As promised, I took an entire 11 days off from running. I haven't taken off more than 5 days of running in a row since 2008. Mainly instigated by the fact that I had sore muscles above my shin and a pain in my ass, days off were much needed. Not only did my body need to heal, but so did my mind. For the first week off, I didn't even miss running. I quickly became accustomed to a lazy lifestyle of sitting at a computer all day to only continue that pattern once I got home. What little movement I had consisted of ten short steps to the kitchen or bathroom, whether in my house or at work. With my excess free time, I didn't even allot much time to wedding planning. In fact, I did a whole lot of nothing, and it was pure bliss. That's a true indicator that a break was much needed. The only downside of the first week off was that the muscles over my shin were so sore and painful that I could barely walk up and down stairs, let along attend my dance classes as I had hoped. By the end of the week, the tendons had calmed down and I was able to walk without a slight limp.
After a whole week off, I started to get the itch again. No, not that kind of itch. The itch to run! I fought every urge to lace up my Nike Pegasus and head out the door for a breath of fresh air with the excellent company of my friends. I missed the salacious Charlotte gossip that inevitably is discussed on runs. I missed the guiltless ability to eat as much as I want just because I ran. I missed shaking off the stresses from the day during my run. So, finally, on Friday, I acquiesced to Running, who lured me back without much persuasion. Fueled by the rare opportunity to run with my high school coach Holda--who I've known since I was 5--I headed out for my first run with my fingers crossed--that my shin tendons would be healed, that my breathing wouldn’t be too labored, that my form wouldn’t be too crippled. Quite frankly, it sucked. My left leg was dragging in such a way that I thought I was going to be out on the disable list for another couple of weeks. The strangest thing was that my hamstring nor my glute hurt. Everything was out of whack, especially with my leg lift, which also caused my left foot to strike the ground a couple of inches in front of my hip line, instead of right below. Because of all of this, I cut the run short at 21 minutes and followed it up with some glute strengthening exercises and foot drills.
Tomorrow I plan on cycling along the Thunder Road course to cheer for several of my running partners and one of the athletes I coach. I may try to run a stride or two to test out the leg, but we'll see. Assuming I'm healthy, I plan to take all runs easy until after the wedding. I want to build a solid base of miles and strength work before throwing in any workouts. While I am excited by 5k workout ideas, I don't want to jeopardize any of my performances next year by jumping back too quickly. I need to ensure I have the strength in my lower body before hiking my mileage up. I don't want to risk an injury, so my new weight program will be an integral piece to my training regimen starting in December. Until then, I've got the opportunity to live vicariously through my friends over the next couple of days as I'm confident they'll achieve some great new PRs at Thunder Road and Philly.