Tens- maybe hundreds of thousands of runners have read books or been part of an organized program to get you from "Couch to 5K." The 5K gives people a needed goal far off in the distance to work towards. Many of these people haven't exercised in years and start off with something as simple as walking a mile or jogging a minute, running a minute, repeat, repeat. I feel like I'm planning something similar. I'm positive it's unconventional, but I think I'll be OK.
I was out for 5 weeks with back problems. Teaching Wren to ride a bike, hunched over and- OUCH! Doctor says bulging disc. I'd get better & then something simple like getting in the car set it off again, there in the middle of that 5 week period, I was able to run 3 times, but got worse after that. I called in sick 7 days in those 5 weeks and spent most of my time not at work in bed or on the couch- mostly in bed. I can't stress enough how inactive I was. I'm not talking about my training not going well. Not talking about just not running. I'm talking about only moving to roll over or go to the bathroom for several days at a time.
6 days ago was my real first day back & the first step I'd run in 3 weeks. I was in the mountains for several days and my first run was an hour long struggle on single track trails. Felt like my lungs were going to explode but back didn't hurt. That trail is difficult when healthy, so I'm not sure how much of a measure it was. After that, I was able to have some more successful runs.
I ran two runs that were both around 14 miles at Moses Cone. Better each day. One of those long days was with Wren. She hiked 6.4 miles & I ran back & forth, never more than 200-300m from her. It was a good strategy & fun for both of us. We also had a treacherous hike through the ice and snow at Elk Knob State Park this week. She's a tough one.
I'm planning a 20 mile run Saturday, a 33 miler next Sunday & 2 weeks later will run the C&O Canal 100 Miler I'm signed up for. When I decided to run it in early January, I was coming off another injury, planned what I needed to do, intended to lose some weight & really be ready to go in late April. Hmm... not how it ended up, but I think my body will hold up & my mind will have to push me through. I was slow 2 months ago. Slower now. In January & February, I was very happy with my endurance & didn't care much about the lack of speed. I'm encouraged I'm still able to churn out back to back 14 mile runs after what I've been through recently.
Though completely silly, I'm planning on making the 33 miler a big deal for myself. Pre-established route (most of my long runs are improvised). Driving up to Moses Cone just to run. Thinking about making a homemade shirt for myself. Dumb, I know. Strange as it seems, I need something like that to legitimize what I'm doing. I almost felt like I was faking my back injury- like I should be able to turn it off at will. But of course, I couldn't. Feels like if I just go into the woods & come back out a few hours later, it
doesn't really mean I ran 50K+. ...like I could be faking it. I don't know why I think I'm lying to myself, but for whatever reason I need some structure to what I'm doing. So next Sunday, will be the 1 person Rich Mountain 33 Miler. :) Up & down the long way 4 times & add on if needed around Trout Lake.
So yeah, from complete inactivity to a 100 mile race in a month. Yep. I can do it. Time won't be what I had hoped, but I'll just have to keep chugging along.