Feb 1, 2013

Ups & Downs with Running After Sydney

Photo Credit: CentralCaliforniaCycling.com

I can't remember if, when I was pregnant with Sydney, I mentioned that my most restful night's sleep was when I dreamed about running. I missed if terribly, but between the normal pregnancy exhaustion, the usual chasing of London around, the 12 puppies we cared for, and Tulley, maintaining my running habit just wasn't an option for me in the first trimester. Which meant there would be no running for me throughout the pregnancy.

Sydney's arrival was perfect timing, though, as I would be considered "healed" enough for running again, with a few extra weeks thrown in for good measure just in time for SacFIT's Winter/Spring 2013 session. As soon as I could, I signed up.

And that session started up on January 5. It was frigid that morning, but I got out there and ran 2 miles, noted my time and recorded my heart rate for placement into a pace group. The first time I ever participated in SacFIT I was placed in the 14-minute mile pace group, which is part of the Red group. I moved up to the 13:30s my next session.

I went into that cold morning knowing it had almost been a year since I last ran consistently and that my body is still recovering from Sydney. I honestly expected to be placed even lower, possibly in the purple group, which is 16-minute miles or slower.

When the pace group recommendations showed up in my email that next Friday morning, I was pleasantly surprised to find I was in fact not in the purples. I was ecstatic to see that I was actually placed in the group ahead of Red - The Golds! Before, it had just been a dream to make it there - suddenly I was, placed into the 12:30-minute mile group. When I thought about it, my weekly runs before my break were around a 12:30-minute mile. 

That next Saturday I ran 4 miles with the 12:30 Golds. I even met a new mother whose daughter was born a week before Sydney! 

But on Sunday I could barely walk my knees ached do bad. Monday I tried to go out for my short run as outlined in the SacFIT program. I think I looked worse than the oldest granny out running. And the pain became unbearable. I ended up cutting the run short and walked most of the time I was out there. I took the rest of the week and the next weekend off (that was the Tahoe weekend any how). When I tried to go out Tuesday last week, my knees had been feeling better. But 3 minutes into a 22 minute run they were killing me again.

While in Tahoe, I made mention the pain and Emily reminded me that relaxin stays in the body about a year after baby arrives. She had suffered from knee pain as well. After my failed Monday run I emailed the Gold leader, who I happen to know from college (she is the one that turned me on to SacFIT) and asked her advise. She thought my shoes could be some of the problem and my quads may not be strong enough. We both agreed I should go down to a group I felt comfortable running with to avoid pain and that I should work my way back up. 

I showed up last Saturday planning on walking with the 16-minute mile purple group. But I just couldn't bring myself to do it, so I joined the 15-minute mile Red group.  Honestly, I could have walked the entire time, but I am not a fan of speed walking, and my knees were feeling better so I tried jogging. And I jogged the full 54 minutes, even picking up the pace in the last 1/2 mile. The best part - my knees didn't hurt that evening or Sunday. I was a little bit stiff though. 

In the end, I probably only need new inserts in my shoes. The rest of my problem is I am out of shape and it will take some time to get back into it. Tomorrow I think I will try to run with the 14:30s and assess how I feel afterward. If I can make it back to the 14s I'll be a happy camper for the season. At least I know I can get to the Golds - it's not an impossible dream, but I also think my returning to the Golds is a ways off. I'm not even signing up for any races until I know I can complete them.

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