I was pretty conservative in setting goals for Berlin: finish happy; get at least one race photo I don’t hate. But one goal I didn’t state — and maybe didn’t fully realize I had — was to be able to run a week after the marathon.
I didn’t know if I actually would run a week after the marathon. I purposefully didn’t sign up for any post-Berlin races or give anything but a passing thought to what I might want to do in the rest of 2012. I didn’t need to run because of any plan or financial commitment or looming deadline. But in some ways, it started to seem like the biggest victory: to cross the finish line, having trained the way I did, and be able to lace up my shoes soon after. I’ve had so many training blocks end with a period of enforced rest and a slow rebuilding from zero. If I needed the rest, I’d take it, of course, but there was something delicious about the thought of actually having a base.
It took the majority of our week in Germany for me to even understand again how one might run, much less think about doing it myself. I’d see runners during those days and think, “that looks so easy and sounds so hard.” We walked a fair amount in Munich, to and from train stations and around the Oktoberfest grounds and through different neighborhoods. Every day, it got a little easier. My right hip was tight for most of the week, and the top of my right foot stung for a couple of days (I think I made my shoe too tight when I had to relace it to accommodate the timing chip), but by Friday I was thinking, huh, I might have actually done this. The soreness of the race had mostly faded, and no new, suspicious pains were lingering once the regular aches died down.
So one week after Berlin — actually almost exactly a week to the hour after I crossed the finish line, thanks to time zones and jet lag — I went for a run.
It was slow, easy. I thought I’d do three miles, but at my turnaround point, I felt good, so I decided on 5. That was a little ambitious; by 3.5, I was tired. But just tired.
I only ran one more time that week, just under 4 miles while returning some library books. But then I ran almost 10 on Sunday, between the 8 I had planned and the nearly 2 (slow, downhill) miles I jogged when I decided it was dumb to wait 40 minutes for a train when I could get where I was going on my own two feet in much less time. So far this week, I’ve gone out for 4.5 and 4 (with a 35-minute aquajog in there too), and I might do 10 or so over the weekend. If things keep going well, I should be running 20-ish miles total next week — and, presumably, I could stay there for several weeks thereafter. My own personal Holy Grail of Run Training: a 20-25mpw base.
Of course, there’s a catch, which is that I haven’t been doing the things that kept me healthy during marathon training. I’ve used the foam roller once. I haven’t done my PT exercises or more than one half-hearted MYRTL round. Other than a single aquajog, cross-training hasn’t reappeared. This is stupid. I’m writing it down to say: I know this is stupid. I’m going to do better, starting now.
Well, starting tonight, or maybe tomorrow, when I finally pump up Penelope’s tires and take her for a ride through the park. But starting, is the point. I have some race plans brewing, but before I commit the money and return to more demanding workouts (speedwork?! what?!), I want to prove to myself that I won’t sabotage this otherwise solid recovery.