08 March 2009

Half a Lap of Euphoria

The first half lap was pure euphoria. Beyond that I experienced reality, which was harsh, but not too harsh. The very experience, however, presents me with an ethical dilemma. I suppose I’ll have to fess up, because Lady Healer reads my blog.

Dr. Foot Doctor not only cleared me to go, but indicated that running would help to loosen up the rusted bits. Lady Healer, on the other hand, wants me to wait, warning of possible injury precisely because those bits are so thoroughly rusted. I’ve committed to following all directions of my medical professionals, but, umm, well, umm… But HE said, but SHE said… Now, I can’t exactly return to the world of the living runners and not write about it. Those of you who’ve actually read this supposed running blog during all the time I’ve not been running would be a bit cheated, I’d say. But if I write about it, she’ll know, so I guess I have to tell her.

I cannot tell a lie. Spring called like a siren song and I responded like the volunteer fire department. I admit it. It was 60 degrees and flat-out gorgeous today, a gloriously free Sunday afternoon. I took a walk with my family. Yeah, when they turned right, I found myself inexorably pulled to the left. Yeah, I accidentally found myself at the high school track. And mysteriously, I was dressed in running shoes, running shorts, running hat, and, to prove that symbolism isn’t dead, my Wineglass Marathon running shirt. It was freaky. It was like I had planned to go out for a run. But really, I swear, it was an accident. (Not.)

I’ve had the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other, so I ignored my shoulders. Dr. Foot Doctor said keep it flat, start on the track. Well, whaddaya’ know, I was at the track. Lady Healer said don’t run. OK, so technically, a slow jog, being careful not to stress Mr. Big Toe, isn’t, at least in my mind, truly running. And Bill Clinton did not have…

The rest is history. The long drought is over. A hundred yards in, I let out a war whoop that I’m sure was heard several blocks away, or perhaps that was the sound of rust scraping off my brake rotors like you get when you leave your car at Logan Airport for a week. Another hundred yards and the euphoria melded into legs that felt like, well, felt like they hadn’t run since October, but it didn’t matter. I clocked my first mile in a blazing 8:48, which I don’t demean since I recognize that for many, that’s an admirable pace, but just go with me when I say it was a pleasant jog.

How far I went beyond that I’m not saying, so as to avoid professionally administered punitive pain at my next PT session. It wasn’t zero, but it wasn’t excessive. At one point I even broke 8 minute pace for a lap or two. Woo hoo!

The good news is that aerobically, it was a breeze. Initial appearances hint that I didn’t lose too much conditioning on that front. And Mr. Big Toe held up just fine, still functioning, though a little tired. But the leg muscles are jelly, so I’ve got my work cut out for me. Bring it on.

My wife was almost amused that I came home mildly malodorous. That’s not her favorite part of my obsession, but in a strange way, I think she liked having it back.

Finally, a postscript from the “Misery loves to tell their stories” department. On my joyful post-accidental-workout walk home, I happened upon a Spring-induced spontaneous neighborhood gathering and stopped to chat when I noticed that two of the folks were locked in oh-so-familiar leg armor. After all, war stories love company. And what war stories they had: Chris broke her fifth metatarsal in a simple misstep, while Doug shattered his lower leg and ankle on wet leaves last fall, had surgery two weeks before I did, and only now was walking in the air cast. My adventure paled compared to what he’s endured. And thinking back to my angelic wife who cared for me hand and foot through my ordeal, I heard the punch line: they’re married to each other! Can you imagine having both of you down for the count?

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