Coming along.

Finally. I finally started running again with some sense of purpose. A few weeks ago, I ran with my niece in Wisconsin during her high school XC training camp. That was fun. And it was clear that I had a long way to go if I was going to do any serious running this fall. But that was fine. I got to run with Nora and just watching her dedication and commitment to kicking ass was inspiring. So last week I actually started logging my miles again. And this week, I started working out.

I've barely run since Boston (Since I totally fell apart in Boston). Or at least, I haven't run with any consistency. There was a short stint in June when I decided to see how fast I could run on the track. Three weeks of hard running on the Columbia track and I was hitting some 800 times that made me smile. Yeah, my legs were screaming at me for torturing them, but I figured I wanted to do something unusual to mark my 40th (other than a 40 mile run to Peekskill). And on June 27, all alone at 6 in the morning on the Van Cortlandt track, I threw down a 4:54 mile. That's the fastest mile I can remember running since college and it made me happy to think I didn't have to feel slow and lazy (even as I was feeling terribly slow and lazy). So good to know, 40 didn't have to be the end of speed. But I put my spikes away and let other things get in the way of running.

Last week, after running only when others twisted my arm to do so, I started heading out solo again. Not surprisingly, my legs did not appreciate being battered back into shape. The cardio felt fine, but my legs felt HEAVY and every run felt like a slog. Fine. That's how it always starts. I managed just over 20 slow miles that week and wondered how it would feel to run a normal week. 

This week was better, but not great. I run solo on Monday, had a good run home from the office on Tuesday, and took Wednesday off. My legs felt OK, but definitely tired. Thursday I jumped into the CPTC workout and--as I expectedly--got my ass kicked. But even with a hard workout that ended with my fading, it was invigorating to be back in the park with such a great crew. Friday I was supposed to run back from Osborne's summer picnic in Hartsdale, but I just didn't have it in me. Saturday, I was planning to run with Sarah in Forest Park in Queens (happy birthday to Sarah, by the way), but I bailed and ran around Inwood and Riverdale. After all that bailing, I figured I'd better do something to remind myself that I am serious about getting back into shape. 

So I decided to run long today. For pretty much no reason other than to see how it felt and because running long has always been a staple of my training cycle that looks (or looked) something like:

Monday: Easy 9

Tuesday: Track 

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Tempo (between 4 and 9 miles, depending on the week)

Friday: Easy 9

Saturday: 11 - 12 progressive with a hard finish

Sunday: 18 - 23 

This meant anywhere from 55 - 67. I used to do doubles on Tuesday and Thursday with easy runs in the morning followed by evening workouts, but it got to be too much. 

Anyway, I posted something on Facebook hoping to get some company for today's run and Sue offered to run the first bit with me. It was a beautiful morning to run. We headed through Inwood Hill Park, up through Riverdale (where I got a friendly hello from Dick Conley) , and into Yonkers. Sue headed home, and I picked up the OCA (my favorite) and run up into Hastings. I was moving slowly, but the trail was nice and cool (all shade, all the way) and I just kept myself moving along. I stopped for water and fruit at the A&P in Hastings (a good bathroom, too, if you ever need one mid-run) and turned into the sun for the run back. 

And it was fine. I picked up the pace a bit as I headed south. Cruised along the South County Trailway, passing some friendly faces and former teammates. Sal, the most consistent runner I've ever met was leading a group run, and then stopped to chat briefly with Glen Shane, VCTC coach and super-positive and supportive guy. I was somewhere around mile 17 at this point and really ready to be done, but seeing Glen perked me up and I shuffled my way back into Van Cortlandt and home. 

42 miles on the week. Not a great week of running, but the first week that felt like I was running with purpose. I hope to build to 46, then 50, then 55. If I can hold that steady into the fall, I think I'll be able to stay healthy and start to pick up some speed.

And oh look, I actually managed to sit down and write something. Here's hoping to more consistency here, too.