Saturday, September 12, 2015

Good on ya old man!

I haven’t been running. I didn’t stop running because I didn’t want to run. I stopped running because I couldn’t run. I ran The Maze on the last Saturday in March. Then I ran very little the month of April and May because I knew I needed the rest.

When I decided to start back I felt fully recovered and nothing hurt so threw myself in to running as if I had never taken any time off. After five days of running and a hard day of work in the yard my left knee told me that enough was enough.  I went for a run on a Monday morning and my knee hurt each time my left foot hit the ground. I thought “no big deal. I will take a couple of days off and be just fine. But that was not the case. The fleshy part in the back of my knee hurt. I tried mixing in running with walking. I added a knee brace when it didn’t get better. And then all I could do was walk. My knee didn’t hurt went I was not running but any impact at all caused me to stop in my tracks.

After a couple of months of struggling and making no progress towards healing my knee Andrea told me, “What advice would you give someone else? You would tell them to take ibuprofen, wear a good brace and take time off.” She is the smart one.

So I took off with no running at all for almost a full month.

On September 3rd I put my knee brace on and had high hopes that everything would be okay and I would be able to run like the wind. I took my first steps out of the driveway and walked to warm up and then I tried to run. It was not pretty. The pain was different but there was still pain. And I sulked. The further I walked the more disappointed I got. There were other people running that morning and I was just mad at them. Why is it they get to run and not me?

An older man ran by across the street from me and I secretly wanted him to trip. If I can’t run nobody else should be able to either. I started thinking how stupid I was being. At least I can walk. And I should be happy for the old man. So I thought “Good on ya old man!” as the Kiwis would say.

For the rest of the walk I thought about maybe never being able to run again on a regular basis. I knew it would come someday but not when I am only 48 years old. Why would I miss it so much?

While I was off I lifted weights. I would do 20 second repeats of 18 different exercises in rapid succession to try to keep my cardio up. I did push-ups, pull-ups and planks. So what was the difference? Why wasn’t that enough?

Strength training in my garage was about staying in shape, which is good. Running helps me stay in shape. But when it comes down to it the thing that draws me to running is that it is an adventure. It is a journey every day. There are some places we have either visited or lived where the journey is much more fun and the adventure is more grand but even in a subdivision in Pearland there is enough journey and adventure to make me want to come back to run as many mornings as possible. To run on the golf course and look across the man-made lake to where the thin glow on the horizon is a sign that a new day is coming is enough for now.

Since September 3 I have gotten out every other day and my knee feels better. I am still walking and running but I can tell that my knee is healing. I am going to try to be patient and get my adventure back. Then someday a random younger person will tell me “Good on ya old man!”