Friday, August 24, 2018

Reflections of Joy

Words cannot describe how it feels to experience the change. The change in my body. The change in my mind. The change in my heart.

Reflection is a tricky beast. In the best of times, it can be a happy reminder of experiences to stay optimistic for the future. In the worst of times, it can drag you to places you don’t ever want to revisit. We all have the moments of if I knew then what I knew now… and like to think of how we might appreciate something more or do it differently.

But that doesn’t make us who we are today.

I often cringe at clich├Ęs, but there is some truth in letting our experiences teach us for the future. I wouldn’t be as appreciative because I blissfully was unaware of potential loss. The eternal optimist expects to live long and live full. But that’s not to say we need the light to shine bright all the time.

I always thought I was truly joyful in my health, my ability to run race after race without consequence, and never took shortcuts in my training. I didn’t sign up for things that were beyond my ability. I waited until I was physically ready and then, mentally ready.

And sometimes I actually wondered aloud how was it possible to have all this good stuff happen to me. It is indeed possible to feel like a poser in your own life.

I hate that it often intertwines with Adam and MS because the last thing that he wants is for anyone to feel sorry for him. But these moments of joy and health are not just shaped by my own experiences. They are a life shared with another.

Walking from Morton’s back to our hotel in Chicago, draped over his side in my heels, I never knew this memory would stick out in my mind. We shared a bottle of wine, gorged ourselves with enormous steaks, and were in the midst of my to-this-day favorite trips I have ever taken.

I flip through my mind and always stumble upon the last night we spent in Yellowstone in a cabin that seemed so far removed from the rest of the world. We might never be able to walk down the incline to view the upper falls again. And I cherish that night that we fell into bed, exhausted from the day and listened to the rainstorm come through with the window open.

Even as late as last year when we wandered through thousand-year-old alleys and sipped frothy ales under blindingly blue skies, I didn’t know how much it would seal into my heart. That perfect afternoon of lying across the sofa together, legs entangled while we napped can never be duplicated. And I hold tight to the memory of smelling the crisp Scandinavian air in the middle of May, listening to a carefully cultivated jazz collection while dozing in and out of consciousness.

I say all this because we often forget how good things are until we don’t have them. And I choose to reflect happily, feeling lucky that we did what we did when we could.  

After the Albany marathon last year, when I slipped under 3:15 after finally feeling confident to go for it, I felt on a precipice of immense joy. So I tried to savor all the good occurrences, again feeling like I was a poser in my own life. How could it be possible to be filled with such good?

And yet, I feel excited for the same reasons for 2019. Maybe because 2018 has been tough so far. Maybe because I have planning some of this for over a year now. Maybe because I step without caution once again.   

Maybe because I’m just happy to find my joy again.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Injured Runner Diary: Stress Reaction #2

These were posted on Loopsters.org, but I felt compelled to log them here as well. Maybe it will be for the sole sake of my own reflection. Maybe some random person will stumble upon it and feel a little more normal dealing with their own injury. I've Googled the hell out of trying to find people with a similar story in hopes that they would also have a positive outcome. Everyone likes a happy ending. I'm not there yet, but still holding hope that things are moving in the right direction.

Post 1
 
"Don't regret anything. At one time, it was exactly what you wanted." 

B1 is still so fresh on the mind, so fresh on the body that it is almost too easy to make correlations between the two. And while the physical implications are ripe with similarities, my mind is a completely different spot. It's liberating that I don't feel the same darkness looming over me. I cannot pinpoint exactly what I was afraid of except that it was fear of the unknown. The uncertainty of when I would run again. The uncertainty of finishing the year's biggest race. The uncertainty of the weeks that followed. The uncertainty of this thing that had defined me for so long that I truly struggled with coping without it.

It is a classic case of too much, too soon with the possibility of an old injury hampering my efforts.
 A VO2 max ready to climb mountains and bones that said "hell no!" I was so anxious to get back to the same level that I didn't see that I had to complete steps B through Y. I just thought I'd go from A to Z. Looking back, I was aware of my own reckless behavior and aware of the potential consequences. I got part of the results I wanted: finish Boston and successfully pace Lauren at CJ100.
The downside is that I likely overcompensated with my (formerly) good right side and wound up with a stress reaction* in my right tibia. 
 
