Yesterday, I was tired so I slept in. After the excitement of being able to run again, I pushed my body hard but neglected fuel adequately. The accumulated fatigue took its toll so I listened to my body. Rather than force myself to get up and run early, I slept in and started the day relaxed.

Recognizing the danger of delaying my workout, I was mindful to not wait too late in the day. Once the sun goes down, making excuses not to train becomes very easy.

The plan changed quickly

My training plan had a 1-hour zone 1 run, easy peasy. In addition to keeping the run steady, Johnny has told me to focus on keeping my cadence at 180 steps/minute or faster. I’ve found plenty of benefits with the increased leg turnover. The most impactful is a reduction in the impact of each step. With a long slow stride, each step is quite jarring. However, with the increased cadence, it feels like I’m hopping from one foot to the other. With my increased abdominal and pelvic sensitivity, I pay very close attention to the intensity of the jarring. Typically, I would have to slow down, but with the rapid turnover, I’m able to run faster with the feeling of gliding rather than stomping.

Today, I went to the park so that I could run on a trail rather than the street or sidewalk. Trails are softer and less jarring than concrete. To help keep my cadence I listen to the Podrunner podcast which creates music mixes at different speeds. I find that running to a constant rhythm allows me to get lost in the music and just keep the beat. As a consequence, the mental fatigue is reduced and I’m able to be more relaxed while I run – Win/Win

Fairly quickly I got into the rhythm of the run and began to feel like I was gliding along the trail. My legs felt a little tired, but warming up properly typically takes care of that feeling. Although I kept my attention on the cadence, I occasionally glanced at the pace. To my surprise, I was averaging mid 8min/mile! I’d always wanted to be able to run in this range but was afraid that it was too fast, so I haven’t tried for any meaningful distance. I decided to face my fear and run and see if I could keep it steady for a full 5K.

Once I made the decision to push my perceived limit, I got excited. A simple mental change affected my whole nervous system. I didn’t dread trying, instead, I became excited to see how well I could do.

My pace increased with very little effort. I was able to settle-in at low 8min/ mile and even move in and out of the high 7 min/mile range. Oh, wow, my adrenaline and determination spiked. I’d fantasized about what it would feel like to run in the 7’s! I was doing it without even planning or going through mental backflips. My heart rate was pretty high and I worked to manage my breathing. I wasn’t going to stop before 3.1 miles. Today, I was going to stop when the goal was reached.

At mile 2.5 I was mentally uncomfortable, I flooded with self-doubt. However, I didn’t listen. I stuck with my decision and kept pushing. The reality was that my body was fine, it was my mind (and self-limiting beliefs) that were in the way. Earlier this year, I decided that this would be a year of mental and physical breakthroughs with my running progress. I didn’t expect to begin so quickly, yet, I’m happy that I did.

Rather than continue to run for an hour, I stopped at 3.1 miles. Feeling absolutely wonderful. I was proud of myself and delighted with my willingness to push through the fear and doubt. After reviewing the run data, I noticed that my V02 max has increased too. Somehow my lung efficiency has increased during the post-operation period which is fantastic too.