For weeks following surgery, I wondered what it would be like when I finally returned to running.
Would my legs be sore? Would I be sucking wind after losing cardio fitness during an extended break? Could I find the motivation to get up early and put in some miles before work?
Several times each week, I counted on my fingers how many weeks it had been since I last run.
By nature, I tend to be a planner — at work, my running routine, logistics of traveling. But I have my limits, tending to avoid tourist traps or planning a schedule of events for my free time. After all, there’s only so much structure one person can take.
So I was a bit surprised by the significance of the past week. Resisting the urge to jump back into grueling training, I took a measured approach and hit the treadmill at the gym on Saturday.
It went surprisingly well — no burning lungs, no aching legs, no piercing pain in my abdomen. A repeat effort on Sunday wasn’t quite as exhilarating, but it was good. And I haven’t forgotten about stretching and strengthening exercises to make me a better runner in the long term.
That Sunday run was even done early enough to get home and watch the New York City Marathon, which allowed me to reflect back one year ago to my personally historic race and first time qualifying for the Boston Marathon.
On Monday evening, I was home celebrating Cooper’s first birthday — he was born on the date of last year’s New York marathon. I’ll have to get some fresh photos uploaded of Coby and Cooper, but I like to think back to day when the pack grew.
And then news came Wednesday that the Chicago Marathon approved my guaranteed entry application. It’s one of my all-time favorite races, and running there in 2010 stood as my personal best for 5 years. For years, I had thought about returning, and luckily a friend informed me about the qualifying times for guaranteed entry (essentially, the same qualifying times as the Boston Marathon, except a little wider window for acceptable races).
Later this week, I’ll join friends for our annual trip to the Nike Cross Nationals regional meet in Sioux Falls, where they also put on a competitive community 5K after the high school races.
Overall, that makes for a pretty memorable November.
TOP PHOTO: The first wave of runners make their way across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge during the start of the New York City Marathon in New York, Nov. 5, 2017. Photo by Lucas Jackson / Reuters