Thursday, September 2, 2010

It's Been a Long Time Coming

When I laid on my couch, unable to walk because of a sesamoid stress fracture in my left foot, I started losing hope that I may never get better and not be able to run. A few months later I got the ok to start back on the elliptical and in a few weeks, try running.

3 weeks after my doctor's ok was last night. I had meetings all day which prevented me from walking home for lunch, getting in some additional mileage and exercise. I couldn't sit still all day. I fidgeted and twitched all morning long. I shook my legs throughout a 2 hour meeting, annoying the person sitting next to me. I made up my mind that when I got home I was going for a walk.

I put on my running shorts, grabbed my charged iPod sitting on a shelf, and laced up my sneakers tight enough to hold my feet in position. I qued up my favorite cardio music and walked out the door. I had decided that I was strong enough to venture out on a route that I haven't visited since my injury.

Running this path was like rejoining a community. I must have seen hundreds of bikers, joggers, runners, and walkers. All of them reminded me that DC has an active community of which I love being a part of. That trait is one of the things that drew me to Washington, DC is the first place. I was back. I have walked this path and run this path and today no one could tell I was recovering from an injury. I was just another exerciser.

I had avoided this path when I started doing my recovery walks because in my mind that route was something of strength and what my athletic self used to do. I quickly pushed aside those thought and set out on my way. I told myself I should try to run. "Slow and steady wins the race" played throughout my head to remind me to take it really slow. I felt like I had a second brain in my left foot, ready to alert me at a moments notice if anything felt wrong. That brain never shouted at me!!

I ran twice in the first part of that path and felt like shouting from the rooftops. My body felt strong. My legs, albeit a little different looking than in February, carried me confidently on my way. My lungs were up for the challenge and damn it, I was flying (running?) high.

I continued walking with a few spurts of running here and there. My path led me down to the National Mall via the back of the Lincoln Memorial. I couldn't help but think about how often I'd been down there before but that it'd been a long long time. I decided to walk to the front of Lincoln and subconsciously my arm reached for the pause button. I took a couple of minutes to marvel at the beauty of the mall -  the Washington Monument with the Capital behind it. Lincoln with the sun setting behind him. The green trees lining a place that offered hope and inspired many. And then I walked to the dirt path along the reflecting pool and ran some more. Sans music - I wanted to hear crunch of my feet on the soft(er) dirt path, my breath, the birds, and savor it all.

Savor it I did. When I reached the World War II Memorial I really felt like I had found a piece of myself. Screw yoga, I was in a zen state of mind and nothing was going to change that.

I completed my walk / run with a few more bouts of running and made my way home. I listened to my head when it told me I should save some gas for the next time, that I shouldn't overdo it now. This was just my first time back and I didn't need to set myself back. And I stretched to make sure I ended the 4.5 mile run the way I should.

A sense of a runner's high has returned to me and I have a feeling I'll be on Cloud 9 for a few days. I felt like I left some frustration and angst regarding my injury on the pavement and it feels so good.

There were a lot more revelations I had on this run. It was my own little therapy session and a great one at that. 

I reconnected with a part of me I was beginning to think had left. I am a different person though. I ran. And I realized:

I am resilient in the face of challenges. I have succeeded in the past and I will succeed again in the future. I don't doubt my own ability. I am stronger than I was in February and in so many ways. I love living an active life. I am appreciative of what my body can do, think, and say. And I appreciate all of the support and encouragement from family, friends, and blends as I continue to recover from my injury. Here's to more pain-free recovery runs!


  1. That is amazing news! I'm so happy for you! Really nothing can beat that runner's high. Welcome back.

  2. Your first run back was 4.5 miles?! That is great! Nice story too. I would love to run along those monuments and streets.

  3. Good job with your run! That is great to hear that you were able to reconnect and enjoy yourself doing what you love again ;) Happy for you!