My road to recovery finally got a lot smoother today. I ran for the first time in 4 weeks and it went incredibly well. I had planned a run along Lake Monona so I could check out the Ironman swimmers again, but I woke up to 51 degrees and rain, not exactly the most ideal conditions for my first run. I stepped out on the terrace in my running gear and it was immediately apparent that I had not packed anything appropriate for the weather so I did my run on the treadmill instead. This was probably a blessing in disguise since the surface was a lot easier on my body.
I did an extended warm-up and then started my run. I was surprised by the pace I was able to keep up comfortably and was even able to increase it gradually. After about 2 miles my shoulder ached a bit, but not in the bone. I was feeling pain in the muscles around my shoulder, mostly in the back, likely from holding it still for so long. I held it a little more tightly to my side to control movement. This threw my gait off slightly, but I didn't want to accidentally overextend it.
I've been really worried about what this time off has done to my running fitness and ultimately my marathon training. Being able to sustain a pace slightly faster than before my injury was a huge relief to me, but this was a fairly short run and I realize the long run may be more challenging. I've also lost significant time that would have had me building to my first 20 mile run this week and instead, I'm going to have to pick an intermediate distance and build up from there again.
I had a goal of under 4 hours for the marathon this year and I'm fairly sure that goal is unrealistic at this point. Even though my pace was still great today, I think I'm only going to have time for 4 long runs over 15 miles and the long runs are what get you through the marathon. But at this point, I'm so thankful to be healing and getting back into somewhat normal training that I'm ok with it. I'll do my best and then shift my focus back to triathlon for my Ironman training.
Speaking of Ironman, it took a lot of willpower to resist heading off to the expo today to check everything out and buy a bunch of stuff I don't need (but really, really want). The rainy weather was a good deterrant, I would have gotten soaked on the walk to Monona Terrace. So instead, I'll check out the expo tomorrow after my volunteer shift and buy a bunch of stuff I don't need then. My volunteer shift is from 9-1 and looks like it will be an adventure. I got an email tonight from the volunteer lead letting us know that only 800 of the 2400 registered athletes checked in today so they anticipate tomorrow will be "overwhelming." I'm looking forward to kicking off my Ironman weekend with a bang.
Distance - 4 miles
Time - 32:44
Distance - 3 miles
Time - 30:00