*I'm not even sure we are calling it that - the bone scan showed it was likely not just a soft tissue thing, but there were no definite cracks either. The x-ray was inconclusive as these things often are with stress reactions/fractures. The good news is that I've had no official breaks or even cracks seen. 
 The bad news is that something (um, probably overracing the first time and too much, too soon the second time) is making my bones angry.

If we were to backtrack to about a year ago, I would relay the story of whacking my right tibia so hard on a stone planter that I bled though a pair of khakis. The bruising that followed was nothing short of epic. Over the course of the next year, that spot seemed to get angry from time to time, but never appeared to impact my running. It was just this funny little bump on my shin that almost looked like the blood vessel was swollen. I'd run my finger over it and it would feel like a bruise - tender and mildly irritating, about a 2 on the pain scale. I have no idea if it is related to this, but certainly didn't help.

Flash forward to June 2018 when the same area started to hurt again. The thing about most running injuries is that they typically are not pinpointed to one particular run or instance. They often start out with teeny niggles of pain and creep their way further in until you cannot ignore them any longer. My mind was slightly more attuned to watching out for these warning signs, but admittedly, I wanted to just keep marching on into my normal summer running. It was just 2 weeks ago that I somehow thought I was ready to jump back into weekly double digit runs. 

But by that weekend, I had the ominous feeling that I was to be facing another DL sentence.
I cross-trained early in the week and by the time I had the bone scan on Friday, I decided to just take an entire week off of exercising. A whole week. No cross-training. No weight-lifting. 

The following Monday, the podiatrist told me to drop by for another boot - I needed a taller version to protect my tibia - and to schedule a follow up appointment in 4 weeks. In my permanently optimistic brain, I am hoping that the 4 week time period means there is a slight possibility that I won't have to wear it after 4 weeks. After all, my foot recheck was at 3 weeks and I was sentenced to another 3 weeks after! But using that logic, I would be booted this time for a total of 8 weeks. <insert cringe face here>

Honestly, it doesn't hurt in the same way that my foot did. I'm sure part of that is because it is a different bone (duh), but also, I am hoping because I caught it early enough, it won't have suffered as much damage. Walking doesn't seem to bother it and I'm not changing my gait while walking because of it. In fact, it really only started to bother me towards the end of my runs and later in the day. The straw that broke the camel's back? It started to ache when I was just sitting around in the evening and lying in bed. 

During the first weeks of B1, I threw all of my angry energy into working out. I went from running 60 mile weeks to zero. I had a lot of extra time and energy on my hand. Plus, I was so pissed that I was injured that I was determined to make my body stronger. I can't say I have regrets about any of it because I do believe it helped me finish Boston. But perhaps a little more R&R could have been beneficial if I had been able to channel some of that energy later. I ended up spending more hours per week working out while booted than I usually did while running!

In any regard, when I received the news last Monday that I was going to be booted again, I had a much different outlook than B1. Being in the middle of an exercise hiatus helped (pats self on back for forced laziness). But also knowing the value of myself as a (hopefully temporarily) non-runner was huge. I'd happily taken on this persona of runner girl and let the other pieces of me just kind of fall out where they could. When I couldn't run, I was so stressed out about not running that I was a mess. 

B2 is different already. I'm working out again, but don't feel compelled to reach the same levels I did during B1. I obviously want to return to running as quickly as possibly so some movement over the next 4 (....to 8, FML) weeks will be good. I just don't have to go nuts. Also, B2 is happening during summer which is a loathsome time to be running in Georgia anyway. I miss those long, hard, hot days on the trails like you wouldn't believe, but there will be more of those. The runner girl will return, but she will hopefully have an even rosier outlook than before. 

