Yesterday I ran the furthest I’ve run since my stress fracture last July.  5 miles.  Outside in 7 degrees (on March 25th!).  And it was Heaven.  I swear that it put me in a good mood ALL DAY LONG!  It felt so so so good.  Repeat performance this morning.  Which felt equally heavenly.

But here’s the thing – while it felt heavenly, it also felt like shit.

Non-runners may not understand what I mean.  Even runners might not understand – unless they have been injured and taken a significant time off of running, then they may.   So, because you are all so curious (actually, because I like documenting things for myself for the future), I’ll explain.

I ran 5 miles outside at 9:15 pace yesterday.  And it felt hard.  My legs and core were fine.  But my breathing was labored.  It felt comparable to doing 5 miles at tempo or faster.  At times – when I would run uphill – it felt like doing it at an interval pace.  Which is all pretty funny when 9:15 used to be major recover pace.  And the part that really surprised me was that when I was done running it took a long time – like 10 minutes – for my breathing to return to normal.  WTF?

I’m not complaining.  I’ll take it over not running any day.  But it just goes to show you how out of running shape I have become after 168 days of not running (preceded by 7 – 8 years of running non stop!)

Like I said, I’m definitely not complaining.  In fact, I LOVE it.  I love that I am able to see progress in a way that I stopped seeing it during my years of continuous marathon training.  My recovery program (which is in it’s last week), started with 1/2 a mile of running and progressed in 1/4 and 1/2 mile increments over the course of 14 weeks to max out at 5 miles this week.  And each week when  I increased the mileage – it felt like just enough.  And I could slowly feel my body recovering and see my body getting back in shape (I’ve lost 5.5 pounds in 2014 – thanks, in part, to a return to running).

Now as I look towards a fall marathon, I am excited about it in a way that I have never been.  It’s a strange place to be – knowing that I have run a marathon before and even run it fast enough to BQ – but being in a place where right now I am struggling to even fun 5 miles at what used to be recovery pace.  So exciting to be back at it!

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