I just had my most enjoyable run yet.
I am back again.
A week ago, I shut it down after I woke up with pain, probably better described as discomfort, just above the area where I had Achilles surgery. I had been pushing it a bit, just a little, with some “boxing” at my in home boxing gym (in my garage), some long (virtual) PT sessions, other stretching, and the advent of a short, but steep, hill into my runs.
I didn’t like the pain I felt. I worried that it might be a portent of things to come. I decided that discretion was the better part of valor and I figured a few days off from running (not exercise) would do me good.
I explained all this to my physical therapists late last week and they understood, but said that I shouldn’t be concerned about the pain as I described it and as they see my muscles moving (and my flexibility) in our sessions. They encouraged me to run again. They said the discomfort was just part of the strengthening process.
The weather here in New Jersey hasn’t been great. It has been cold and rainy. And my days as a (virtual) principal have been long, long, long. As such, I didn’t get myself out the door to run on any of the immediate days after my physical therapy session. I had a few catches with my son Ethan. My wife and I took a few long (3.25) mile walks.
But I didn’t run.
And today it’s raining again.
So, I did the one thing I didn’t want to do yet (but I HAD to run today). I got on the treadmill.
It was like home.
Glorious. Wonderful. The Best.
Most people hate running on treadmills. Not me. I love it. I love it. I love it.
I had not wanted to go onto the treadmill because I wanted this early training to be outside away from the machine and music and all of that. I wanted the training to just be old school – just me and the hard roads (since the local track is now closed). I knew that once I got back to the TM (as I call it) that it would be too easy for me to just use that as the pace where I run. It is, after all, where I most enjoy running (as crazy as that sounds).
I have run a few marathons on my treadmill, just for fun. Years ago, to train for the Disney World Goofy Challenge (a half and then a full marathon in one weekend), I did the Goofy on my treadmill. I can get on that thing (*those things, I have burned more than a few out over the years) and run for hours.
I simply love it.
I put my headphones on, get in a rhythm, and I can literally run forever on my treadmill.
Last fall (it is documented on these pages) I did 18 miles on the treadmill, with a torn Achilles that needed surgery. At that time, I was still pushing to see if I could do the marathon (I couldn’t) so I just ignored the pain, or drowned it out with the music on my iPod, and pushed on and on for three hours.
The hardest part of today’s run (1.0 miles, 11:00) was stopping. I just wanted to keep going. I was just getting into a groove, and I stopped (I knew I had to) at one mile. I didn’t want to stop. At all.
For this first run back, I just listened to Gonna Fly Now over and over on a loop. It was great and glorious and wonderful.
Did I say I wanted to keep going?
I began the run at 5.0 MPH and increased the speed by one tenth of a mile-per-hour each tenth of a mile (at .10 miles, I went to 5.1 MPH, at .20 miles, I increased to 5.2 MPH, etc…). I love that kind of progression. I got into a groove and just flew. I wasn’t running fast, but I was flying.
The hardest thing for me now is to keep this under control. Going back to a place I love made me so happy, and fired up, that I now want to run two, three… five miles. Maybe more. And I can. Believe me, I can.
But I won’t.
But I’m going to be smart.
I have to be. I don’t want to get hurt again.
But, man oh man, it felt
good GREAT to get back.