Saturday was the first group run of my new season of half marathon training. When I was preparing for surgery back in March, I had no expectation of being able to run at this point in my recovery. I knew I would rejoin my training group, but I expected to spend a month or so walking and then gingerly moving up to the run/walk group and hopefully, just maybe, making it back to my running group. I am extremely happy to report that I can run two miles at a time close to my previous pace with no issues at all. I'm a bit tired after a workout, but UC did the same thing to me so I'm used to dealing with that. It is also getting better as the weeks pass which is not something I could look forward to with UC.
This week I did join the run/walk group for the first work out. My sister-in-law joined the training program and had plans to train with this group. I wanted to go with her for the first week to help her feel settled and comfortable. The pace coach was conducting intervals of 4 min/1 min run/walk and a few of the newer runners were really struggling and getting dropped by the group. I remember how frustrated I felt when I started last season and kept getting dropped---and I was an experienced runner and knew it would get better as the season progressed. I didn't want these brand new runners to have a negative experience that might keep them from coming back. I was wearing my Garmin, so I asked them if they wanted to do a 3/2 interval at a slightly slower pace. They agreed to give it a try and I was able to motivate them to get through the rest of the run at that interval and they felt good about what they'd accomplished at the end. A couple of them asked me if I would come back and pace them on that 3/2 interval again next week, and I agreed to do it. After that, I will move up to a running pace group, but right now I'm really enjoying getting these new runners started off in a way that will hopefully turn them into runners for life! I know how much sheer joy I've reaped from the sport and the community, so I'm honored to help others reach their goals in this area.
During and after the run I just felt amazingly good. I can't believe how great I feel physically. There is such a transformation that takes place when your body isn't battling disease every day. I still have to be careful to respect my temporarily diminished energy levels, but I feel so much better while doing the things I love. It's such a wonderful change. I wish I could have predicted all of this in the weeks leading up to surgery and I wouldn't have fretted quite so much. Oh well....perhaps by knowing and sharing it now I can help someone else in that position a little bit.
I also want to update on some new additions to my diet! I keep sharing this stuff because I was so dejected the first time I saw the do and don't lists for the soft diet that you are supposed to follow right after surgery. I just want people to know that you can successfully expand your diet as time passes and your situation stabilizes. Some new items in the past few weeks include: lettuce, tomato, strawberries, peeled apple, peeled and cooked zucchini, and cantaloupe. I also drink things like beer, wine, and pop without any problems. Oh, and use straws! :-) Just remember, as you are adding new items try one new thing at a time, only eat a small amount the first time, chew it a zillion times, and drink plenty of fluids with it. Also, be sure to enjoy!