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Changing expectations

Bouddi National Park coastline.

I can already sense my mindset changing, and much more quickly than expected.

When you can't run, you tell yourself you will be satisfied with just being able to jog 5km a day.  When you get to jogging 5km a day, you tell yourself you will be satisfied if you can just run 10km per day, with the occasional long run.  And so it goes.  Before long, you will just be satisfied if you can get back to the fitness level you enjoyed before sustaining the injury.

Lovely single-track in Bouddi
National Park.

This has always the pattern for me when dealing with a serious running injury, but somehow I thought the life-threatening health scare at Christmas might lead to an attitude change.  In some ways it's frightening, and in other ways comforting, to find that, post-injury, little has changed.  Scary, because it worries me that I'm not paying sufficient heed to the risks of reversion to heart arrhythmia and the impact that may have on my future quality of life.  Comforting, because it's good to know that my problems haven't changed me that much.

The fire-trail down to
Little Beach.

I made it around the 14km Trotters run on Saturday (see post titled Looking up) with no apparent ill-effects.  After two subsequent easier running days, I asked myself this morning why shouldn't I run a bit further today, and maybe hit one of my favourite local trails.  Part of my reasoning related to the psychological boost I would get from returning to my usual running haunts, and part of the reasoning was that the further I ran in training, the sooner I would regain fitness and the easier running would become.

The more I run, the less focussed I am on my heartbeat and breathing.  I'm finding that a conscious decision to run within myself is sufficient to keep my breathing controlled and my heartbeat within comfortable limits.  I'm wearing a heart monitor now for my runs and it confirms that my heart rate is averaging around 150bpm during runs, reaching a maximum of around 160bpm.  It seems to me that, though getting my heart rate higher would accelerate my return to fitness, I will still benefit from longer easier runs, healthwise and weightwise.

Little Beach this morning.

I ran about 13km today along trails to the deserted Little Beach on a warm and sunny morning.  I walked up the steepest hill, and stopped a couple of times for views and photos, but still worked up a very good sweat.  On the downside, my chronic right knee injury was quite painful at times.  It doesn't seem like the time off running, during which it was not painful at all, had done it any good.  But the pain is a price I'm happy to pay just to be running again.