My running comeback has not gone as smoothly as expected. My goal for the summer was to be able to run Windsor comfortably. I tacked it once and finished worn out and embarrassed at the number of times my friends had to wait for me while I walked. I haven't run it since. Sigh.
I had been doing well at running with other people at least twice a week, which is good for me. I tend to run farther and faster than I would if I were running alone. But then my problems with plantar fasciitis popped up, and I took some time off. When I tried to run with people again after that, it was a disaster; I couldn't keep up and had to cut runs short or walk.
When I whined to Jen about how my running was going so badly, she asked a crucial question: "Are you starting out slowly enough?" Slightly offended, I responded by saying, "Of course I am. I know I have to start slow and work into my pace." But then I thought more about the two runs that were the worst and realized Jen was exactly right - I hadn't started slowly enough.
The first run was with Liz; we did 5 miles on the trail. I told her I was going to slow her down at the start because I've run with her long enough to know that she tends to bolt from the get-go. And she was pretty good about going slowly, but after the fact I knew it hadn't been as slow as I needed. Plus she'd do these little speed bursts any time someone fast passed us. She wasn't aware she was speeding up, but suddenly she'd be four steps ahead of me and taking off. I ended up dropping back at mile 4 and going into tippy-toe mode just to be able to finish.
A few weeks after that, when I was still nursing my PF, I ran with Anne, and I fell apart on a three-mile run. Again, even though we started slowly, it obviously wasn't slowly enough.
So on all my recent runs, which I've done solo, save the one time I had Campbell in the jogger, I've started out at tippy-toe pace. Walkers probably could have passed me, but I didn't care. I crept along, slowly building momentum until I was moving along at a speedier pace. On all of the runs, I felt comfortable AND I was able to tack on extra distance. And I finished each run with strides.
I needed those runs to keep up my enthusiasm for running. I'm not sure how many times I can start over again before I get so frustrated and chuck my running shoes in Town Lake and never go back.
But before that happens, I'm running in the Fila Relays tomorrow night. I'm on a team with Heidi, Anne, and Julia. Our team name is "4 moms, 10 kids." Wish us luck.