I am not running right now. My last attempt was a week and a half ago, a long weekend run of 15.5km on a bitterly cold and windy afternoon. The light was thin. My hip cried the entire time. That necessitated a frank assessment of my physical limitations, and a visit to my family doctor, and his request that I refrain from running. For now. I see a sports medicine doctor on Friday and the truth is that I’m holding out hope that his opinion will be otherwise: Go ahead and run! It can’t do any harm! (Hope hurts.)
Meantime, I am getting by with extra yoga classes, which seem to be helping. At the very least, I am strengthening and stretching and practicing my breathing. I am also continuing to swim, though not quite to the distances I’m used to: I stop when it starts to hurt rather than pushing on (the opposite of my usual style). And there’s spin class once a week.
But as mentioned in a previous post, none of those activities gets me outside. I’m missing not just the endorphin magic of a good run. I’m missing the bitter cold, the snow, the wind, the purposeful entry into the elements, even (and maybe especially) into the unpleasant elements. I’ve gone for runs in the dark, in cold rain, in hail, in blazing sunshine, in humidity. I also run in less extreme conditions, but it’s those more adventurous outings that stick with me, that please me most, that seem like tests of will and determination; there is a thrill to just sticking with it, hanging in there, going on. I could see how that sounds psychologically revealing; and not everyone’s cup of tea. And I accept that this injury may teach me many good things that I couldn’t learn otherwise: such as the value of stopping rather than pushing through; and patience. That too.
On Sunday, I went to my daughter’s soccer practice. It was a clear sunshiny afternoon, bright with snow on the ground. I could not run. But I decided not to sit by the sidelines indoors. Instead, I dressed for the weather, took my camera, and went for a hike in the woods. The trails were so familiar, trails I ran on all last summer and fall. And I was able to walk briskly without pain. It wasn’t like a good run, no, but it’s not fair to compare. It was exactly what it was: a walk in the woods.
Many of the photos came out with a melancholy feel (as above; do you agree?). I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s the wintry landscape, the bare trees. Or maybe it’s the eye that was seeing the wintry landscape and bare trees. Whatever was captured, melancholy was not what I felt upon returning home. I felt better. Just plain better.