoping they turn up soon. In the meantime, I'm running without music and it's been really relaxing, if a little boring.

Week Three

A frustrating week with fallout from the holidays, lousy sleep, and living without a car. We finally broke down and bought one on the last day of the month. That little circle you see below is an attempt to run with an empty jogging stroller to go pick up the baby from daycare. What a disaster! The (loaner) jogging stroller isn't aligned correctly and kept pulling to the left, and it was absolutely maddening. I ran one frustrating mile on broken sidewalks or no sidewalks at all (thanks, City Council!) before giving up and walking. I don't think there is much stroller running in my future.

Week Four

A better week! I caved and ordered new headphones, and of course as soon as I did that I found my old ones. I joined a gym near my house. And I set a postpartum PDR, 6 miles!

Six miles doesn't sound like much to my brain, but my body thinks it's a lot. I had blisters on my feet after this run. It is hard to believe I ever used to run twenty-six miles.

Week Five

Every week I declare that I will run 3-4x that week. And nearly every week that eludes me somehow. It doesn't take much: This week it was holiday parties and a Quaker thing we do each month. I'm a little dismayed by my repeated failure to do what seems to me to be a very modest weekly running frequency. 

The bright side is that I am slowly getting faster. I'm not doing any speedwork yet; I'm just running (jogging, really). But my pace has gone down from ~11:00 to 10:30, to 10:00, and now I'm comfortably running around 9:30 min/miles. 

The other day on the treadmill my mind wandered to my first marathon, NYC 2013. I had the most pleasant daydream remembering the final miles of that race, when I realized I was going to run a sub-4 hour marathon and get my name printed in The New York Times (although it turned out that everyone got their name in the Times, not just those who finished under 4 hours, like I thought). It was so motivating to remember it, and know that somewhere underneath all of the suck that is getting back in shape, there is a person who can run marathons.

I'll just name it: These first few weeks of consistent running are not fun. Right now it's really about getting each run done and looking ahead to when I'm faster and this is a little more exciting and fun.

Hello old friend, running

Of course, I did not run a fall race as I knew I probably wouldn't when I last posted. I didn't even run once in the entire month of October. Oh, well. I did go to Myanmar (Burma), though. My main accomplishment in the month of October was pumping on this 8 day trip away from my baby*and transporting all of the milk home, through 3 countries, packed in ice in four 68oz thermoses.* It was terrible! (And heavy!) Avoid if possible. But I am so glad I did it, because, ya know. You gotta do what you gotta do.

A good thing about the last two terrible weeks is that I went for my first run since September and something incredible happened. I had no pain, no twinges, no "ugh so postpartum" sense I was hauling my body around. It was nothing like the lumbering I was doing a few months ago. I felt spry? Light on my feet? Strong, even??

I can't talk, or do anything without thinking about the election. It has seeped into every part of my life. So I will say: I was getting in touch with my election feelings on this run. I tapped into a fury that burned hotter and hotter the farther I went.

I think I'm going to need running in the coming months, and years (gulp). I am not going to rededicate myself to PRs or anything like that, at least not now. Now more than ever, I think we all need to take a hard look at how we spend our free time and see what more we could be doing in order to build the resistance (by volunteering, protesting, going to community meetings, taking on organizing roles, writing, and so forth). But I recognize I need, and want, to get back in a small habit again, to tap into this strength I seem to only be able to access when I'm running.

Postpartum running

I started running at 5 weeks postpartum, and felt fine (I thought). But running never clicked. I didn't feel good and I can't really describe why. I think my hormones took longer than normal to straighten out? Also, and I guess this is important: My baby has never slept through the night. I haven't gotten a regular night's sleep for more than six months. Now I see that I tried to get back into running before I was really ready. My advice to myself, six months ago? Just wait. Forget it. Go walking instead.

Starting from scratch

It might be premature to start posting weekly recaps here, but I do want to record what it's like to start running again from essentially nothing. So far, I:

  • Found & charged my Garmin
  • Found my iPod and that little USB charger thing, and charged it
  • Made a rough "plan" to get me to a TBD spring 2017 half marathon (ish). I would also be happy running some trail races in the spring instead.

Week one

What can be said about three short little runs? Tuesday was my longest postpartum run, until Saturday came around and I ran 5 miles! I am slow. My easy pace is in the 10-minute mile range. But it feels good to have a fresh beginning, and I know things can only go up from here.