Monday, May 14, 2012

The Best Day in a While

Really, I don't have a lot of bad days...but today was damn good.

Wanna know why?

Well, it started out as Mondays usually do: a 5 a.m. alarm, some 50 minutes on the recumbent bike and some glute exercises. When I got home, I got the kids their breakfast and took them to school.

But after that, things were different. I went straight from preschool to.....

This wasn't my first experience on the Alter-G. It wasn't my fastest. But it was much more meaningful. I warmed up walking at 100% body weight for five minutes. Then my exercise physiologist, Jaclyn, ratcheted me down to 70% body weight (the 50% prescription Cathy had suggested apparently isn't a good idea). And then I ratcheted the speed up until I was running. Yes, running!

How was it? The first few steps were, as my daughter says, "Ouchie." I felt them instantly in my tailbone. But as I got accustomed to the motion and warmed up to the speed, the pain disappeared (this took about 20 seconds). Soon I was able to increase the speed. In the end, I ran for 20 minutes, starting at 12 minute miles, working up to 10 minute miles and doing the last five minutes at 8:27 minute miles. At no time was I out of breath (thank you recumbent bike!) and though I had some tightness in my right hamstring and hips by the end, I felt no pain apart from those first few steps. At the end, I walked another five minutes at 100% body weight.

I estimate I ran a grand total of two miles (total miles with the walking amounted to 2.52). This brings my sad little annual grand total for 2012 up to 252 miles (it's been sitting at 250 since March 6). They weren't real miles, in a way, because of the anti-gravity boost. But trotting along at the end of them I felt that old joy, the old pull at my sternum to try to go faster and harder. I can't tell you the bliss of being able to push that speed button higher at last. Tonight my back is definitely stiff. I've given it a good foam rolling (along with that hamstring) and a good icing. I'm going to take it easy tomorrow, doing only my PT exercises and a short walk. My next date with the Alter-G is Thursday and I'm feeling optimistic.

Another fun thing: I debuted some new shoes with this little return to running.

The Pure Flows in my favorite color! The shirt was a gift from Kathy late last year. I wore it today for my modest return.
I decided that since I can't run very far anyway, I'd use the chance to get used to some lower-profile shoes. After trying a whole bunch on over the last few weeks (wishful running retailing!), I settled on the Brooks Pure Flows. It took me a while to find a place that had my size in stock (we had a little overnight with Kathy and her family on Friday, and a Saturday trip to one of her running stores finally resulted in a purchase--thank you, Kathy!). They just feel good--not too narrow for my bunion-y feet, cushioning in the right place under my forefoot, light as a feather. And on today's run they and I agreed nicely with each other (at least at 70% body weight).

My fun day wasn't over yet, though. After showering and running some errands, I drove down to Denver and met up with Jill and Kathleen for lunch. These two ladies--both of whom are seriously generous people and admirable runners, with one being a road goddess and the other a trail goddess--had run together down in the south suburbs but kindly drove a ways north afterwards to hook up with me.

Jill, Kathleen and me.
Between my night hanging out with Kathy over the weekend and this lunch today (and thanks to a comp day off work that allowed me to do all of these things!), I had a really nice Mothers' Day weekend "girl talk about running" fix, something that's too rare for me.

Am I "back"? I can't really say that yet. I need to have pain-free running, and have it with full gravity pulling on that tailbone of mine. But it's a step in the right direction. Two miles of steps, in fact.