Category Archives: Running

I’m Running! Looking Ahead, Not at My Feet

I finally was allowed to run just a bit at physical therapy on Tuesday. Five months since my surgery. 5 and a 1/2 since my injury. Yeah, only a minute here and there, alternated with walking. Only at about 11 minute mile pace. But hey, I’m running, right?

This is what Physical Therapy looks like from lying on the treatment table.

It takes quite a while to warm up, and even when I’m warm, the whole brain to muscle connection is a bit rusty. I feel like the tin man, needing oil in all my joints. I’m hyper-aware of all the small aches and places of lost sensation. “A neuropathy, perhaps?” Mery supposes. My poor hip, twisted into all sorts of odd configurations while it was in that brace is now weak at every conceivable angle. And it’s trying its best to compensate for the hamstring  – which is there and operating, but not quite up to snuff compared with the right one. (What does “up to snuff mean? anyone?)

A couple of weeks ago I had a set back. I was on the floor a-straddle a carpet runner that Scot and I were attaching adhesive backing to. I reached forward to pull the adhesive and heard/felt something give in the hip. Not a tearing or ripping. Just an ‘ugh-that-wasn’t-good’ kind of feeling. I was a bit more careful after that. But inevitably that means I’ll ache and be sore the next day. And I won’t be able to do what I was doing in PT. (hopping, jumping, lunges) Because now, the support system for the hamstring is licking its wounds.

I lament not knowing when I first got in the brace how I could sit to prevent some of this hip atrophy. But back then I was just worrying about surviving. There really was no strategy to it. Hindsight is always 20-20, eh?

All in all, I’m not well yet. But I am nearing the time when I have to stop taking it easy on myself and just get this show on the road. The key is pushing myself to do a little bit of what my muscle is reluctant to do without hurting it. Pushing without pulling, one might say. Controlled overload. The physical version of aversion therapy. (Expose yourself bit by bit to what you fear until you lose your fear.) Then, tolerate the soreness, trust the process and gradually move forward.

They told me this would take 9 months. I guess all of human creation takes 9 months of gestation. I’m working on embracing it as a time to evaluate, organize, research and plan. To take a good look at what’s next for me. This is the off-season, a time before spring training starts, before there is pressure to compete. Just to grow the idea and become its mother. We know who the Father is.

Giving thanks for healing, for PT guidance and companionship, for Facebook friends’ encouragement, for my family’s patience and, ironically, for time. So often it’s the foe. What am I in a hurry to get to? If I rush, I won’t be able to claim it when I get there. If I don’t prepare now, I won’t be able to embrace the opportunity that surely awaits there.

Wishing it was easier. Wishing I was more diligent. Wishing there was more obvious progress. But I think there is something good on the other side. My turn now is to do what’s before me (thanks Diane J. for those words) and not worry about what’s around the bend. It’s a time of preparation.

Ironically and God-incidentally, as I close, I came across this from Billy Graham. You can click here to read the whole article.

Here are some excerpts:

First, time is a trust. What are we doing with it? Are we frittering it away, letting it slip through our fingers, squandering it in wanton waste? Or are we treasuring it, using it to maximum advantage, filling every minute with 60 seconds’ worth of service to God? The Apostle Paul counsels us to “redeem the time” (Cf. Ephesians 5:16). Time cannot be relived; it can only be redeemed. Let us treat time as a trust.

Second, time is a test. Time in itself is neither good nor bad except as we make it so. But it becomes a crucial test, sifting us through and through, minute by minute. As life goes on, there are billions of events happening in every moment of historic time. To those billions of events we contribute our quotas. What is the next contribution that you will make? In the next instant you can tell a lie or commit other sins, or you can choose to use that time to serve God and to lay up treasures for eternity.

Third, time is an appointment. Thus time is an appointment with Christ, and the Bible says, “Now is the accepted time” (2 Corinthians 6:2, NKJV). God has given us a moment in which we can come to know His Son Jesus Christ. We can come out of time and enter eternity with Him. From now on, everything we do can be done with eternity in view.

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Accidental Running on Purpose

I am not being chauvinistic here but the young woman who set up our beach umbrella today didn’t do such a good job. The wind pulled it right out of the ground, tumbled it upon my four sun-bathing girls and onto a couple sitting in front of us. I jump up and out of my sand chair, cell phone in hand, to grab the umbrella. I extract it from our gracious neighbors and realize, as the wind is whipping it in my hand, that I have no idea what I will now do with it.

“Here, hold the phone,” I tell Olivia. Sasha grabs the umbrella from me. “I’ll go get help,” I tell her.

At once, I am racing across the soft sand. Fifty yards up the beach is the able-bodied young man who works the umbrella stand. My feet dig through and my arms pump. Hurry. The sand is hot. Is it EVER hot! But I am not thinking about the hot sand. Something feels odd…oddly strong. It’s the sensation of running. I am running. Evenly. Strongly. Without thought. I am not supposed to run. Haven’t been released to run yet. I slow.

Nope. Sand is… Ouch…hot. I dash again.

I can run!

***

Now, I’m being a little bit bad but since I can take little quick steps and side to side steps and since I can dash across the sand in an emergency, I am planning to sprinkle a few jogging steps into my long walk this morning. The route brings back so many memories of beach trips gone by. When I left at sunrise each morning and jogged along Route 1 out to the water tower and beyond.

Today I am again that person. The jog-walker. Not limited to mere slow, ambling strides, I can step freely. I test a few paces wondering how far I can stride. If it hurts, I will reduce it to walking. But it doesn’t hurt – not when I stride, not when I land. It doesn’t hurt at all. The sensation is not as it was. I have little feeling in part of my left foot. Wake up, I tell it. It doesn’t listen, but it does what it’s supposed to. It balances and rolls forward and I move along, right and then left. There is a rhythm I remember, an ease, a grace, that every athlete knows.

I turn around just beyond the water tower (of course I took a photo so I could prove I came this far) and head in the direction from which I’ve come. Funny, they have separate lanes painted on the road now (this wasn’t there when we last came to Bethany beach but it’s been a while) – grass side for pedestrians, car side for wheels. On my return trip I see the people approaching me, walking, running and biking. As a walker, everyone went around me. But now I am jogging. I go around them.

Some “real” joggers, runners even maybe, and cyclists pass as they head north. They raise a hand or nod in greeting. This is what we do, we athletes, we acknowledge other members of the club. I am one of the again.

Twenty yards at a time, or until they are beyond me, I am one of them again. I can pass for a runner.