Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pure Adrenaline

We don't have many rainy days in Southern California so when we get one, I think it can be tough on my psyche.  I can't argue against the value of rain or our region's desperation for it, but I can't help but feel a bit blue when it comes.  But blue is good because it leads to deeper thinking and contemplating.  On our past rainy Sunday I contemplated the importance of running buddies and social running, and how injury can disrupt and sever this benefit.

Since being in Santa Barbara, I'd say I've only had a few months of truly healthy running.  There is an abundant and welcoming running community here, many of whom I've met, but I have yet to integrate myself into it.  I've been waiting for the opportunity to begin joining some of the workouts, but this is where injury has been most disruptive.  I can find ways to cross-train, but I can't find ways to cross-socialize when I'm stuck on an elliptical.  When I get the full green light to run again, I am going to take full advantage of as many wonderful opportunities to run with others as I can.  I simply miss that so very much.

When I make my way down south to the San Diego area, I usually am able to meet up with my running buddies and partners there, but when the Doc says "no running," I have not even been able to do that lately.  San Elijo group, the next time I'm down there, I'm running with you. Boo hoo hoo.  Lament.  Lament.  Lament.  See what rain does?  But there's a beautiful rainbow to everything that rain brings.

As for my rehabilitation, things are getting exciting.  Doc had given me the OK to begin adding back two days of running into my training schedule.  There were strict instructions but along with it he noted that my progress and healing have been very fast, without set-back, and even as I've integrated my runs, everything has remained solidly in forward motion.  This makes me happy and gives me just a bit of confidence to push it (within healthy limits of course).

My runs have been and are to continue to be on the track.  This is the best surface on which to run during rehabilitation.  My first few runs were amazingly pain free, though they were purposefully slow and very much in control.  I figured, therefore, I would let go a bit and run harder on the next outing.  Of course I would do the hard run first and then ask Doc later if that was a good idea or not.  Hee hee, hoo hoo.

So, along with my one faithful and fully competent running partner and husband John, it was onto the track for a tempo run.  Ahhhhhh.  A tempo pace draws on the cardiovascular system, allows the legs to stretch and stride, gives full heed to arm swing.  Oxygen is in high demand, and yes, there is the dreaded stress added to the calves and Achilles tendons.  Keeping within the number of miles Doc allotted me, I did my slow warm up, then long stretch.  My tempo miles would only be three, but in my mind it would be the quality that mattered today.  Nicely I began and got into a comfortable stride right away.  I really had no idea what pace I could do since it had been a while and I have had no clear marker of my current fitness, so I went mostly by feel.  My plan was to descend each mile so that my pace steadily grew more rapid throughout.  I'm sure Doc will think this is a great idea.

My first mile was completed in 6:30 and felt steady, relaxed and seemed to put little stress on my body or system, so I wasn't intimidated to pick it up a bit.  Oh ... the dilemma of how to describe how wonderful this run felt.  I was enjoying it as much as I've enjoyed any run in my life.  The second mile came through in a happy 6:14 and onward I loped.  Holy cowhide Batman, no pain at all, only yippy skippy, sunny, funny running.  Well with only one mile to go, I was yet again not intimidated by the pace and picked it up one more notch, wondering if I would crack, but thinking probably not.  The final tempo mile finished in 6:04.  You know what?  Yah it was only 3 miles but from my stance my body did what I asked of it, remained fully healthy and strong throughout, and hay, it's a step forward in the rehabilitation of a year long injury and I was ... happy with that 6:16 paced tempo run.  I bounded around for my mile warm down and felt like I actually finally went for a run.

Now to tell Doc.  I was able to bring to the table the fact that I had no problem what so ever, you know, with which to sort of make my case.  I entered my notes into my training journal, every detail, every mile time, and punctuated it with, "Ummm, was this okay to do?"  Then I sent it off in an email.  I would have to wait until Monday to get his reaction.

On Monday Doc told me ... Yep, not a problem to test your body while rehab'ing. 
"So can I test it every time I run?"
"As long as you're letting your body fully recover in between the hard runs and as long as there are no set backs, you can push it."  At least I think that's what he said.  That's what I heard anyway.  He explained the long-term goal of getting back as soon as possible into a smart but challenging training regimen and this was a great step.
You know that new Geico commercial where the wee wee wee piggy Maxwell is zip lining and pulls up to and even with the guy in front of him and says, "Pure adrenaline, snort, hee hee."

Well that's sort of how I felt.

So today on the track, I decided to add another mile to my tempo run, making it a 4 miler.  I'll do the extra mile first and will ask Doc about it later.  That seems to work well.  It was, how shall I put this ... another unbelievable run. 

"To feel all of the pressures of a hard pace, face it squarely, dare it to drop you, conquer it and walk away unscathed is a thing of beauty." (Cindy Abrami)  Pure adrenaline.

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