Monday, December 27, 2010
And Just Like That, My Running Days Were Over.
Forrest Gump. And not forever. Just for now. I'm in week three of no running. Not that I am counting, but this is day 18. (If you don't count my ten foot run down the hall of my house) I think by this point, I've made peace with it. Yet, when I see someone running down the street, I have to look in the other direction so I don't get too depressed. The other day, I got frustrated with Lauren when we were in New York because she didn't want to run. I thought about how if I had the choice, I'd seize the opportunity to gear up and go feel the cold air on my lungs. Her reasoning, by the way, was completely sound. The roads and sidewalks were pretty icy and running would have been risky to say the least.
I am using this down time as a chance to try some other things. That's proven to be a bit difficult because I have to limit the useage of my ankle, but I am getting creative. I started pedaling on the old man bike at the Y...boot and all. You know what bike I am talking about. It basically has a recliner on it. For the first time in my life, I brought a magazine with me and actually read it as I pedaled away. If you can read while you exercise, your workout probably isn't that strenuous. I've never knocked off a chapter of the latest novel I am reading while doing mile repeats on the track. After a couple of days of that bike, I had pretty much had it. I decided to test my legs on bike on which the seat was backless. I found it feel much more like riding a real bike. Still, I can't crank up the resistance and stand up, but at least I can break a sweat.
My swimming style is infamous. Many who have seen it have laughed, possibly felt concern. Despite all that, I have been pretty consistent with my trips to the pool. The first two attempts, one with Jackie, another solo, I swam for one hour. I just jumped in and swam. The challenge, besides the fact that I have no idea what I am doing, is that I can't kick. Any sort of flexing of the ankle adds stress to a bone that is trying to heal. So, I put a bouy in between my legs and just rely on my arms. Every time I swim, I can't help but fixate on the energy I am wasting. I knew I was doing something wrong, but I needed someone to tell me what it was. Bring in Billy Shue. Billy spent an hour with me in the pool at the MAC on Wednesday, teaching me drills and giving me one simple tip for improving efficiency.
Sunday, a breakthrough. Lauren and I met Mr. Contario and Jesse at the Newark High School weight room to use the equipment. After two days of the stationary bike at the village gym, I was ready to change it up. I got on the cross-trainer (which is like an elliptical/stair climber), telling myself that if I felt even the slightest pain, i'd hop off. An hour later, and the best sweat I had experienced since running, I was pain free.
I have a follow up with Caitlin's doctor on January 6th. I am hoping he will give me the green light to try some light running by the end of the month. He's a member of the running club and a triathlete, so I can only assume he knows the mental toll an injury like this takes on someone as insane as myself. Of course, I know he's no miracle worker. If it's still broken, it's still broken.
In writing, December looks like a bad month. I got a stomach bug that knocked me out for two days. I broke my ankle. Right now, I am battling a cold that has robbed me of sleep, a clear airway and a speaking voice. But in the grand scheme of things...in a life that doesn't always revolve around running, December has been a great month. Lauren and I got engaged on December 21st. She is much better at telling the story than I am, but suffice it to say, we are both really happy to be officially spending the rest of our lives together. We both got to spend Christmas with my family in Newark. Lauren and my family are constant supporters who love me hobbled or not. And I love them. It's those things, those events, those people that remind an injured athlete that not all is lost. It's how you get through breaking your ankle without breaking your spirit.