Since the Mississauga Marathon my running career has stalled.
My left leg is a tangle of tight muscles, angry ligaments and totally testy tendons. It was for a good while almost unbearably painful to bear weight on that leg. My calf was often the same size as my thigh. Climbing stairs was...errmmm...slow.
I still worked. I still worked out. I still ran.
Not because I am a hero. Or a martyr.
I worked because I had to. I love my job. It feeds both my soul and my children.
I worked out with a new focus. Rehabilitation. I leg lifted weights tied onto my leg. I did leg presses at the gym. I stretched. I foam rolled. I focused on the muscles that will be needed to maintain a strong, balanced bunch of leg junk that will take over for my slowly degenerating hips. I worked out hard, and didn't miss a day of taking care of my painful legs. See above - I need my legs to do my job. I need HEALTHY, strong, mostly pain-free legs to do my job.
I ran because I didn't want to forget it.
I would not have lost much fitness. I'm not training for anything. It hurt. Somedays my leg would feel like I was dragging a 200lb tree stump. On those days I looked like a zombie from the Walking Dead. Other days, my leg would helpfully send shooting pains from baby toe all the way up into my lower back. On the best days, I had to focus every bit of my energy into keeping both legs running as balanced as possible. Like learning how to run. All over again.
I ran. Not every day, but when I could. I ran slow, for the most part, because there was no other option. I HATED it. I spent my runs thinking about running - stuck inside my battle with my body. I battled my inner "you can't do it", "you should give up". I listened and stopped a couple of times and cried.
I stopped seeing all the things that made running the joyful, life giving exercise that it is for me. When I ran with friends I was withdrawn. It literally took everything I had to keep running. But, I kept trying. I was determined not to forget.
The pain has been getting better. Massage and laser therapy, patience and time. Foam rolling, stretching and strengthening correctly (I have an EXCELLENT Personal Trainer, even though she's a bit of a bully) have been working their magic. Hard work gets results.
I am on Day 15 of a "Run Streak", challenged by my friend and massage therapist, Rhonda. Every day, my legs have been getting more tired. But they are remembering. It's as if ever step was a bit closer to the whole runner I was last September, when this shitstorm of pain really began.
Straight and true. Strong and solid. Moving forward. Not terribly quickly yet, but that's ok.
The blips and twinges and aches are there, but they are not dictating my run anymore. They are simply reminding me that patience will heal. And I am listening.
The best part? I am seeing all of my beautiful Brooklin trees again, in their summer blooming beauty. I am seeing the beautiful farmer's fields growing and lush. I smell the fresh cut hay in the fields, and feel the rush of nostalgia for my farm spent youth. I hear the laughter, the bird's calls and the wind whispering through the branches. Also, the car horns honking at me. Sigh. Share the road, drivers! I hear my running friends breathing,chatting, swapping tales of the open road.
Most of all, I hear my footfalls, steady and true beneath me. Moving forward. I have my feet under me again. I am moving forward.
I have found my CORE.