Yesterday was the first time I was cleared to run since injuring myself three weeks earlier. I was given the task of running a cautious 4 miles, which I haughtily assumed would be a piece of cake. And not just any piece of cake, but an exquisite one. Chocolate lava torte drizzled in creme anglaise.
I have a tendency to daydream, and I'd somehow convinced myself that as soon as I laced up, I would just fly off the asphalt. All that rest and rebuilding of my quadriceps would make me Super Runner. I'd feel no pain. I'd feel lighter than air. I would discover that all along, I was actually an 8 minute mile kind of runner, and just the weight of discomfort and injuries had been slowing me down.
Here's my reality check. This is what actually happened: I started running and at first, it did not feel amazing. Not painful at all--I just had a sudden flash of sympathy for the people who have told me, "I don't understand how you can run that much! I think it's so boring." It was difficult and a little slow, and I was also very worried about injury that I ran self-consciously, trying to make sure my quads and calves were equal partners in my movement, which made for a really unnatural gait.
Then, after about 2 miles, the love suddenly kicked in. I'm back! I thought to myself, getting a little teary-eyed. Oh running, how I've missed you! At that point, my brand new Garmin displayed that my pace had changed from a 9:55 minute mile to 8:08 (pre-injury, a comfortable pace for me was somewhere in between those times) and I felt great. And indeed, I thought the "Super Runner" fantasy was coming true.
I got in another 1.75 miles of exquisite chocolate lava torte style running and could see the end of the loop on the horizon--when all of the sudden I got a tingling feeling in left kneecap. You know, the bad one. It wasn't pain. It was pre-pain. This led to a tingling feeling in my stomach that was neither pain nor pre-prain but 100% dread. I slowed down and continued to the end of the loop (the Weston Town Center periphery, circled twice, for those of you who know the Weston Team in Training geography).
And limped defeatedly back to my car.
Driving home I decided it wasn't so bad. I felt good during most of my run, and maybe I just needed more spinning and some light quad body work and shorter mid-week runs to keep on rebuilding. I hope that's the case; we'll have to see. Sometimes being a perpetual optimist means it's hard to know what you truly are capable of doing and what you desperately want to do.
Oh, and I'm not limping anymore. The pain lasted for a few hours afterwards. I feel fine, now.
Of course some ice and cashing in the massage gift certificate my husband gave me as a holiday gift definitely helped.