Friday, December 10, 2010

Ready to Run... Or Am I?

The leg hasn't hurt in the last couple of weeks, or, at least, hasn't hurt any more than any other body part. No matter how closely I attend to it, I haven't even had a little teeny twinge of pain. That's with pretty high bike mileage and lots of swimming. So it's time to get back out and hit the trails... right?

Well... yes. Except that I'm afraid to.

Anyone who has been injured (and that's practically everyone I know, and certainly everyone who's reading this blog) is probably familiar with how this goes. You get an injury. You try to train through it and it gets worse. You realize you have to take some time off. You fret about it a little, but, having no choice, take the time off. You get sort of fat and your running muscles atrophy because you hate the elliptical and pool running sounds like the most boring thing ever invented. You lose touch with all your running friends. You get in the habit of reading or watching T.V. to fill the void where running used to be. And then one day you realize the injury actually might be gone. Now what?

Well, it's time to come back to running. But what if? What if it's not really healed? What if you go out for a run and it hurts because the injury is still there, just hiding? What happens if you go out for a run and the injury has a tiny bit of residual pain and you quit running again thinking you will make it worse? What happens if the magic number of weeks that would lead to total recovery is one more week than the number of weeks it's been RIGHT NOW, and if you get out and run today, you will put the injury right back where it started, but if you just wait till NEXT weekend, it will be healed? What if, what if, what if? It all seems too stressful for me; I think I'll just go back to the futon and open up another book. (I've been averaging 5 books per week since injury -- not bad!)

Just kidding! I can't do that; I MUST start running again, and soon. For one thing, I have the Boston Marathon in just a little over 4 months. I can run it slow, but I have to run it, and that means I better start running soon. Second, Christmas at Mom's house is looming. There will be no bike; there will be no pool. There will just be me, my running shoes, and all the Christmas food you can imagine. I have a policy of no restraint over the holidays. I eat whatever I want. That fat has to come off somehow, and running will be pretty much my only option. I know I have to do it, I just hate that feeling of dread that the leg will start hurting again after a half-mile and then I will know it's not healed and then I will have to take another two months off and then I will have to accept the fact that I can't do Boston...

Or perhaps I need to stop obsessing over it and start doing very short runs and just see what happens.

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