Well, I needed that.
It’s good to be back. Again.
After my five consecutive days of three-mile runs, two weeks ago, the next week, I set out to do four consecutive days of four-mile runs.
It didn’t work out.
After the second of the planned four four-milers, I felt pain in the back of my right leg. A somewhat familiar pain. Stiffness.
Coming back after an injury can leave a person somewhat paranoid. Any pain in the back of my right leg makes me think, “Oh no, I re-injured the Achilles…”
But, after a short time, I realized it was just my calf that was stiff and tight and uncomfortable. The pain was way above the Achilles where I had surgery. Whew.
The calf was telling me that I was overdoing it. (I have a tenancy to overdo it, I want to back, 100% right now.) What makes me a different runner than before is that I am smarter now.
The pain, I quickly realized wasn’t an injury, it was my body telling me to slow down. My body said, “Don’t rush the recovery. I’ll come back in time… if you let me.”
So I took a few days off…
and that led to more than a week.
Have you ever been the principal of a school that looked to open a new academic year after being closed for about six months all during a pandemic?
Neither had I.
But we did it – and it was a success. I knew we’d be able to open. We have great people at the school highlighted by an amazing staff of teachers. It wasn’t easy. It was a week full of angst and stress and so much more.
But in order to do it, we all had to work hard, and the principal (that’s me, of course), who always works hard, never worked harder. I always give the job 100%. I work 24/7. Last week I had to gave 1,000% and work 48/14 in a 24-hour day.
Everything was new. Some people were scared. There were a plethora of new procedures and schedules. We had students learning from home and some coming into the school. There were questions. Lots of questions. A plethora of questions. And I tried to answer them all immediately. I tried to be everywhere and do everything. (And I think I was – and did.) Each day I was at the school for about 14-hours. There were no lunch breaks, or dinner breaks. I lived on energy bars, iced tea, and sugar-free soda. (Certainly not the breakfast, lunch, or dinner of champions.) That’s no exaggeration either. I literally didn’t have dinner all week.
And none of that is an exaggeration or hyperbole. I literally did not have dinner for a week. (On the bright side, I lost a few pounds.)
Within all of this, I refused to take a day off of exercise. I didn’t have the time to stretch and run – and since I was leaving so early for work each day, I didn’t want to use the treadmill (which isn’t the quietest thing in the house). So, I used the quietest things I have – dumbbells and my exercise bike.
Up by 4:00 a.m. (usually earlier), on the bike or pumping iron by 5:30 a.m., and off to work soon after. It was a week that was truly unique.
But I did it. I survived. The school opened. The kids were happy. The parents were happy. And the teacher were happy too. We pulled off the impossible. And we did it extremely well. This was a success story. All of the hard work paid off. (Doesn’t it always?)
Yesterday morning, I did an easy two-miler on the treadmill. It was my first run in about nine days and I didn’t want to push it. I then did a radio/youtube video podcast with the great Mac and Jack show before heading to see my family at the beach. (They had left a few days prior. Why not? I wasn’t around anyway… why not enjoy the last days of summer?)
After all of that, today was the run I was looking forward to – a nice 6.2 mile route at the New Jersey shore. My own personal 10K – a run I have done for two decades or more, from Chadwick Beach Island to the end of the Lavalette Boardwalk and back.
This is one of my favorite runs. I love this run. This run is one that gives me confidence. It is long enough to be a challenge but it’s flat and fast and, well, if one is at the beach, most often (not always) the stressors melt away.
And I did it.
This was my longest run outside since last October when I finally gave up on the marathon because of the Achilles pain.
Oh, how great it felt to be out in the early morning hours, just me and the road and the boardwalk (and the the road again). Just me and the sun and the warm air. Just me and summer, saying goodbye to each other.
Just me and the run.
I used to do this run countless times each summer, but this year I was only able to do it once. Today. Just now.
When we lose things and find them again, we appreciate them more.
Boy, did I appreciate this.
I went the distance, 6.2 miles, without stopping. I felt great. My stretching before felt great too. I have no pain or discomfort.
I’ll be home tomorrow morning.
On Tuesday we’ll be back at it at work, but it should be a better week because we worked through the kinks. We’ve got this.
My run is in. I feel terrific.
And life is good!
I had planned to write this a few days ago, but a huge storm, a loss of power and Internet, and such got in the way…
Last Monday I jumped on the treadmill with the intention (and hope) of matching my six mile effort from two weeks previous and with the faint hope of being strong enough to power through one extra mile to reach seven.
I didn’t make it.
I ran well enough. I covered five miles, but five isn’t six and it certainly isn’t seven.
That was a huge step back.
As I said some of the words above aloud, they sounded like “set back,” but this was anything but that.
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.
One might thing that the Governor’s decision to close school the rest of the year would make life easier on teachers and principals…
After running on the treadmill the other day, and thinking about how great that run was, I have had a paradigm change.
I just ran my fastest mile in a very long time.
Now, those who are following (and keeping track) of my journey through this blog might recall that I ran a mile on Friday in 9:02. I was 53 seconds slower today, so how was today my fastest mile?
There is a very simple answer…
The fact that I am writing right now says a lot about my enthusiasm for this run today.
It’s not that I don’t want to run. I do. I wanted to run last night, but the locked gate ended that idea.
No, I want to run. I do. I just don’t like running when it’s cold and wet outside and… it’s cold and wet outside.
Well, I can keep this post short.
Today was supposed to be the day I attempted the mile.
They finally locked the track. (We could call this post, “Locked Out.”)
I’ll try for the mile tomorrow, but I’ll either be out on the roads or on my treadmill. I think I’ll go outside so the speed is more natural, and not determined by a machine or the speed I set the machine at.
I’m disappointed. I wanted to do this on a track… today. But, such is life during a pandemic.