I forced myself to go out for a run Friday, even in the sub
zero sixty temperatures of the day which I thought would be an especially harsh welcome back. But, because I’m nothing if not a positive thinker (mostly), I told myself that cold weather meant the alligators were less likely to mess with anyone so I could do some of my alligator trail loops!
I know I don’t need to clarify this to Floridians but, to those of you out of state, it’s not like I’m running in the Everglades or anything. It’s just that some paved trails, even ones by roads, are marked as “CAUTION: ALLIGATOR HABITAT, PROCEED WITH CAUTION!” These signs are pretty hilarious because how do you “cautiously” traverse alligator habitats? With a rifle? Not at all?! But I think they just need to cover their tails in case you get eaten so they can say, “Hey, we warned you losers.” Still, it was cold and that usually means the alligators (and crocs, because there are some here too) were laying low… in theory. Plus there are a million tourists constantly on the trail on bikes right now and the traffic might scare them off a bit too. The whole run ended up going really well. I even saw a runner on the alligator trail portion of my loop and I could only assume she wasn’t a local because I rarely see any locals running. Maybe there are just too few of us so we never cross paths. Maybe they saw the alligator signs and are disciples of Darwin. Anyway, it was a great run and the cool air felt good after the first few miles. It was a great welcome back run after all!
The thing I didn’t take into account though was the squat routine I had done the night before. I just started doing weights. The 6 miles felt fine but after I got home I was feeling the soreness a bit. Also, since I haven’t been running much the last couple of weeks, I noticed that I was less hungry than usual. I wasn’t feeling starving all the time and I started to drop weight. I figured it was me dropping all my hard-earned muscle weight from the summer and that started to freak me out. But I think it was just the appetite changing because I wasn’t running 30 miles a week. But, sure enough, I start running again and immediately my body is like “I’M STARVING!!! FEED ME 5,000 CALORIES A DAY BECAUSE I SERIOUSLY NEED THAT MUCH!!!” I hate how running does that to you. And I do the whole tons of vegetables thing and I still feel starving. Not now but in the middle of marathon training. I guess it’s just something we have to learn to live with and ignore.
I’m debating what to do on Sunday Long Run morning. Since I don’t have a plan, I’m not even sure how far I should go at this point. All the literature says not to increase by more than 10% but what previous miles does that apply to? Your longest run in the last month? The last two weeks? The last 8 weeks? I don’t know. And since I do an out and back run, I kind of have to know ballpark before I start. I think I could do 15 miles but will it be overkill for building gradually again? I think I’ll stick to half marathon distances since I still have the half in a few weeks. Then start building total weekly mileage gradually.
More positive thinking… in talking to my race buddy, I realized that, although we both were not where we hoped to be at this point after last year’s marathons, I, for one, have lost considerable weight from this time last year, I’m a lot more fit, and I know so much more about running than I ever have. It’s a great to realize that even if you’re not at the finish line, you can still see great improvements. It makes me excited to see what next fall’s race season will be like with a starting point like this already.