One Month Out, "Normal" Still Seems Foreign

It's been a month since I survived a car crash that demolished my car.

Since then, we've closed on our new home, bought a new car, and spent two days' worth of effort moving in. Because of the second car payment, our finances are not as secure as I'd like them to be, but we're capable of making it--even if the next 6 months will be stressful.

I've gotten back to running to some degree. The last two blips in the graph below represent my "return" the last two weeks, after 4 weeks off. Hardly compares to my normal weeks, or even my "even" weeks before.

Weekly running totals

After running 5.5 miles this week and moving things, I realized my ribs aren't quite healed enough for physical activity. I had been able to quit taking ibuprofen, but I'm having to take it again due to the pain. Picking up anything over 20 pounds aggravates the pain.

I'm wallowing in a fair amount of self-pity, but, right now, I'm just hoping for a normal, relatively pain-free life--outside of running. Seeing my aunt in her final days of her battle with cancer when she has a brand new granddaughter and knowing that I survived the wreck puts things in perspective, but it doesn't make the waiting and uncertainty of healing any better.

Lost and battle scarred 18 miler yesterday morning [warning: pictures]

Bloody knee at the end of the run

It's been a while since I've taken a spill during a run...  seems like it's been a year and a half since my last fall, and almost 5 years since one similar in nastiness to this one, and that one was at mile 2 of a 10 mile race.

There I was, lost in a neighborhood close to Highview, on the edge of Fern Creek.  I had begun this planned 18 miler unsure if I could finish any more than 10 miles.

My first 5 miles were a familiar route that I've used before for 7 to 23 milers, part of an out-and-back route that makes an intentionally indirect weaving path through a neighborhood close to the Gene Snyder Freeway that forms the outer access belt of the county. It's a sidewalk and low-traffic neighborhood route that usually provides 6.8 filler miles in my wanderings through southeast Louisville. I've also used the route to the point that I pretty much hate it--more so than the treadmill.

And so, at mile 5, I needed a different route to keep going. I started veering off toward a route on the other side of Bardstown Rd., thinking that I'd just add a few miles off the busy street before continuing on my more regularly used route.

However, on my diverted route, I decided to explore a street I had never been through before. The first street of the diversion was easy enough to remember, but then I came across a nice little loop road that continued on to another neighborhood.  I took the loop road and then exited to another set of roads.

On my way back, I got back on the loop road and tried to find my way back--making at least two loops in the process. Once I finally found my way back to the street I started with, I was mentally fatigued from realizing that I was lost. As I went down the sidewalk on the road back, I didn't notice that there was an unevenness in the sidewalk, and tripped and went for a nice flop onto the concrete.

Because of the cold, the landing on the ground was a dulled shock to the system. I had shake off the cobwebs and force myself up off the ground. Somehow, that spill around mile 10 challenged my ego enough to get me through another 8 miles that were originally in doubt.

It took me a couple of blocks to get moving with any rhythm again, and my leg strength was weakened by the fall. Those last 8 miles were rough and hilly, but the fall somehow made me determined to finish the planned 18--I just couldn't quit because of a little fall.

I'm sure anyone who saw me those last few miles (including several runners) were probably horrified by the looks of the wound. Of course, the wound cleaned up in the shower into a tiny little scrape, but I'm glad that the skin on the knee doesn't seem to feel as much some other areas.

18 miles in 2:55:57

Bloody knee after cleaning

 

Best run ever

In terms of overall enjoyment, this was probably my best run ever, 5.3 miles in 44:31 minutes.

69'F, sunny, slight breeze, Friday, no big meetings left this week, legs fairly fresh...  if every run felt like this, I'd run 100s of miles per week.

I've spent the last week trying to squeeze in double workouts every day... morning run [50 minutes easy] and lunch exercise bike [10-14 miles on a "hilly" course at 13-15 mph and "flats" at 20 mph].

