I ran 13+miles today. Because of calf and knee problems, I haven’t run 13 in the last six months and very few times in the months prior.
Not lost on me is the fact that this Veteran’s day weekend marks a year since all these problems started, during mile 4 of the Santa Barbara Marathon. After the race, I couldn’t walk and spent the next week on crutches. I couldn’t run on my right knee for about 45 days after that.
By late January, I was back on the road, able to slowly run a half marathon, but not able to run consistently.
In April I ran the Black Mountain trail run and my calf cramped up about 1/3 the way into the difficult 9 mile trail. Then later that month I willed myself through the beautiful Big Sur Marathon.
Since then, I’ve been impatiently healing. I’ve tried running with little success and my tennis game has been limited by what movements my knee will and will not make. Some nights, I haven’t been able to bend down to pick up the tennis balls, let alone stay low to hit groundstrokes.
But I started running again last month. It hasn’t gone too well. I’ve had shin and knee problems with all my musculature being out of whack.
I’ve tried to limit my runs to 3 to 5 miles max with time to recover in between. I used to hate 3 miles runs, because they weren’t long enough for the requisite shower afterwards. Now I am grateful to be able to run at all.
So much is made in running about always getting better and only competing with yourself. My truth is that I am not as good as I was a year ago, but I am damn sure better than I was nine months ago.
My tennis legs were really strong and fast last Friday. I didn’t really recognize myself. Today I went out for my 3 to 5 mile run and again, my legs were strong and my cardio was better than it had been in quite a while, so I kept going. At the end of mile 6, I stopped for an ice tea and a bagel, mostly because I didn’t bring water or gels for what should have been a short run. After I came out from my break, I had a choice between running into the hills of Yorba Linda or taking the easier, flat 3 mile run home. I chose the former and was so very glad I did. I hadn’t taken hills that easily in years.
Chris Rock was on Saturday Night Live a weekend ago and he commented that the marathon distance of 26.2 miles is a long way to drive, let alone run. Truth be told, the first prerequisite to running a marathon is the belief that one can run a marathon. That first prerequisite being met, one must have the proper equipment to handle demands that 26.2 miles puts on the body.
I only ran 13+ miles today, but I believe that had I brought gels, water and eaten breakfast, these legs could have taken me 20 miles easily. If the good Lord never gives me another day like today, I will be disappointed, but I will always be grateful for today.