Chronicle of a Comeback (vol. 22)

Progress.

That’s the word.  Progress.

Two steps forward. 

I am hoping there are no steps backward as I continue to build strength in my comeback to running following Achilles surgery in January.  I will hopefully get strong enough to run the New York City Marathon in November.

A few thoughts on all of this before I share the updates on my progress.

For the last three years (or so) as I battled the Achilles injury, I have often felt like a caged animal.  I used to be able to go outside (or on my treadmill) and just bang out 10+ miles (seemingly) whenever I wanted to.  I haven’t been able to do that.  I’ve been tethered down due to this injury (and the surgery).  

I used to be able to run – just run – whenever I wanted to.  I haven’t been that guy for a long time.  I want to be him again.  For the first time in a long time, I think I am on that path again.  

I am finally feeling good about my running.  I starting to feel like I can run again and not suffer for days after in pain.  

I am, of course, starting to ramp up my running to get ready for the 16-week training program for the NYC Marathon.  That 16-week program begins on July 12.  I need to be able to do 15 miles that week.  Up until last week, running a 15-mile week seemed like a big leap.  It doesn’t anymore because of the fact that I am finally feeling good about my running again.

Running without pain is fun.  That means running without pain during, or after the run.  

This is progress.

I am ramping up for the New York City Marathon, but I honestly do not believe there will be a 2020 NYC Marathon.  I just don’t see how they can run it this year:  50,000 runners, millions of spectators, security, volunteers, and such…  It just doesn’t seem possible.  I think they are waiting as long as possible before cancelling it, but I would be surprised, shocked, in fact, if they don’t eventually call it off this year.  

Until they call it off, I am going to train as if the race is coming.  In the end, I don’t think it will.

After missing the 2019 marathon, I very much want to run the race this year, but if it is cancelled, I will be somewhat relieved.  I am thinking that I can get myself ready for the big race, but when I am honest with myself, I know it’ll be a huge leap for me to get ready in time.  If they call it off, I will be able to prepare over sixteen months rather than just four.  

If, or when, they call off the 2020 New York City Marathon, I’ll breath a huge sigh of relief.  

***

My mileage goal last week was six miles.  I had run five miles the previous week.  I wanted to add just one mile to that.

(I am trying to be smart.)

On Monday, I ran two miles on my treadmill at 5.0 mph.  It felt good and easy.

On Wednesday, I ran two miles on my treadmill at 5.0 mph.  Again, good and easy.

I am, of course also going to physical therapy three times a week.  My physical therapists are happy with my progress.  They still don’t like the inflammation in my Achilles, but I now have a prescription for a creme that I apply four times a day to help with that.  And my body is responding well to the therapy.  The big thing is I am relatively pain free (for the most part).  

Friday came and as I set out for my final two miles of the week, I just felt that I could do more.

And I did.

As can be seen above, I banged out a slow four miles, still at 5.0 mph the whole way.  I felt great after and later that day in physical therapy, they said I responded great.  I call this progress.

Running the four mile made me feel, at least a bit, like the old me.  I ran and ran and ran.  48 minutes is a long run.  It felt good to be able to do that again.  

I figured I have the weekend off after that, but my sons came home for Father’s Day and when Ryan said, “Let’s go for a run,” I threw a little caution to the wind and agreed to run slowly outside with him.  I had been avoiding roads for the most part, but I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to run with my son. We ran an easy 1.6 miles, but we did it together and that’s what matters.  It was my best run outside, seemingly in forever.  Our pace was slow and easy.  (With an emphasis on slow.)  But I did it.  I didn’t need to walk.  

And it was great.

I probably shouldn’t have gone outside yet to run on the hard roads. 

I probably shouldn’t have run given the fact that I had run four miles the previous day. 

But when you’re a dad and your son wants to run with you – sometimes you have to grab those opportunities.  I was feeling good, and it seemed like a small gamble.  (Even if I had gotten hurt, it would have been worth it.)

And it all worked out.  

It was great!

This is what I want to be able to do – to run when I want to.  I want to feel young again.  I want to be me.  Again. 

I want to be able to cover the miles with my sons when they visit or I visit them.  I want to enjoy being athletic and doing things like this.

And, for the first time in years, I am actually believing that I can!

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