I'm afraid to say this because I firmly believe in jinxing myself. Well, I don't really BELIEVE in myself, but have you ever noticed how it really seems to happen? At any rate, I want to tell you that my feet are almost really healed from the sesamoiditis that's been plaguing me since NOVEMBER. November was ages ago, wasn't it? Samoiditis is a jerk of a lingering injury, which is why I'm afraid to talk about it. It might hear me. I want to say that I'm fully healed, but we'll go with 97%. Sometimes I step down funny and feel a stabbing pain shoot up my foot that reminds me that I'm not really fully healed--or that I could easily reinjure them. I also haven't worn anything other than running shoes with orthotics in them since December, so who knows what might happen if I decide to walk on the wild side and wear real people shoes? I have an education conference one week from today where I have to wear professional dress, so I guess I'll find out. Gulp. My feet also still ache in funny ways at the end of the day. A few weeks, the outer tendon on my foot was so sore that I took a few days off from running to let it heal. My arches are blistered from new running socks creating friction against my orthotics. They don't appear to want to heal. In short, my feet are delicate flowers.
Still, they're better. Much better than I thought they would ever be. There was a dark time in injury land when I was googling sesamoiditis and I was convinced that they would never heal. I lived inside my head and I hated all runners. I couldn't believe that I went from my absolute peak running condition, I mean stronger than I have EVER been to THIS injured mess that could barely walk. Because of the wind, because of shoes with too small of a toe box. I did everything right with training! I was so prepared for that half marathon and then I was brought down by something out of my control. People do dumb things running wise all the time and they don't get injured. WHY ME? I told you it was a dark time.
Every now and then, the thought, "I wonder where I'd be if I didn't get injured" crops up. It's an ugly one. I was faster than ever before I got injured. Although I planned on scaling back distance for awhile, I didn't plan on scaling back the speedwork and well, that thought is ugly and mean. It also serves no purpose because you can't change anything.
I was injured. I took three weeks off. I got a stomach bug and a sinus infection during those three weeks and lost six pounds, so I was even weaker when I went back to running. And when I did come back, I was still pretty injured, so I wasn't able to to jump right back in when I wanted to. Then I switched zero drop shoes and had to ease into those, so it was a whole lot of taking it slow. That's okay. It really is. It just isn't where I thought I would be in March.
Little by little, I'm making strides (pun intended). Saturday, I went out for a five mile run and it was hard. Five miles used to be nothing. When I was training for my half marathon, it was a warm up for 15 miles. I went out too fast in the first mile, but by mile 2, I'd settled into what felt like a comfortable pace. When mile 3 beeped, I looked at my watch and saw that my pace was 9:33. That used to be my comfortable, not pushing it pace during half marathon training! Granted, back then, I would've gone much faster on a five mile run, but that's okay. At mile 4, I was pushing back into our neighborhood strong at 9:30 and I felt good. I had a few traffic stops and did stop to catch my breath during those moments, so I can't admit that it was a straight out run, but I only stopped long enough to not get hit by cars and had no traffic stops in the last mile and a half. I felt good and pushed it up to 9:20 toward the end, even with two hills. Today I ran 4 progressive miles (meaning that each one was faster than the last), with the last mile at a 9:13. It was dark and I was tired, but I managed to push myself faster and faster with each mile, even though I was so exhausted by the end. There are still times when I'm struggling and I see my pace in the 10s, which I didn't used to see at all, but that's okay because like Barb said, I can't compare peak training to rebuilding. There are also times when I am out of breath and gasping by mile 1. I don't know what happens these times, but I know that my body isn't just quite there yet. It's strange how you can run consistently for almost two years and never miss more than two days in a row, but you take three weeks off in a row and scale back... and suddenly, you forget how to put one foot in front of another.