I made my triumphant return to running this weekend with mixed results. Saturday I jumped on the treadmill for 10 minutes after my pool workout. 10min/mile pace was plenty fast enough for me. Sunday I ran 15 min over to the Highland Park Lifetime Fitness. It was slow going, I was more concerned with keeping the pace very relaxed. Even then I averaged around 8:30 mile/pace. The fact that I'm scolding myself for going that "fast" shows the relative change in perspective my injury and subsequent surgery has produced. I supplemented my run with 15 min on the elliptical machine and some weight training to ensure 30+ min of activity.
Overall my body felt pretty good. Of course I was sore pretty much everywhere, but the injured/repaired area held up about as well as I expected. It would be naive to think that four weeks out from surgery I would be completely pain-free. I'm sure it will be a few months before I fully realize the benefits of the surgery. Until then I aim to remain patient.
Re: slower running. I've always been on the fence about how slow is too slow in training, but in doing some lit review over the last few weeks I've been reframing my training paradigm. I think the notion of LSD has been misrepresented by the critics. Lydiard et al never advocated running super-slow day in, day out as a method of reaching peak performance. LSD is about listening to your body, recovering on the recovery days, and running hard on the hard days. People always draw this distinction between the hard-easy theory of training and Lydiard, when in reality they are the same thing.
I think that is something that I have failed to realize/practice over the course of my running career, especially and ironically when I started running ultras. I figured if I wanted to run 62 miles at 6:xx pace then I shouldn't be doing miles slower than 7:00 pace, ignoring my own mantra that the training for ultras isn't any different than 10k-marathon training. Recovering from my surgery is giving me a chance to start over in a sense.
In the meantime, I've been working on strengthing my injured hamstring, but no amount of stretching/yoga/activity seems to loosen it up. The next step will be deep tissue massage to open that area up so that, hopefully, stretching/weight training has more of an effect.
I feel like I'm rebuilding my body right now. All this work should make a difference next spring. Whether I race or get back into intense training that soon is yet to be decided, but I'm doing everything I can to get back there.