One likes to think there are reasons for this kind of thing happen. Reasons give us validation and purpose when life throws frustrating stuff our way. I don't know if there are reasons (beyond the science of overusing my body) that I feel strongly about with this hiccup. It has given me a chance to look at other areas of my life with a little more clarity. It has provided me with a bit more empathy. It has made me realize I'll be okay if I'm not running.

I am taking note of the progress I have made this year in other aspects of life and being grateful for what I have accomplished thus far. I set out 10 goals for myself in January:
  • Volunteer/Crew/Pace >5 races (7 total!)
  • Marathon <3:10
  • Strength or stretch >30 minutes weekly (24 of 24 weeks so far)
  • Master InDesign 
  • 12 new recipes (8 total)
  • Read >20 books (18 total)
  • 200,000 impressions on LinkedIn
  • 100 mile race (not in 24 hours)
  • Prepare financially/fiscally for Everest Marathon 2019 (halfway to financial goal)
  • Camp 2+ nights (1 night...ish)
  • Finish the GA Appalachian Trail  
Post 2 

7-12-18
 
There is an ebb and flow in this injury. I’ve rallied to feel optimistic about the outlook. To be out of the boot faster. To feel like bones have stopped hurting. To get a sense of a timeline going into the other half of the year.
 
I’ve got plans. But it seems like my body is trying to halt me. At times, I think I’m being overly paranoid, like I should just buck up and accept the pain. It’s not like I can’t run or I can’t walk. But then I realize the stupidity of my thought process when I realize that I can feel the pain when I am just sitting.
 
It is worse at night. Even on the days that it seems like I’ve only walked from my car to my cube and back.
 
Maybe I need another hiatus from exercise?
 
But I know how much better I feel when I get my heartrate up. I like pushing myself to the point that I feel sweat dripping off my nose. It’s like, it hurts so good. I realize that this sounds a bit wacky if you aren’t into running or exercise.
 
The week off was good for a bit of mental clarity. I knew it was good to realize that running doesn’t define me.
 
But gosh, I miss it.
 
NYC (early November), in theory, should be easier to manage than Boston given the amount of time I will have. But I’ve really just been going through the motions of exercising here and there, biding my time to run again. I haven’t been putting hours of cardio in at the gym or at home. I’ve been putting in enough to offset the containers of Ben & Jerry’s just enough to keep from buying new pants.  
 
After NYC, there is Rehoboth (early December). And what is a really-bad-idea-because-I-fear-a-repeat, I have the opportunity to run in the JAX (mid-December) marathon again.
 
The reality is that I don’t have to do any of these things. But I really want to. Like when someone brings in cake to work, I don’t have to take a piece. But I really want to.
 
The past 6 months have been riddled with FOMO. I feel guilty at times for even thinking that way as I hope to continue (albeit more slowly) my running and have this drift into the past. But I want to be exhausted from high mileage, taking trips into the mountains every weekend, complaining about the heat, and becoming a few dollars poorer every time I visit Ultrasignup.
 
I did put my name into the hat for GDR after unsuccessfully biding myself as an elite entry. It’s next March if I get in. If not, well, I guess I need to figure something else out for a WS entry. Seems a bit unreasonable when I look at my miserable training log of 2018, but a girl’s gotta dream? 
 
Speaking of dreams, I finally got the green light from HR about Everest next year. I just need to put my deposit down to make it officially official. I’ll admit that I would be a lot more excited about it if I didn’t have a darn boot on my leg. So I’m waiting until I actually am walking without any attachments before I plunk down a lot of money.
 
It’s good to have these things to look forward to even if I am nervous about getting my body in shape to complete them all. Mentally, I feel 100% ready to tackle it all. In fact, I would argue that is what is going to be the hardest part of getting back to it. There are so many races and so many adventures and I feel like I’ve been missing out.
 
Abiding by a healthy timeline is going to be hard. But necessary. I really don’t want to be back in the situation again. Even going for a short walk without pain is something I feel like I don’t remember how to do.
 
I’m not spiritual, but if I were, I could imagine shaking my fists at the sky seething, “what else you got?” And then shaking my head when I am handed a painful skin condition while I’m in the boot.
 
