Training is on pause

I was doing so well. Last Sunday, I did my long run in town, and made two circuits of an eight mile loop. The weather was gorgeous. I was well-rested. I had enough liquid. The run was absolutely beautiful and fantastic.

And now, I'm going to have to hold on to that memory for a little while, because I don't know when I'll be strong enough to run again. On my last mile, I screwed up trying to negotiate a curb, and slammed my right leg down with far too much power, sending a spike of pain through my knee. It went away a second or two later, so I kept going and finished up, and felt fine. Got home, drank my Gatorade, ate my protein bar, stretched out, and then went to walk my dog.

I didn't get even a house away before my calves hardened like concrete. Had I been glared at by Medusa? No. I'd just ran 16 miles. I hobbled back to the house, and sat down for 20 minutes. When I got up, I felt okay. And then went to lunch at the Bluegrass Grill with my ex and our kids. While waiting for our table, I played race cars with my son. And, suddenly, began to feel twinges of pain in my leg. Nothing excruciating. That would come later. But, I realized something was up. Something serious was up.

That afternoon, I had plans to take the kids to the pool. I couldn't disappoint them, even though my knee was slowly becoming an issue if I put any pressure on it. My son is too young to swim by himself, so I had to stay within arm's reach of him for the entire two hours we were at Washington Park Pool. There was also a lot of up and down, and a lot of grimacing as I tried my best to get through our day out.

When I got home, I put ice on it. I stopped off at Seven Day Junior for a huge pack, and filled two freezer bags. Somehow, though, I got it into my head to have an impromptu dinner party, which meant a lot more getting up. I should have rested, but I'm a single dad building friendships with people. I can't just stop these things to take care of myself.

Maybe I should have, but my training has always had to be fit into my emerging life as I try to sort out what the rest of it is going to be like. Running has been the engine that's allowed me to transform my image of myself, as well as my physical body. As I type this, I can remember that feeling of power of my body moving through the universe. I know I'll get back to it again. But I don't know when.

I did not go to the doctor on Monday, but I should have. My insurance shifted recently, and I've not yet figured out how to fill out the new paperwork. It's also more expensive to me directly. I don't have the cash flow to go to a physical therapist, and like many people, I'll put off care if I can't afford it, or it seems like a luxury.

I more or less took Monday off, though. My ex came to get the kids early, and I just sat on the couch for a while, alternating between ice and heat, taking generic acetaminophen to try to keep the swelling down. Of course, I was later told I really needed Advil. I never seem to get the right things in life.

Things felt much better on Tuesday. I could walk up the stairs at work without pain, but there was still some pain. On Wednesday, the pain wasn't constant. I even tried a quick jog of about 100 steps, and felt okay, with no pain immediately after. Soreness about an hour later, though. Thursday was okay, but a new sensation of soreness began to occur on the underside of my knee. A tendon seems like it's not being stretched properly.

Tonight, I'm waiting tables, and I'm a bit worried I'm going to over-tax myself. But, waiting tables is not a luxury. I need that money to help me get through the month. I hope we're busy, but I also dread getting injured while at work.

I don't know when I'll run. I don't know if I'll be ready for the marathon. I can't think about that right now. I am beginning to find alternatives to running, because I want to stay in shape. I am also convinced that if I want to make a lifelong habit of running, I have to respect this injury and not trivialize it. Tonight, I'll wear a brace while waiting tables and I'll move slowly. In time, I'll be healed and I'll be back on the road. But for today, my training is on pause.

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