Today is one of those days runners LIVE for. It started out chilly — in the 40’s but soon rose to 60 degrees with the sun shining and barely a breeze. Some trees have held onto their leaves and the colors are those warm muted tones of late fall.
It’s driving me CRAZY that I can’t be out there. It’s been almost three weeks since the last time I ran and my feet hurt so bad that I knew I was done until I could see a doctor — the doctor that told me I need to take at least four weeks off from running while I get PT. Unfortunately I lost two weeks of potential recovery time when my son was sick and I couldn’t start my sessions. The goal of running 13 races in 2013 is looking more and more like a pipe dream. (I was up to 10, only three to go…)
But things are looking up here at home. My son is doing much better, and the light at the end of the tunnel is getting bigger and closer.
I finally started physical therapy on Wednesday, and my heel pain is slowly diminishing. I was really bummed that my insurance wouldn’t cover me to go back to my chiropractor, and then I was disappointed again when the physical therapist my orthopedist recommended wasn’t part of our network. But these things have a way of working out, and as providence would have it (we are Presbyterian, we don’t do luck, lol) I absolutely love the PT I ended up seeing. I’ve only been twice, but she’s young and chatty and she digs into my foot like nobody’s business. Her advice seems in line with everything I’ve read and learned throughout this process, and I feel like I’m in good hands.
So today when I looked outside and saw a day made for running, I decided it is time to quit making excuses and feeling sorry for myself so I dressed in my workout clothes and hopped in the car and took off for the gym. I passed one of my friends running along the road and watched her longingly as I passed, thinking how amazing it must feel out there. It seems like three months, not three weeks since I was flying along the road, pounding the pavement with the wind whipping through my hair. But I know this is temporary, and I’m focusing my energy on keeping my strength up so when I get cleared to run I don’t feel like I’ve lost everything I gained in the past few months.
The second I walked into the gym, I knew I’d done the right thing. I generally detest cardio machines and exercising inside, but at the same time, there’s definitely a feeling of motivation and camaraderie that comes from working out at the gym with other like minded people around you. Plus, I’m not as likely to phone it in when I know people can see me, vain as that may be. So I hopped on the rowing machine, set my favorite playlist on shuffle, adjusted the stirrups and started rowing.
My goal was 30 minutes, but by 20 my hips were burning (yes, my hips, don’t ask me why not my arms) so I decided to switch to the bike. For 15 minutes, I pedaled that bike like there was someone chasing me. At times I closed my eyes and imagined running through the cool morning mist during our vacation in the Poconos or the last mile of my half marathon. I visualized my favorite 5K that I ran in 27:58 minutes and killing the steep hills around my house. Of course, when I opened my eyes, I was in a sweaty gym with strangers, and rather than colorful fall leaves, my view was metal exercise equipment, but it helped pass the time, and I could feel myself pushing my body to its limits in a way that I just can’t seem to do when I’m watching the closed captioning on FOX News.
When I got up, I was stiff and sore, and I limped over to the mats to stretch.
Even if I wasn’t outside, it felt so good to SWEAT, and now I have that awesome energy you get after you’ve produced endorphins.
I know that in the end, the benefits of cross training are going to serve me well, and I am hoping desperately that this hiatus from running is just for a season. And if it’s not, I will find another way to stay in shape.
Or as my mom always says, “I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.”
For now, I’m going to do my best to get myself to the gym three times a week for cardio and keep up with my strength training and do everything my physical therapist recommends and get through the holidays without gaining 10 pounds. And if all else fails I’ll beg my doctor for a steroid injection. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, right!?
Here’s to 14 in 2014.