Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thinking Back

Exactly six months ago today—May 15, 2011—I sustained the worst injury of my running career. My plantaris tendon ruptured and took my medial gastroc and soleus muscles down in flames with it six miles into the Cleveland Half Marathon. If you didn't already know, I finished the race. "Did Not Finish" was not an option.

Mile eleven, in excruciating pain, but so happy I got to see the Redhead!
Following a diagnostic ultrasound in early June, I was ordered into Frankenboot. At least Redhead and I got to be miserable together, though my relationship with the boot was more of a short-term fling while hers was long-term and serious.

It's the fashion statement of the summer! All the cool chicks have one.
I embarked on physical therapy after I was released from Frankenboot purgatory. In mid-August I took my first running steps since the day I was injured three months earlier. I did the Run for the Rolls on August 27 and celebrated running one mile totally pain-free. I finished physical therapy at the end of September, turned loose into a Michigan fall. I have run three races since then: the Big House Big Heart in Ann Arbor, the Parkview Pumpkin Run (Columbia City, Indiana), and just this past weekend, the Ann Arbor Turkey Trot in Dexter. All three were 5Ks. All three exceeded 30 minutes. All three I ran with the Engineer. I'm slower than I have ever been.

The Redhead and I have made a habit over the past six weeks of walking together at a nearby park during the work week. We have watched trees clad in red and gold shed their leaves, gradually snowing in the path with drifts of brown which crunch beneath our feet. The forest unclothed, every twig and branch exposed, the dry and dirty smell of decaying leaves, the squirrels noisily rummaging on the ground, the birds in the bushes, the rumble of the freeway just hidden from view...Our lunchtime strolls at Lillie Park will continue until the weather makes it impossible to be outside. We have been fortunate thus far, but we know that winter is coming. (It snowed last Thursday.) On days when we are unable to meet, I walk by myself on a 2.5-mile loop starting at my office. It's not as pleasant as the trail through Lillie Park—it's primarily on the sidewalk next to a busy road—but it does have its own (albeit brief) woodsy charm.

Cranbrook Park trail, short but scenic
I am climbing out of the deep hole I dug with my weight gain and hiatus from running. I still have a long way to go if I want to have anything close to the speed and stamina (not to mention the physique) I had two years ago. Rejoining Weight Watchers last month was a huge step in the right direction; I have lost 10 lbs of the 50 I hope to lose.

Finally, tomorrow evening I am going to sit in a movie theater for four hours and watch a rebroadcast of a Metropolitan Opera performance from a couple of weeks ago. The opera is one that is very dear to me: Mozart's Don Giovanni, in which I performed in 2008 and from which I can sing three arias. This is one of them.


Kirsten said...

Onward and upward! I need to get crackin' and be done with this stupid 20#s that I've been totin' on for the past 6 years. I'm always training for something, which makes weight loss difficult. I'm great at maintaining, but can't manage a deficit AND train. I'm contemplating scaling back on the aerobic stuff this Winter and doing more weight work and watching the carbs and calories closer...and the beer and wine (that's a BIG part of my issues).

Glad running is being kind to you.

MCM Mama said...

GLad to hear you are finally back running! I know you'll get back where you want to be soon!

Morgan said...

You've come a long way in more ways then one my dear!!! You're doing great and I'm so proud of you. I love our walks and talks and you better get ready for me when I'm finally back up and running cuz you and I have a date with Lillie and this time no walking allowed!

TNTcoach Ken said...

Good luck with that fiddy! On-On

Viper said...

Glad to read you're on the slow train back. You'll get there. Cheers!