Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Week 11 from Baseline: Running is where it all started

"Running is a big question mark that's there each and every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'"
- Peter Maher, Irish-Canadian Olympian

It was while I was on a lunchtime run more than six years ago that I rolled and ruined my left ankle. Back then, I expected that it was only a matter of weeks before I could get back to running and enacted a simple plan. Rest + Rehab = Run.

Here’s what really happened.

Rest + Rehab + Orthotics + Rehab + Trauma + Operation + Operation + Rehab + Arthritis + Medication + Medical trial = Run

Okay so it was an unexpected journey getting there. But I got there.

Since commencing treatment, while things have improved largely to my satisfaction, I confess I have been a bit reluctant to give it another crack. When I finally stepped out to hit the pavement, would everything really be okay? Would my body allow me to run again? I shudder at the thought at having to face the prospect that despite the treatments, my condition might be such that I can’t. And if that happened, I wasn’t really sure how I would feel. I imagined I would feel really bad. And there lies the curse when you put too much value on something that really should be looked upon as a cherry on top rather than the cake itself. Running symbolised freedom from my broken and pain-riddled ankle. Conversely, the inability to run meant I was a prisoner to whatever it was that my jailer, my body, would allow me to do on any given day. For quite a long while, that wasn’t very much at all. Pre-diagnosis, my inability to run symbolised the fact that no one at all could tell me why my body was broken. But that’s how important running, or having the option to run at least, is to me.

Urgh, I can be quite undignified in my outlook sometimes.

But it was time to stop being a wimp. So last Friday I pulled on Brooks and set off. And boy, it was brilliant. Aside from being unfit, everything else was great. No pain. No swelling. No need for Ice that never worked anyway. No disappointed afterthoughts. Instead, I spent the rest of the afternoon giggling and prancing around the house like a drunken clot. Again, not very dignifying, but ah well. Sometimes, these things must be done.

The next day, I still felt great. The muscle soreness I had was the most welcome pain I’ve had in years. It went so well that yesterday, I decided to have another go. This time, I went for a little longer, somewhere between 3-4km. Last night, my legs were quite wobbly but my ankle pulled up fine. A wee sore, but what I would expect from someone who, arthritis aside, has subjected their left leg to two injuries and two surgeries.

But at the risk of sounding like an over-dramatic reality TV show contestant, I have reached the end of that particular ‘journey’. I can run without blowing up like a balloon and without crippling pain. I may never run more than once or twice a week and for how many years I can do this for I don’t know. I also I know I need to tread carefully and so I don’t have any plans to sign up to any summer events just yet. But I’m as happy today as I was the day I was diagnosed because those two big questions ‘What the hell is wrong with me?’ and ‘Will I ever be able to run again?’ have finally been answered.


Interface said...

well written and good luck with the running, you have learned an important lesson grasshopper.

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