I've been running pretty consistently since December 21st. My 3 mile run times have been about 30 to 35 minutes. In a month's time, I had dropped 20 pounds, and as of mid-March, my 3 mile time has been under 24 minutes. That was all treadmill work during the winter months, so you'd have to take that number with a grain of salt, but I was feeling pretty good about it. On March 18th, I strained something in my calf. I couldn't run and hobbled back to my car from the trail I was running. I took a week or so off and returned to running about 3.28. I ran only a mile that day, but the following day I ran 3 miles, albeit at a 10:00 pace. on Wednesday (3.30), I tried to pick up the pace and blew out my calf again.
I thought I had torn a muscle, but the doc did an ultrasound on 4.7 and said everything looked good. She approved a gradual return to normal runs. I took it slow at first. Half a mile the first day and a mile the second day. With some serious conditioning and stretching, I've gotten back up to 3 miles. My times have slipped, but now that I have the distance back, I can work on my pace gradually until I recover completely.
Part of the backslide is due to the fact that I'm now running outside, whereas all of my winter runs/training have been indoors on a treadmill. I continue to be shocked at how much more difficult outdoor runs are. I ran in the park over the weekend and took about 26 minutes for 3 miles of relatively flat ground. Today, I ran 3 miles in about the same time (26:30 vs. 26:33), but the path I took (city streets) was far more challenging. My legs feel good. A little sore, but no more so than the rest of me. I think my leg is going to be ok this time. I'm still a little cautious with it, but I'm back on the path. However, my entire body is sore from this new challenge. As I continue to push this, I see another phase of weight loss due to the extra effort I'm putting forth.
I've been running nearly every day and, particularly as my performance improves, I've become addicted to it and I can't wait to run my first street race. I'm running in the Warrior Dash (www.warriordash.com) in June, but that's not a street race. It's more an obstacle course or confidence course than a road race. I'm excited to do it, but it won't really challenge my running performance.
So, with any luck, I'm officially on the mend and can start pouring myself into this activity to regain what I've lost over the past month or so. I'm extremely pleased about what this has done for me, both mentally and physically. That's a post for another day, but I look forward to transformations to come.