Coming Full Circle in the 5K - What 45 Days Off Does to Your Aerobic Capacity

So on Halloween I was given clearance to start aerobic activity again after a 45 day hiatus due to multiple eye surgeries. 45 days off from running is by far the longest I haven't run since the beginning of my running endeavors in 1993.

While it sure felt great to get out there again, I knew regaining my aerobic conditioning would not be easy.

As mentioned in previous blog posts, I was signed up to run the Malibu Marathon that took place yesterday, but obviously had to bail out due to my eye surgeries. However, I had forgotten that many, many months ago, last March to be exact, I had signed up to run the Calabasas Classic 5K. Yes indeed, I was signed up to do 2 races in 1 day. Kind of lame of me, but hey, I wanted to get the early bird discount way back when.

The Calabasas Classic 5K/10K is one of the biggest local races, with over 2,000 participants in the 2 races (split about 75% 5K and 25% 10K). It is a well orchestrated event and the goodie bag alone, with a nice "technical" shirt and other items, is worth the cost of entry. Not to mention, the medal you see to the right is given to all finishers. What a neat gesture, as people love getting great swag and momentos at local races!

So since I had already paid to run the 5K, I decided, what the heck, it would be fun to actually run the race.

Mind you, I had only been back running for 12 days since my doctor's blessings. Without a day off in those 12 days and Friday/Saturday my legs were pretty darn stiff and non-responsive. While I had felt pretty good the first week back to running, my body was starting to rebel a bit.

So race day, I had very low expectations. I was running to have fun and test myself, not compete. That was certainly the way the race went.

The gun went off at 8 a.m. My legs actually felt o.k., slightly better than the prior 2 days, and my breathing wasn't labored or anything. While I couldn't run "fast" by my standards, I had situated myself in a spot where I was stuck behind slower runners at the start of the race. This allowed me the mental enjoyment of passing dozens and dozens of runners the first mile of the race.

But after the first mile, that was pretty much it. While my legs were moving, I simply was not able to run "fast" (again by my own standards). About a year ago I ran a 17:30 5K in Camarillo without any speed training. Yesterday I had absolutely no gears and ran a 20:11, effectively the slowest 5K I've ever run (my first ever 5K was 19:42). But hey, it got me 45th place overall out of 1,500 participants. Gotta look at the positive side. And 4th in my age group.

NO REGRETS! Given everything I've been through, I was perfectly happy with my time. Heck, that was a 6:31 per mile pace, 11 days and no rest after 2 major eye surgeries and 45 days of zippo running.

Still, I was a little bit exasperated, trying to run down 2 kids, ages 11 and 13 (according to the results) that were directly in front of me. Heck, add them up and double it and I'm still older than them. I'm gonna run down those kids down next time :> (loved seeing those kids doing so well out there).

After the race my chest was so tight and sore I though I might get a stroke or something. But not to worry, my lungs were simply not used to sucking down all that air so quickly. My aerobic capacity had taken a beating and was in shock I think. Within an hour I was back to feeling fine.

The morning after the race most of my lower body was sore, though mainly my shins and hamstrings.

Feels good to get sore again. I'm baaaaccckkkk. Or on my way, at least.

Run local races. It's great motivation for getting aerobically fit.