This past week may just have been a turning point. I had taken nearly three weeks completely off with the hamstring injury. Before those weeks off, I wasn't running hard because I couldn't, so I wasn't doing any quality training. So, I went over a couple of months with little to no quality training. I had no confidence and I was very discouraged. Can I still call myself a runner?
When I smash PRs later this year, I'm going to look back at the week beginning January 30, and say that was the turning point. I started with travel to Minneapolis. I packed for the cold. I had tights, gloves, ear muffs, jackets, a scarf, the works. I was planning to run in the cold. The temp was -8 with a 17 mph wind with snow everywhere. So I had a choice to make. Gut it out on a treadmill or don't run.
I gutted it out on a treadmill. I did a 10 miler with 4 miles at 6:31 pace as a tempo workout. That tempo run was absolutely pain free in the hamstring. I wanted to quit the whole time, and I didn't ever quit. My confidence was back! Then, the next day, I ran 11 on the treadmill. Both runs were absolutely miserable. But they both boosted my confidence like no runs have in a while because (a) they didn't hurt my hamstring and (b) they were miserable and I hung in there anyway.
Then, Saturday I ran 21.5 of the toughest miles in Alabama. James Falcon and I ran the McKay Hollow Madness course, but we added the Land Trust loop (including Waterline) to get over 20 miles. It was a brutal run, and we were slow (thanks to James for not dropping me because he could have at any time), but again I gutted out a tough run beyond the point of wanting to quit.
Then that was followed up with a nice 10 miler (I did almost 14, running there and back home) with the Athens crew. And we ran a more brisk pace than usual today. What a solid week. I feel great! Tired, but great!