Look, I’m not dying, I have a roof over my head, a good job, lots of great friends, a close family, and am generally happy. I hate to complain because perfection doesn’t exist. I just hope that I have a greater appreciation for when my body decides to cooperate once again.
 
I had just come from the podiatrist who told me 2 more weeks in the boot and thought I would give the surgeon’s office another call. My general physician needed to send a referral and apparently this process was very painful for both parties. I had already been through 10 days of antibiotics and they were demanding I was infection-free before coming for a consultation appointment.
 
So, I need to go back to my doctor for them to tell you that I don’t have an infection for the thing that I might need to have surgery on?
 
Let’s just say that I was near the end of my rope. After working in customer service for so long, I try to not let people get under my skin, but I had been chasing down people for 2 weeks now over this very painful issue. I asked her what her name was in that very-bitchy-I’m-telling-on-you way. In the midst of calling my general physician back, she called me back in a much different tone and offered to make an appointment because she said she had spoken with the nurse. 
 
Weird, but okay….I just hope that the doctor is not like his office staff. Or maybe she was having a couple of bad days every time I talked to her.
 
I go to the surgeon’s office today and the person greeting me is like, oh yeah, we all know you when I tell her my name. I’m seething inside, but channel my inner Michelle Obama and choose to go high 
when they go low.
 
This is second time I’ve ever had a referral for anything in my life and yeah, I’m kind of pissy because I’m in pain. And I’ve been in pain for weeks and no one seems to want to return a phone call or give me a straight answer. So, excuse me while I sit over in this uncomfortable chair and sulk about it.
 
The surgeon tells me I could have it removed and it would be a relatively quick and easy procedure. But he also tells me it is very likely to come back. And I can’t have it removed until it is really, really quieted down.
 
So basically, when I’ve forgotten about it?
 
Yeah, I know…it’s not ideal, but we cannot risk surgery with it being potentially infected.
 
I definitely understand unfortunately. And it does seem to be less angry now. I don’t know if I will have the surgery just knowing that it could come back. And if it lies dormant most of the year and flares up every 12-18 months, I now know to just go get some antibiotics. Also, I’m suuuuuupppper aware that I am way more sensitive about it now because of my boot.
 
Because I can’t even run to try to kabash my pissy emotions.
 
7-17-18
 
I had intentions of working out on our family vacation to Kansas. If I were running, it would be a no-brainer to slip out the door in the early hours of the morning and crank out the miles before anyone wakes up. Vacation and morning running seem to oddly agree with me.
 
But I just didn’t feel like working out. I slept, I chased my nephew around the playground in 100°+ weather, I held my niece so my sister could take a shower, and I just didn’t worry about it.
 
I went back and forth about wearing my boot and ultimately only didn’t wear it for a 20-minute jaunt to Wal-Mart for picnic supplies. Otherwise, I wore that sucker pretty much any time I was weight-bearing.
 
I am going to an outdoor concert on Saturday and plan to go bootless. And then I intend to go into the next week seeing how I feel without it. The doc wants me to walk around for 2 weeks and then get another x-ray to see how things look. I’m waiting for the day that I can walk around without remembering that something hurts. Let’s hope that day comes quickly so I feel confident to start running.
 
I got picked for GDR in March 2019! Which also means that I need to find a 50K in between now and February to run. The timing is kind of crappy with fall/winter marathons on the calendar, but really, I need some more mileage by early next year anyway. So maybe January?
 
I hate this feeling of being all wishy-washy with races. I used to be wishy-washy because I didn’t know if I had the weekend off to race. Now I’m wishy-washy because my bones suck. I don’t like being wishy-washy.
 
Silver linings, though? I think 12 weeks in the boot this year will give me all the mental fuel I will need to make the next chapter so, so good. The goal for the second half of 2018? STAYOUTOFTHEBOOT

Post 3

7-18-18
A few (maybe more?) years ago, I was on the interwebs and stumbled across the Georgia Death 
Race. 

