It feels great to be moving around again and, as usual, I’m starting to think about bigger and better things, which of course, raises a HUGE RED FLAG.
This is *right about the time* I typically screw things up by trying to get back to full speed too quickly. Instead of staying in controlled environments, I’ll immediately jump onto trails and push the pace, as if I can make up for months of not running in a few weeks.
Of course, I know better than that. The problem is I’ve got this stupid competitive streak. It doesn’t manifest itself in competing with other people. Instead, I’m constantly competing with the clock. When I’m healthy, this is OK. When I’m not, it leads to the never-ending cycle of injury/rehab/recover/re-injury.
This time will be different – I swear.
This time around, I’ve been pretty conservative and much more attentive to stretching and strengthening during my downtime. I’ve finally realized that I’m no longer as strong as I was in 2013 (when I was last able to run regularly), and that I’m starting from scratch. I have to focus not just on running, but on core strength and flexibility, too.
Another month on the shelf ended earlier last week. I’ve run three times since then: a very slow four-miler (at a local track with my 14-year-old daughter), and two fairly easy two-milers (treadmill runs).
I plan to hit the track this evening for some nice and easy distance. Maybe about four miles.
What I will NOT do: I will not push the pace. I will not feel compelled to run as fast as people who may or may not be passing me. I will not turn this into some kind of time trial.
What I WILL do: I will listen to my body. I will keep the big picture in mind, instead of focusing on seconds and minutes. I will simply enjoy running for its own sake.
Finally, I WILL keep that mindless competitor in me at bay. There’s a time and place for the part of me that pours every ounce of energy into a run, and turns each session into a race. There’s a time for setting records. This is not that time. This is the time for patience and persistence.
I do have a super-sprint tri coming up in a week and a half, but that is more about introducing my family to multisport. The distances are extremely short (shorter than a sprint tri), and nothing to get excited about. Does that mean I’m not looking forward to it? No – far from it. But the competitor in me is just going to have to accept that it’s only a workout – not a race.