Today, a big milestone: back on the streets, back out with my running club! I’m home again. I sucked wind and I loved it.
I’m running (no pun intended) the balance between caution and, well, not quite wild abandon, but let’s say prudent aggressive progress. So far, knock on wood, it’s worked in my favor. To my relief, Lady Healer did not flip out when I admitted to her this week that I’d jumped her gun a bit and hit the track. She was pleased that my foot tolerated the adventure without swelling or other ill effects, and agreed that some running could help her goal of breaking up the fleshy ice of my long recovery. So, no professionally administered punitive pain, though we did have some fun and cranked up the electro-stimulator machine to new highs to make those toes dance. Suffice to say it’s a fun place, my P.T. Palace.
Since I’d jumped her gun a bit with good results, I figured I’d make the next baby step and graduate to our local rail trail, not track-flat but not far from it. My running club hits the trail on Saturday mornings, and how great would that be to rejoin my club buds? Except after I’d psyched myself for this, I discovered they’ve started alternating weeks on and off the trail, and this was an off week, putting them on the roads, which by definition around here means hills.
Oh, quandary. I’m supposed to start off on the flats. OK, define the word “start”. Hint: think Bill Clinton, and look in the dictionary right next to “is”. I started on the track. I ran twice on the track (last time with my daughter, which was very cool!). If this were a race, I’d be done with the “start” in a minute, perhaps ten if it were a marathon. Should I hit the roads – and the hills?
If you can’t guess my answer to that, you haven’t been studying hard enough. Detention for you.
It’s been a long time since I checked the hourly forecast the night before. It’s been a long time since I laid out the running clothing the night before so as not to wake up the house with sliding and creaking dresser drawers in the morning. And it’s been a long time since I overslept for a morning club run.
7:10 AM, radio on, alarm, roll over for 5 more minutes.
8:00 AM, wife says, “Weren’t you going running this morning?”
Fortunately, my club doesn’t usually start on time. And so for my re-entry to the roads, my re-entry to running with my club, I made it from sound asleep to dressed, fed, and transported to the local park in twelve minutes.
8:14 AM, RUNNING WITH MY CLUB! WAHOO!
Not only did I love it, but they loved it. They loved it that I was looking for who was running slowly for a change. They loved it that I was making comments like, “Oh crap, a hill.” They said they were going to record my grunts and groans. And I loved that they loved it.
For the record, we cranked out five miles with some good hills, but certainly no aggressive hill attacks. It wasn’t fast, but it wasn’t all that slow. I was in telephone pole counting mode on the final upgrade. I was sucking wind wholesale, and my legs were in marmalade territory. But running with others made me less aware of the weirdness of my foot, which is feeling stronger. Just like my feet strengthened up dramatically when I started this game four years ago and erased my previous arch strain problems, it’s becoming pretty clear that running is helping the healing process.
It was fabulous running with the gang again. It was fabulous running on the roads again. The wind-sucking and leg gelatinizing will pass. I’m home again.