Today, I slept in, and had to move my run to lunch--which meant that I had to run through the office park.  Now, on a slightly warm, perfectly clear day, in which there hasn't been more than a slight drizzle in the last week [and nothing in the last 24 hours] mud shouldn't be a problem.

When I saw a muddy run-off on the sidewalk ahead of me, I made the quick assumption that it was thin layer of mud that would get my shoes slightly muddy.  By running on the forefoot more I would *SPLASH*.

No.  Not a film of mud.  3+ inches of mud, a little thinner than mud from a mudslide would probably be.  At 1.5 miles into my run, this would probably have killed my run the rest of the way, but not today.

I was happy to be out running.  I was happy to be free from the bike, which had punished my quads and muscles on the back of my legs that I didn't know I had.  I was happy to be comfortably running off the treadmill.  I was happy to be running sub-8:30 pace comfortably in spurts instead of struggling to break 10 minute pace.

I started thinking about my Chicago Marathon goal.  3:15 would be stupid at this point,  but maybe 3:30 [still a PR] was at least physically in my reach.  It's too soon to make those assumptions.  I haven't run 20 miles since before I took nearly 3 weeks off of running.  13 felt okay last Saturday and, I'm going to target 16 tomorrow.  Then, I'll see.

When I got back from the run, I spent 5-10 minutes trying to rinse/scrub the mud off of one of the shoes.  There wasn't enough water pressure to do much.  My legs were coated from the top of my sock to my knee, and I had mud on my arm in spots.

After showering and scrubbing, I wiped my legs dry with the towel and it turned brown from the mud residue.  My legs were starting to itch, and I started thinking about what that "mud" could have been run-off from.  After cleaning up some more, I rubbed my legs down with Purell.  Hopefully, the itchiness was an allergic reaction to weeds or something, but I found myself creeped out, nonetheless.

I'm sure I got some weird looks from being so coated in mud on a clear and dry day.  Oh, well.  It's good to be running again.

Muddy shoes after an attempt to wash them off.

Almost a perfect 12-mile loop through Fern Creek/J-Town #twit2fit

12 miles, 1:55:06 (9:36/mile), 10 straight weeks running.

This was my longest run in almost 5 months.  I didn't get to start bright and early when the day is the coolest.  I didn't run in a public park today (not even through Vettiner).  I didn't run across anyone else who was running, and virtually no one was walking, either.  Plus, traffic had already picked up for a Saturday and I had chosen to run along Stonybrook all the way to Galene and Six Mile Ln.  I couldn't find a public restroom on my route (well I was on the wrong side of the road for KFC and didn't try El Nopal).  I had intermittent pains that threatened to stop me at any moment.

Nevermind all that.  This run was perfect.  Sure, I ran a 23 mile long run last year at a pace 80 seconds per mile faster.  Sure, I don't feel 100% healthy still.  However, today was a beautiful day; I knocked out a few more running crutches; and, more importantly, I finished.

Oh, and I almost found a perfect loop for a 12-miler between Fern Creek and J-town:

RunningAHEAD - Strings_n_88keys's log: View Workout.

Ran for the first time. 2.16 mi in 18:18 #twit2fit

I intended to go outside to walk 2 miles, despite my back being pretty tight still.  Leaving the gym, I had to decide whether I wanted to bring my iPod Classic (arm band) and phone with me (no pockets).  Doing so would have guaranteed that I wouldn't have run.  However, I left both behind.

I started out at a nice trot, just enough to roll the feet forward for a smooth transition.  By the 0.2 mile mark, I was down to an average pace of 8'53".  By the end of the first mile, I was down to an 8'37" pace.  My second mile was at an 8'14" pace.  My limiting factor quickly became aerobic capacity with lungs and heart.  Much more than 2 miles and I would have hit a pretty hard wall.

Now that I'm finished with the run,  my back (and lingering sinus infection) actually feels better than before.

RunningAHEAD - Strings_n_88keys's log: View Workout.