After a ten-day running ban, I finally laced up my Sauconys last night to mark my triumphant return.

I’m not sure you can classify a 1km/.62M plod as a run – I would’ve gone further had it not been for my physio’s orders – but I guess you have to start somewhere. The good news is that it was completely pain free – physically, at least (my ego suffered just a little bit).

I had somehow gotten it into my head that my first “run” would be extremely liberating (it was), like a wild animal bursting through a cage door, sprinting towards freedom (it definitely wasn’t). Although I’ve been cross training regularly (mainly cycling), I’ve been going stir crazy from my limited exercise options, so I had been eagerly awaiting this moment.

But as I stepped outside and started my Garmin, I felt more like an elephant than one of those sleek, wild horses chasing me down during the New Forest 10 not too long ago. One heavy foot crashing down after the other. Things jiggling that haven’t jiggled in a looooooong time. Moving so slowly that a three year old from the playground nearby ran out onto the track and passed me (no joke).

Okay, I’m exaggerating slightly, and the first run after a break often feels a little weird, but seriously – what the…?! I nailed a 10 mile training race only three weeks ago, and ten days ago, I ran 5 miles like it was no big deal (because it isn’t a big deal).

To be fair, I have not been as careful about my diet as I should have been (i.e. I simply haven’t changed it). I’ve been active on most days, but doing different things at a lower intensity to allow myself to recover, so it’s no surprise that I’ve gained a few pounds. And you lose a good chunk of running fitness in ten days, so that’s no shocker either. Just goes to show how much I rely on my usual exercise routine – in particular long runs, speed sessions and strength training – to keep my body strong and slim.

On the flip side, my hip has improved dramatically. It’s been ten days since I saw my physio for the first time and I’m now feeling nearly 100% better. I still have some strengthening to do in my right hip area to prevent future injury, and I obviously need to rebuild my fitness after three weeks of low mileage, but that will come (relatively) quickly from here on out. I have another physio session tomorrow, and intend to leave with a clear understanding of how to safely prepare for the Reyjavik half marathon later this month as well as the Portland marathon in October. I do not plan to push the pace too much in the half, but my physio is very confident that I’ll still be able to get a great time in the full. I’m actually planning to finally pace E in Reykjavik – although he’s convinced that this is his one chance to beat me (as if I’d EVER let that happen…!).

This whole experience has been pretty humbling – nothing like an injury to remind myself never to take my health for granted! It’s also very much uncharted territory for me – I’ve never taken this much time off in previous training cycles, so it will be interesting to piece together the rest of my program. Great practice for my future as a running coach!

Running 1km is hardly an accomplishment to brag about, but I’m just grateful to be back on the road (/trail/treadmill) again. And if you’ve been following this blog, then you know I’m always up for a challenge – one little blip means nothing in the grand scheme of things!

I’ll bounce back quickly – just give me another ten days…

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