My six weeks are up. Today I ran my first 5 km trail loop since the stress fracture. You know… The one I obtained by being a little over zealous in my last race [she says to the two people who actually read her posts.. Ps. Hi Mom]. I even had to pull out of the Deathrace 10 days ago, a difficult and necessary decision, but now I am back. Albeit slowly back. But back just the same.
I can not explain how amazing todays run felt. Post thunderstorm, just me and my dog and hundreds of puddles. We floated through all of them. Well… I did. Kooper with a “K” is a bit of a bull in a china shop and would charge right through the centre and stumble when one was a little deeper than anticipated. I imagined the joy he was feeling as he ran in front, behind and beside me – both of us muddy and wet and panting. Absolutely epic.
Not being permitted to run for six weeks has given me a new perspective and appreciation of this activity, one that I had largely taken for granted – even loathed at times when I allowed training to become a chore.
As I dreamed of hitting the trails again all I could do was cross-train. That, and try my running shoes on every now and then and staring at my legs; puzzling at how fragile and how strong they both were and are, all at once. I had the itch to run and nothing could truly scratch at it. Cycling helped – and I successfully completed my first solo mtb race (85km, a story for another time). Inline skating or “rollerblading” if you will, helped as well. On one particularly depressing day I decided to rummage through some basement bins and pulled out my skates. I wanted to run so bad that I thought the zero-impact quality of skating was the next best thing and proceeded to roller blade home 20 km from work that day. Although there is no contest between trail running and inline skating, I will say that this delightfully childish pastime will now form as a regular compliment to my training along with strength training and eating extra broccoli and spinach.
And, well, that’s about all I have for tonight. There is not much of a point to this post beyond what I have already said but if I can leave you with one message it is this:
Running is truly a gift. Not a burden or an excuse to be made. It is precious and beautiful and fleeting. Do it. Because when that day comes when you can’t, there are few things you will wish for more.