So this is what I imagined my first week back to running would be like:
And this is what it's really been like:
I ran five times this week. The first day went ok. After that, not so much. One day I was able to run 45 minutes straight. I took yesterday off. Today, I could run ten minutes at a time before I needed to stop and walk. Things I never even noticed to be hills (like, a 1% incline) are insurmountable. I can't run up anything. I can't run for very long on a flat surface, or even downhill. My hip and glute muscles are worthless. Long walks, some elliptical, and strength training did nothing to maintain my run fitness. When I quit, in late November, six miles was an easy day, ten was nothing crazy, and twenty was do-able. Now re-read that last sentence, but replace miles with minutes and that's where I'm at. I am never, ever taking six weeks off again. Experiment over.
On the bright side, I'm so limited by my lack of run-strength/rhythm/stride, that keeping my HR under that MAF 149ish limit is no problem whatsoever. I couldn't run fast if there was a giant boulder rolling down a tunnel after me. I will just keep plodding along, I guess, and hope that my legs come back to me eventually.