A few weeks ago I was at the track and had run three 4000m reps in exactly the times my trainer had advised me, except for the last one, which I had run faster. Every cell in my body was electrified with the thrill of what I had just done, and as I ran a few laps slowly around the track before heading home I let myself bask in the joy of such a very good moment. Part of what made it so good was that it was not the highest of high points because the very best moment was to have come a week and a half later at the end of the race I was training for, when I was to have obliterated my previous personal record.
Oooh, when I write that, the thrill comes back again.
Unfortunately, a few days after what effectively turned out to be the high point of my training, the various parts of connective tissue in my foot and ankle revolted. The rebellion worsened as the days progressed until race day when I withdrew. Clearly not pounding the pavement for approximately 1 hour and thirty something minutes with a foot that hurt after two Advil and only half a mile of warm-up running was the only intelligent choice I could have made, blah blah blah, but it still sucked.
On the positive side, I now have a better idea of what I am capable of if only my tendons will cooperate, and just the thought of it gives me a little thrill.
So I have not been running, which weighs on my spirits, and makes everything seem so much worse than it actually is. If only I could just go outside and pound the damn pavement for an hour and a half! I know that by the time I came back I would have perspective, nothing would seem so bad. Or I would be too tired to care.
As I get more and more desperate for my fix, I begin to think about quitting the racing and just running to run, the way I used to, when I never had injuries from pushing it to the limit and over to the other side. I go back and forth weighing the pros and cons in my head, not that I have to decide right this very minute, but what else am I going to obsess over if not running since I can’t run? It’s the “A Clockwork Orange” conundrum – the one I still haven’t made up my mind about – is life life without the thrill? I would miss it, I would miss it so much, but at least I would be able to run when things get rough, when it gets to be this time of year with Thanksgiving around the corner and all my family on the other side of the world, then my cat dies, and then my ex-husband, upon finishing the dinner I have cooked and served him, informs me that he would like to change the terms of our divorce and I should expect to hear from his attorney sometime soon.