Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The final step back into my routine

Yesterday was a day full of back-to-normal activities. I drove, and on the right-hand side of the road. I spent American dollars. I took a long shower without flip-flops. And I went on a run.

As I shuffled up the road outside my apartment, my pace was deliberately slow for two reasons: the wind and the rust. I'd spent six days in London, sandwiched by a full day of travel on either side. And then it occurred to me that I didn't remember the last time I'd been on a run (excepting my failed attempt to grab a departing train).

The last true run before my Oct. 29 effort, it turns out, was Oct. 17. The following two days, I had meant to run, but life got in the way, and then after that it was either travel preparations or the actual trip (which, I had already decided, would not feature a run).

I felt a bit of regret, knowing it would put me behind on my 1,000-mile challenge, but it seemed like my Google Reader had been trying to send me a message. All the running blogs I follow were extolling the virtues of rest ... so I embraced my 7.5-mile week.

Still, it's a bit scary — at least for this nonnatural runner — to go so long without running. Each day that passes after a run seems to chip away at my motivation to get back out there; I'd taken nearly two weeks off. (Which isn't to say I was lazy — I estimated that I walked 22 miles over the course of my trip.)

Thank God yesterday's run went off with only the expected hitches, or, rather, stitches. I lost my breath and stride at the same spots I always do on this particular route, no matter what shape I'm in.

Once I hit the flat final stretch, I was mostly fine — I knew there'd be another run after this one. No pain, only mild and fleeting discomfort; no anger; and no excessive sweat (less than normal, in fact).

I'm unequivocally glad now that I took that time off. I had a few aches before I did, and I'm sure they'll return if I ramp up the mileage again, but I hadn't given myself the summer break I'd been used to in 2010 and 2011. Maybe fall break was a must for those muscles and joints.

And given the mild yearning I felt while watching Londoners run, my mind might've needed the time away to grow fonder, too.

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