At the time, it seemed unfathomable to “run” something so difficult. Who in the world would ever be able to do such a thing?
 
And here I am signed up for this race.
 
There is a correlation in the time I read a piece by Lisa Jhung. She carelessly tossed around “hilly 16 miler” like it was a walk down the street and I was in awe that someone could do such a thing and still go about their day like a normal person. This was obviously well before I signed up for my first marathon. But I remember it distinctly because I wanted to know what it felt like to be able to do something so awesome with ease.
 
And I’ll admit that over the years the long runs, marathons, and ultras seemed to just become more flippant. Not that I wasn’t working hard to maintain a certain level of fitness. I always respected the distance. But I did start to see marathons as just stepping stones in the process of completing more ultras.
 
After finishing that first 26.2 though, I never have really had much doubt about completing a distance. Sure, I’ve had thoughts in the moment about continuing the race. But I’ve never actually felt like I signed up for something that I wasn’t sure of finishing.
 
Even the first 24 hour/100 miler. There was a bit of fear of the unknown after the 100K mark. I knew things were going to get tough and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect both mentally and physically. 

But I think I always knew that I was capable of doing it.
 
Which is what led me to thinking after this last 24-hour race that I really needed to just get myself out of going after the “easy” stuff. I put a true 100-mile race on my goal list along with a fast marathon. Both really were not unachievable, especially considering 2016 & 2017.
 
When I was first injured back in February, I started seeking out the gnarliest races possible. Crazy 
elevation and distances. Seemed totally reasonable to be in a boot and dreaming about 40,000’ of gain. There is this weird line of wanting to do things that are really hard and knowing what your body is capable of. I think I’ve always waiting until I was beyond ready to go after a goal. So, I felt the need to jostle it up a bit.
 
But now I kind of find myself back at square one. I’m not saying that it isn’t possible to get my fitness and endurance back up, but I do know it will probably be months even in the best conditions to feel somewhat normal again.
 
7-19-18
 
I’m getting wordy now. It happens. If I can’t run, at least I can write. Running arguably leaves me feeling much better, but writing seems to be relatively injury-free. <Insert carpal tunnel foreboding thought here>
 
I should be creatively thinking about other things, but my brain is kind of tapped out at the moment. There is a lot bubbling up there right now. Excitement about the boot removal, fear of effing myself up again, how to manage pain, how to know what is normal, how to know what is detrimental, etc., etc.
 
I know there will be good days and bad. I know I will likely feel something that makes me say ohshitohshitohshit. I know I will do something really stupid. I know that I will back off even when I don’t need to.
 
I was thinking this morning as I walked into the bathroom half-awake that I missed 2016 Carissa. I had pulled a glass out of the cabinet last night to enjoy an IPA that a coworker brought back from Indiana. I chose a glass from the last 50 miler I did which was in Indiana. It was more of a last-minute whim that I decided to race. Man, what I would give to be in jumps-into-50-milers shape right now.
 
Mind you, it took a few years of consistent work to get to that point. I felt good because I interspersed the racing and big goals with fun running. But then I got greedy and wanted more, MORE, MORE!
This will be the hard. I still want more.
 
It’s going to be tough to run just to run. For the last 5ish years, I’ve been jumping from race to race without any real down time. There was something always near on the horizon. I would say I learned my lesson, but I don’t want to live cautiously forever. I mean, I don’t want to live in the boot forever either. What’s a girl to do?
 
It seems like advice comes out of the woodwork when things are not peachy keen. I’ve decided at age 36 that I’m disagreeable to getting advised. Maybe that makes me a stubborn jerkface. Oh well.
It’s kind of a liberating feeling when you stop worrying about what other people think. I can still be kind and thoughtful, but I don’t have to pretend. I’ve never been a good liar. You will likely know if I like you or not.
 
I digress.
 
Back to running. I have my little “plan” set up for next week and let’s be honest, the weeks following until NYC. But I have no idea what it truly will look like from week to week. In some regards I wish I had a coach to just keep me from hurting myself, but that kind of goes against my whole disagreeable-to-getting-advised. And would I actually be honest with him/her?
 
