...and maybe not quite a whole step back, but in some ways, that's what it feels like.
I did finally get my sorry self to the gym this morning, and spent 45 minutes on the treadmill, including a 10-minute walking warmup, and a 5-minute cooldown.
After more or less zero activity since the marathon (I did one 3-mile run about two weeks ago) I expected it to be a lot harder than it was. I took several walking breaks throughout, but I did run, even if it was at a pace that barely qualified as running. I even managed 4 minutes at 5MPH, which is a speed that was challenging even when I was in the thick of training.
A 12-minute mile is practically a sprint pace for me. :-P But after over 4 weeks of essentially doing nothing, the fact that I could maintain that speed for 4 whole minutes is, in my estimation, pretty good (although I felt a tad pukey for a few minutes after.) On top of that, I've gained about 7 lbs., as my diet has been total and utter crap. As I type this I can feel various spots getting stiff and sore, so even just this little jaunt was a bit of a shock to the system, I think. Discouraging, but not unexpected.
I've pronounced it to myself (and sometimes to the world at large) a thousand times before - but I'm going to say it again, right now, just because I'm tenacious if nothing else. It's time to get with the program. Seriously. Even after feeling like I wrecked myself with the marathon - I haven't lost the desire to run. There are plenty of half marathons I want to take on this coming year, and I'm pretty sure I'll target Portland as my second go at the marathon next October.
For now, there's the Oregon Zoo Turkey Trot (4 miles) on Thanksgiving morning, and two 5Ks in December that I'll focus on. There will be no worry or fuss about acheiving PRs - these will be strictly about just getting back in the game and rebuilding my base.
So, it's pretty clear: dial in the nutrition, start doing some strength training (especially for the ankles, which are really weak right now) and get some mileage on the books.
Yep, time to get with the program.