Monday, April 16, 2012

If only I could bottle it

Mojo in a bottle.  I'll have two!
Something was a little off for me Thursday last week at physical therapy.  Perhaps it was the fact that I didn't do all of my strength and stretching exercises, or perhaps it was foreshadowing the pending arrival of good ol' Aunt Flo.  Maybe my mind was anticipating being discharged from therapy, despite knowing it wasn't going to be happening for another visit.  Who knows.  The fact is that I stepped on that AlterG and felt completely out of sorts.  I struggled to find my stride, to get comfortable with my strike, ease into my pace, and get into a groove.  I felt like I'd never run before and it felt all wrong.  It was the strangest feeling.

A side note:
In case you're curious, hitting the "reverse" button really does stop the 'mill and get the belt going backward.  Luckily, it's nothing dramatic, I did not fall off, and I was not injured in this action.  And yes, you have to stop and start over to get going forward again.

So, Thursday was one of those 'off' runs for me (aside from being on a treadmill), but still it felt good when I was done.  I did as I had Monday prior and killed some intervals and inclines, up to 10%.  I did a full four miles and it felt really good as far as the hip.  I felt like I might even have a little endurance.  I dried the sweat from my head, arms, legs brow and headed home with the instruction to get out and run.  Get out there and do some easy miles, and make it fun.  Make it fun. 

How do you make something fun when it doesn't feel right in the first place?  Suddenly, I was feeling more anxious about this direction than ever before.  I have been waiting to hear the words "go run" (coupled with the time to do it) for weeks now, and now that I had a full weekend ahead of me with plenty of opportunity to get some mileage in, I was nervous and unsure of myself.  What the...?  How did this happen?  How did this become something so foreign feeling to me when it had once been so natural?

The truth is, it still is quite natural, it just feels different.  I might not have had my mojo on Thursday, but surely I'd be fine on my own over the weekend, right?  I mean, it's got to be easy to just head out the door without your Garmin and put in a few miles.  If I go out for 30 minutes, it should be a piece of cake, right?

Let me preface this by telling you that I didn't get much sleep Friday night (read: wine night with the girls), and the weather forecast called for a day filled with thunderstorms Sunday.  This left me just Saturday to go "make it fun", after a hair cut and cover the gray color, taking care of my 7 year old high fever puker, and trying to figure out what to make for dinner Saturday night when I didn't get to grocery shop because of all of the above.  Somehow, a small little window opened up in the late afternoon and Hot Dad agreed that it was a good time for me to head out and "make it fun".

I haven't been for a run without my Garmin guess a very long time.  I haven't run alone, a very long time.  I can't explain it, but I was really nervous about both.  I had a route planned out and told myself to take is slow and easy and walk when I might need.  That's all it took. 

It was a little rough starting out but it wasn't long before I was starting to feel better.  My hip doesn't hurt, per se, when I run, but I can definitely feel it, if that makes any sense.  I guess it's my body telling me not to bounce or be too aggressive as I ease back in and get my mileage up.  I found it pretty easy once I got going, and kept my pace such that I didn't feel like heaving at the end of the block.  Gotta set realistic goals, ya know?

I pulled out about 2.5 miles in right around 30 minutes, stopping once for a stop light and once to sort of reset things so that I wouldn't lose steam before getting to my driveway.  It was really tough starting again after that second time walking.  My IT band on the right started to talk a bit, and I just wasn't feeling it.  I had to really think and realize what I'd just done.  I had just run out on my own and wasn't gasping, not limping or crawling, and still feeling pretty good overall.  I didn't feel like my energy had been zapped the way I did when I'd been woken by a feverish 7 year old in the wee hours of Saturday morning.  It was at that point that the light went on and so did the after burners.  I got myself going again, and it wasn't more than 1/4 mile before my legs felt fine and I was coasting along, albeit slowly.
Hopefully not a marinade.

Was this my running mojo?  Had I relocated what I once thought was lost?  Could I be truly on my way back to running?

Tonight is what I believe and hope will be my last night of physical therapy.  Seven straight weeks, two therapists, lots of wobble boarding, deep lunging, leg lifting, squatting, and stretching, and it all comes down to tonight.  On one hand, I'm so ready to be done with therapy.  On the other hand, I feel like a kid going to kindergarten after 5 years home alone with mom.  Will I be OK on my own?  Will I get my miles back? Wait, did I shave my legs?  Whew.  I did.  I'd hate to go to my last night of therapy with cacti for legs.

I hope to have my mojo with me tonight, and to keep it with me moving forward.  And I look forward to moving forward in my running shoes, and to being a better runner as a result of what I've learned during my recovery from injury.  I guess I should try to figure out what it is that I learned and blog it.