Wednesday, March 18, 2009


The past week has been one of the most challenging since I started getting serious about running last fall. It wasn't due to impossible speed work-outs or high mileage. For the first time in over six months, I haven't clocked a single mile in the past week.

During my speed work last Tuesday, my birthday of all days, I injured my left foot/ankle. It started as only a slightly noticeable twitch during my fourth sprint; it wasn't the type of pain to make you immediately stop running. I finished the workout, went back to the office and put my heels back on.

I imagine that's where the trouble truly started - by switching from my running shoes into heels for the rest of the day. I was even fine walking around in my heels during the afternoon. But when I switched back into my sneakers for the walk home, I could barely put any weight on my left foot. Tears pierced my eyes with each step I took. My usual 25 minute commute home took almost an hour.

The next day wasn't any better. In fact, it was slightly worse because I started to realize that if I couldn't even walk, running wouldn't be happening for awhile. Whatever the injury, the typical 6-8 week recovery period would put me past the half marathon.

That evening, Mike and I arrived a bit early at the restaurant where we were meeting his Dad for dinner. When he asked me why I looked so upset, I had to choke back the tears as I tried to put my frustration in words. Mike looked genuinely confused when he replied, "You're really this upset about it?"

It wasn't the response I wanted to hear. But the past week has really given me a chance to reevaluate and appreciate my current relationship with running. For most of my life, I would have gladly accepted an excuse that honestly kept me sidelined from running. So this deep level of disappointment and frustration is entirely new. Every morning, I have crossed paths with runners on my way to work. It makes me insanely jealous to see other people enjoy an activity that has become so much a part of me. I feel like running has been cheating on me.

Luckily, my injury seems to have healed quickly. I have been able to walk without a limp, and therefore at my normal Manhattan-pace, since Saturday. The spring weather and longer days have made me restless, but I have resisted the urge to lace up my running shoes and go.

Tomorrow I am planning on going for an easy 3.5 mile run after work. I am a bit nervous because I know, despite my efforts, I have already lost some of my endurance. But I am already excited to hit the pavement and have that feeling of freedom wash over me again.

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