Happy Friday, everyone! It’s been a crazy week, but knowing that I only have EIGHT days left in the office after today has really helped propel me towards the weekend. The fact that I’m not even thinking twice about quitting my job in the UK and moving back to California as the US potentially slips into a “double-dip” recession underscores just how ready I am to start my new career!

I am most definitely NOT ready, however, to be approaching the half-way mark in my 16-week Portland marathon training cycle. I’m nowhere close to where I expected I would be at this stage, and that’s a bit frightening. Actually, the ups and downs of training really aren’t so different from market activity. Okay, perhaps *slightly* more stable, ideally, but the goal for both is up. As a runner, I am constantly trying to push myself beyond my last accomplishment. Sometimes I hit plateaus in my training – or worse, go downhill – but I always strive to improve.

So, if I could track my running fitness across my first seven weeks of Portland marathon training, what would it look like? Perhaps something like this:

In other words, a promising initial gain followed by sharp declines in between short bouts of false hope/denial and then, upon hearing the bitter reality of my hip injury, a complete free fall.

As of this week, however, I’m finally starting to make slow and steady gains. Monday marked my return to running (1km easy), which wasn’t as easy as I had anticipated, but Wednesday’s 15min run/walk pyramid session felt slightly more natural. And today, I’m feeling even stronger – I did the same 15min session, but at a faster pace and still completely pain free. Truth be told, I’m only running for extremely short intervals – I ran for 8 minutes in total this morning – but I’m simply trying to focus on the progress I’m making each day. I wish I were training at a higher level, and obviously I could run for much longer if I wanted to, but that would certainly lead ME into a double-dip running recession and I don’t want that happening!

I must digress briefly to say that one advantage to being injured is that I got to try out an anti-gravity treadmill! I’ve always been curious about them but had never actually seen one before. I noticed it in the clinic after Wednesday’s physio session, asked to try it, and within a few minutes was up and running! Here’s a shot of the machine – sadly (thankfully?) no shot of me in it:

It was SO weird! You put on these tight (neoprene?) shorts with a skirt-like zipper around the waist, step into the hole, lift up part of the machine and zip yourself into the plastic that encases the treadmill. You then start the machine, which determines your weight, and change the settings to a certain percentage (I tested it out between 60% and 80% of my weight) while adjusting the speed and incline as you would do with a normal treadmill. The machine actually lifts you up (hence the shorts)! I didn’t like how the shorts forced me to sway slightly as I ran, but overall it was awesome. As one of the physios told me, it’s tough to force a runner to stop running (yup – I can confirm that), so it’s a great way to let an injured runner get his or her fix without incurring further damage.

Anyway, I still haven’t fully mapped out my remaining eight weeks of training, mostly because my physio hasn’t yet provided me with a revised running plan (eagerly awaiting this as I type…another source of frustration, as I’m used to having a clear plan set out relatively far in advance, rather than distributed to me a couple days at a time…). As a result, I’m struggling to visualize how I will be able to ramp up my mileage safely and sufficiently in such a short period of time. But I’m trying my best to be patient and have faith that I’ll get back to where I need to be by the time October 9th rolls around!