I dunno. I feel like I have a few people that I talk to about my running that I can be 100% honest about how I feel/what I want and they aren’t trying to give me advice with every conversation. Oh, and I can freely bitch in my running log. Even if the pain is microscopic, I can complain. And I do want it noted because I actually see where I started feeling tibial pain this last go ‘round.
 
7-23-18
 
The boot is off.
 
It should be followed by an exclamation point, but I don’t know that I feel it is worthy of that until I have my first pain-free run. And I need to get to the point that I am doing pain-free walking first.
I think I had felt mostly better when I got out of the boot the last time. Like, I wasn’t super worried about going for a run because I wasn’t still nursing the injury.
 
But this time my FF hurts and the FT seems to be mostly okay. I hate waiting and my heart is so ready to run, but I am really trying to not be stupid.
 
So I’m still sitting at work. I’ve got the metatarsal pad back on. I will take it one day at a time when it comes to weight-bearing exercise. I’m waiting for the day that I wake up and things are not in pain.
Saturday, I had a lot of FF pain. It was really bothering me and I took each step from the parking garage to the stadium with ease. I sat during most of the concert save for the last hour or so when it finally seemed to be a little less painful. Paired with a summer cold leaving me with laryngitis, the inability to shout, the heat of the day, and the tiny chairs crammed in together, I was not having a great time TBH. Plus, I was super conscious of the balance of staying hydrated enough to pass out, but not hydrated enough to stand in line for the bathroom all evening. Very annoying when I was trying to flush out a cold.
 
I had spent most of the day Saturday just laying around. It made me feel a teeny bit guilty that I didn’t do much, but I also knew it was going to be a long night.
 
Sunday, I slept in really late. My FF actually felt pretty good all day, but I didn’t want to press my luck. I decided to just do an arm Tabata workout and part of a core workout. I stood for a few of the arm exercises that are more awkward sitting, but also made sure that I didn’t do too many of them standing.
 
I piddled around the house cooking, doing laundry, etc. and was on my feet for a bit, but I barely had over 3,000 steps for the day.
 
I’m not really sure if being barefoot or having shoes on is better at this point. The pressure of the shoe on the top of my foot is pretty annoying sometimes, but I think the support of a harder soled shoe is better. Seems like every other day is a different feeling.
 
It made me think about Boston when my foot was killing me the day of the expo, but then I actually felt pretty good the day I ran?
 
Of course, I miss running a lot, but I also just miss being able to do my daily activities without pain. Even just walking around like a normal person is something that I haven’t been able to do for quite some time.
 
7-24-18
 
Oh. Em. Gee. There might be light at the end of the tunnel?? I don’t want to get too excited, but let’s face it, I am too excited. Today marks the first day in quite a long time that my foot and leg did not seems to be bothering me AND I can walk like a normal person.
 
I was almost thinking that I was never going to know what that felt like again. Dramatic for someone who ran paced someone for 30 miles in May and ran the Boston Marathon in April. I know.
 
But I haven’t felt good about anything related to my running in about 8 weeks so excusemewhileIenjoythis.
 
I really want to just go run right now. But I think I need to wait at least another day before attempting. 

I know it is going to be a pretty awful and amazing experience. Awful because I’m going to be 
ridiculously out of shape. Amazing because, well, running!
 
I am going to head to the gym tonight to get muh HR up a bit on some torturous cardio machine. It seems like my willpower to withstand them gets tinier by the day. But maybe if my body is actually feeling decent, it might suck less? I dunno, I don’t want to do anything to hamper my first run experience, so I’m tempted to just try to keep it as easy as possible (famous last words).
 
7-26-18
 
I used the arc trainer for 45 minutes (plus a 5-minute cool down) on Tuesday and my FF seemed to be a bit agitated about the situation. It was feeling tender afterwards through my strength workout, so I maintained the sitting position through my reps.
 
