It was absolutely pounding it down with rain when I got home from work this evening, but I was still determined to go out for a run. I've been protecting my poor, battered body by condensing all of my running into a single outing of about three miles on a Monday evening. It's something, I suppose, but as my knees have started to feel a bit better, I've noticed how much harder physically I seem to find even running that far. It's funny how quickly your cardiovascular fitness seems to drop away, and I suppose crashing from twenty miles a week down to three was always likely to have that kind of an effect. Swimming and cycling are okay, but they're not the same as running.
I ran on Monday and felt okay. I rested yesterday and was fully intending when I left the house to head to the gym after work for a swim and for the thrice-weekly visit to the weights machines to carry out the leg and knee strengthening exercises that are now sadly part of my routine. One of these is to do three sets of reps on the quad press, using one leg at a time with the other leg held in the air. I knew that my left leg was weaker than my right leg, as evidenced a 10% smaller muscle mass, but I hadn't realised how much the right leg protected it. With that exercise, there's now nowhere to hide. Ouch.
It was raining, but I'd had a growing feeling inside of me all afternoon that I was going to go out for a run. Maybe it's because I've been cooped up all day in a course learning about BPMN process mapping and use case modelling.... not exactly the most exciting subject in the world, eh?
Whatever prompted the urge to run, I didn't resist it. I'll go swimming tomorrow, but although it's a really important exercise for me to help slow the muscle wastage in my arms and shoulders, the truth is that I find it boring beyond belief. I wouldn't go as far as to say that I enjoy running, but I definitely find it more interesting. This evening, for instance, I was able to run listening to an excellent album of Nick Drake covers. When you swim, you only have the thoughts echoing around the inside of your own skull to keep you company, and half of the time that's just the counting of lengths.
I ran four miles. It's not much, and I certainly didn't run it quickly... but it means that I have more than doubled my planned mileage for the week. My knees felt sore, but they held up okay and I feel really good about myself for going. It's funny how running has become so bound up in my own personal sense of wellbeing.
Whisper it quietly, but I may be slowly getting myself back out onto the road. No half marathon for me this year, but one step at a time, eh?