Yesterday, I ran.
5 K in total if you count the warm-up and cool down laps I walked around the track.
It’s the first time since November 26 that I have just gone out and run. No run / walk combination… just run.
Now, you’d think that with a messed up knee, tendonitis and some weird, unidentified lower leg thing going on that might not be such a good idea.
But it was doctor’s orders. Honest!
See, I had my ultrasound of my lower leg today. After the X-rays came back normal and the bone scan had only a couple of hot spots at the knee joint, there was nothing to explain why my right shin is swollen… and sore… all the time! No matter what I do, it’s swollen… though after the gym, it seems worse. So, the sports med guy suspected a soft tissue injury… maybe a torn fascia. (That’s the Saran-wrap type tissue surrounding the muscles, as I learned.)
The doctor told me that the day before I should, “Get out and run. Just have at ’er. Get that tissue good and aggravated so we can really see what’s going on.” He did say, “Don’t go crazy, but we want that tissue all inflamed so we can get a good look at it.”
So I did. I strapped on my sexy bionic leg, as Rob would call it (a.k.a. the knee brace) and hit the track.
My plan was to do 5 K… just like the “old days” (last fall!) I wanted to see if I still had it in me. I did not take my HR monitor, nor did I time myself. My plan was to use it as an exercise in listening to my body and have that dictate the pace.
After about 3.5 km, I noticed something I had not expected. Blisters on my right arch. I realized that I had not been running since putting the Superfeet insoles into my shoes. I guess the run / walk program didn’t cause enough friction for blisters to form. I’ve had arch blisters before so badly that they bled. I wasn’t interested in going down that road again, so I finished out the kilometre and then cooled down.
I have to say… It felt fantastic! (Even if it was a bit short...)
People ask me what it is about running that I like. I am normally an articulate person, but rarely can I find the words to adequately answer this question. I usually say things like, “Well, I suck at team sports (mostly because I don’t actually know how to play most of them!)” or “It’s not really competitive…” But in fact, that’s baloney… I tend to compete against myself every time I get out there… I know my best and worst paces and times in my head, the way some people know hockey stats.
I have also said, “I like the solitude… The meditational aspect.”
That is true… but also incomplete, as evidenced by my own desire to “get plugged in” to a running community after attending the running symposium earlier this month.
I realized yesterday what it is.
It’s very simple.
When I run, I feel free.
I don’t know why, but I feel this tremendous joy that starts somewhere deep in my soul and bubbles up, like effervescent champagne. It’s happiness, but… more than that…
I feel alive. Strong. Aware. Vibrant.
It’s sort of how I used to feel when I danced, but with running, it is much more intense.
I could say orgasmic, but to be honest, it’s not quite like that either… (Besides, that might be a bit cliché, as well as being inaccurate.)
Nah… it’s nothing so melodramatic. It’s simple… strong… free.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… I am not a fast runner. In fact, I am very slow. But who cares? I suspect that anyone who runs… who loves running… whatever their pace… feels much the same way. Otherwise, why would we do such a crazy activity that is so hard on the body?
Yesterday, I felt free... for the first time in months.