Yesterday, I wore the metatarsal pad all day and sneakers to work. It’s not like I walk around much at all, but my foot was feeling achy and I couldn’t shake the feeling that is was swollen. It wasn’t, but the pad makes my foot feel stuffed in my shoe even with the laces loosened.
 
Anyway, I took the pad off yesterday on my commute home. I ran into Target quickly and it seemed to feel better. So, I went for a walk at the rec center at a pace best described as leisurely, but not lazy. It actually seemed to feel okay about 10 minutes into the walk but then felt-better-than-before-but-worse-than-in-the-middle afterwards.
 
I kind of thought about going for a 10 second jog in the middle of the walk. But geez, I’m so afraid of effing something up that I just had to tell myself NO! The timeline is not tight, and I only stand to lose at this point.
 
Today, the FF seems to be more cooperative. I was actually supposed to get my boot off Tuesday and in my original plans, I hoped to do a bit of running by Friday. But the doc wanted me to just walk around for 2 weeks. I’m torn between getting a better cardio workout and adhering to the doctor’s orders versus getting the chance to run!
 
Like, when I think about it, what idiot actually wants to be running?
 
*Raises hand like the biggest brown-noser in the class*
 
But I’m anxious to try even a little bit. This waiting stuff is for the birds.
 
7-27-18
 
I ran. For 23 minutes & 35 glorious seconds. It was super slow. It was a mere 2 miles. But it felt so good to just fall into the rhythm of running. Gosh, I knew I missed it, but I couldn’t wipe the shit-eating grin off my face for the first 5 minutes.
 
Things felt mostly good through the run. FF was a little sore, but not really noticeable. FT was a little more noticeable, or so I thought. I realized afterwards that it wasn’t the same spot that I was feeling, but rather the outside of my shin which is likely due to um, not using it for almost 2 months.
 
Feeling no worse for the wear and having the happy endorphins of running coursing through my body made me very well, content. I was kind of relieved that everything went off rather unremarkably and that stupid Alanis song Hand in my Pocket was playing as I made the short drive from the rec center home. Everything’s going to be fine, fine, fine.
 
But then Adam gave me the face when I got home. It’s the most annoying and best thing about marriage is that your person knows you. They know your faults, they know your weaknesses, and they for better or worse, care about you. I think about when I used to nag him all the time about his smoking and he would just trying to weasel out of the conversation by changing the subject. I immediately felt the flight upon seeing his face and practically bolted upstairs to do an arm workout.
 
Eventually, I had to face the music though. When we headed out to dinner, I fought the flight and started to fight when he broached the subject. He knew the doctor wanted me to wait until I was seen again to start running. And he knew that I knew it was reckless for me to running. I tried to negotiate at first. With him, with myself. There’s no gym equipment that gives me the same feeling as running. It’s like pacifying a cigarette smoker with bubble gum.
 
I’m not sure where my emotions left off. We are in the point of marriage where even the dicey stuff comes to halt rather quickly as I think it’s easier to remember that stewing gets you nowhere. He kind of left it with letting his feelings be known and me acknowledging that I was not happy about his grievances, but I was taking them to heart.
 
And my decision about running for the next 10 days?
 
TBD.
 
On one hand, I feel like I have it out of my system for at least a few days. And while it wasn’t fast or long, the fluidity and motions of running felt as good as they always did. I didn’t struggle with breathing. My heart felt happy. My legs and arms remembered what to do. So, will it buy me at least 10 more days of bench time?
 
Probably not, if I’m being honest with myself.
 
But maybe it will give me every 2-3 days and I can ‘fess up my crime with only minimal infractions. 

I’m halfway tempted to call the doctor to see if they can get me in sooner.
 
In the meantime, at least I feel a little better about getting on those godforsaken cardio machines with the knowledge that running will be in the near future. And I probably can get a better workout on them simply because I shouldn’t be pushing myself with the load-bearing stuff anyway.
 
And walking is good, so I can at least incorporate that into my life. Funny how you don’t appreciate a good walk until you can’t do it.
 
After dinner, Adam told me that he has days that he feels good and that he could do a little bit of walking. But that he has days that things still feel pretty blah. So, I was trying to pry out of him whether he wanted me to ask him about going for a walk or let him figure it out on his.
 
I think we both know that left to his own devices, he is likely not going to do it by himself. It’s just not a habit for him. I’d like to think that could change, but I also don’t want to get too hopeful. It’s so easy that we get stuck in our ways (hello running girl!) and find it impossible to navigate the new normal.
 
So, while I’m doing a bit of recovery myself, I will be attempting to see if he can start walking again.
It would be really great if he could go back to the BAA 5K and finished what he started. But I also don’t want to push my own agenda on him – easier said than done.
 
7-27-18 prose
 
I chose my dirtiest, most worn shoes. They look like they should have been tossed out 500 miles ago and are almost over-the-top in their state of deterioration. But a friend suggested I would crave the comfort of the ones that have served me well over the year.
 
The caked-on dirt full of memories had to be shaken out once before I even started running. The interior sides both ripped behind the big hole were not a deterrent, even on the sandy trail. I laced them up like I had done thousands of times before, standing at the crossroads of before and after.
 
It was only a big deal to me.
 
But I made myself walk to my favorite section of flat trail that heads due west for about 50 meters. Then I picked up my shoulders like I was sighing heavily and dropped into a run.
 
I expected it to feel sloppy or difficult. My breathing might feel labored or I would want to stop shortly after I started. But instead, I felt relief. Relief that it felt good. Relief that it felt natural. Relief that I want to just keep going for a really long time.
 
It seems funny that we have these barriers put upon us, but I suppose that is what made it felt good. Like I knew I was breaking the rules.
 
I’m sure I would have changed my mind after 4 miles about wanting to run for a really long time. It just seemed like it was such an easy pace that I could hold it forever.
 
Like when I started at Hinson and it felt so painfully easy that I was nearly bored out of my mind. But then it slowly became harder and the easy pace became my hard pace.
 
Given my feelings over the last 6 months, it seems like that was a different person.
 
But as I climbed the tiny hill in the back section of the rec center loop, I thought about GDR and the training I would need to put in this winter to feel prepared. And instead of it scaring me, I felt so overwhelmingly excited. I wanted to climb those hills to exhaustion. To keep taking the curve of the forest service roads and wondering when they would end. I thought about goals and the feeling of satisfaction no matter how long it took given the place I was at now.
 
And maybe that’s what I needed in my running. To know that even on the worst of days that it still was a joy to be able to move my body in that way.
 
7-30-18
 
I haven’t run again since last Thursday. 90% I would attribute to Adam talking some sense into me. 10% because my FF hasn’t felt quite right. Maybe I’m in denial, but it isn’t really pain. It’s more like it is just not quite right. I’m not sure if that makes any sense except to me. The FT seems to be healed, so perhaps I am focusing all my crazy energy on my foot?
 
I can’t tell if I am just being hyperaware of my body because of what has transpired over the last 6 months or if there is actually something going on. What a strange feeling that it doesn’t definitively hurt, but it also doesn’t feel 100% either. I know the doctor said that it could take up to a year to heal so I’m holding onto the possibility that it is just going through that process.
 
On the other hand, I live in fear of screwing it up again and being forced to take another break from 
running. I’m not certain I can intelligently make these decisions by myself because I’m always going to angle for a way to keep running. I think this is called addiction?
 
I actually did okay with the break this second go ‘round for the first couple of weeks. But then as the weeks wore on and I started to get further away from those last runs, I missed it more and more. And now that the boot is off, I feel even more raring to let it rip, but this constant fear is harping on me.
 
Before I went through this process, I would read stories of other people’s injuries and never felt a 
connection. Sure, I had niggles of pain here and there and often took a few days off to rest something that seemed to be giving me trouble. But I couldn’t relate to the weeks, months, seasons that runners would miss.
 
Now I get it.
 
And while the benching is hard enough, I’m going to say getting back into it has been harder for me. I’m aware that I have no chill when it comes to this. And having no running makes me even more neurotic. A solid 20 miler is a good way to help exhaust me.