First Runs Back

Before this week, I hadn’t really run since December 7th. Professor Badass has had a sad ass, in other words tendonitis of the gluteus medius and minimus. Except for a Christmas Eve walk with my dad, I’ve been sidelined since then. Because improvement was so slow, two weeks ago I stopped all activity entirely. No swimming, no spinning, no gym, no nothing. It’s been pretty awful.

But, now I’m starting to come back. I ran 1.5 miles under the Maestro’s supervision on Monday. And Wednesday, 20 glorious minutes on the treadmill at a 12 min/mile pace. That is sloooooow for me, but still. It’s running, not walking. Running is awesome. It’s still awesome, even though I haven’t done it in awhile. It’s still awesome, even though it’s on a treadmill and not outside. Heck with a temperature of 19 degrees and a stiff breeze and a lot of dark at 6am, I’m not even complaining (much) about the treadmill.

I’m thrilled to report that this didn’t feel hard at all. I wasn’t gasping for breath or wishing to for a walk break. I also didn’t feel any of the telltale pinching deep in the butt cheek that signaled the beginning of this injury saga. What did I feel? I felt that fire that burns deep inside me that wants to run faster, harder, better (but yes, I stuck to 5.0 on the treadmill). I came to this sport later in life, but when I fell for running, I fell hard and that love is still there. Even this little 20 minute treadmill outing gave me a glimpse of the power and joy that running can bring. The incredible surge of determination that sometimes comes to me when running. Right now, I am channeling that fire and determination and passion into getting this damn butt healed rather than running faster, but it was sure nice to find out that it’s still there.

I always listen to music on the treadmill so I also got re-visit some favorite tunes. Music evokes memories for lots of people, including me. I heard Taio Cruz’s song “Telling the World,” which for me is always about my daughter.

I’m telling the world
That I’ve found a girl
The one I can live for
The one who deserves

For awhile I started every run with that song. Rose has some gross and fine motor delays and various other issues she and we have to deal with. My love for her is fierce like a wild animal and running gives me the power to fight every battle that she might need fought for her.

I also heard Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger.” I know a lot of people run to this song, including one of my running heroines, Sarah Bowen Shea of Another Mother Runner. This morning it brought me memories of my early runs because this was on my playlist for a long time right after I finished the Couch to 5K program. I remember running that initial 5K loop around the neighborhood over and over again, never really even dreaming that one day I might go a lot farther. It’s the only song I submitted for the shared playlist the first time I did Ragnar so I also remember the Albany Running Mamas blasting it for me from the van as I ran up a huge hill during my last leg.

I’ve got different playlists set up for different race distances, but no way was I going to listen to one of these on my first little treadmill jaunt. So instead this was “playlist #4” which is sort of a storage area for songs I like enough to leave on the iPod but that haven’t ended up anywhere else. I don’t listen to “playlist #4” very much so I was surprised to hear Neil Diamond’s “Walk On Water.” I’m no longer ashamed to confess to being a huge Neil Diamond fan, but I don’t run to his music much at all. This song is different though. I discovered it the first time I ran 11 miles solo, which was June 2013. I was training for my first marathon, but on vacation on Cape Cod, so running alone. 11 miles was way, way farther than I had ever gone alone before and I figured Neil would at least keep me company. It ended up being a spectacular run, but most of the music got shoved off the iPod at some point. Not this one though. Not with lyrics like these:

Light de light, we got mornin’,
Mornin’ makes another day
Glory sight, got de dawnin’
Lordy, light the night away

“Walk On Water” stuck around and landed on the playlist for the Hartford marathon, where it came on during the mile I dedicated to Claire, daughter of my friends Mark and Charlotte. Claire was born January 2013 and Charlotte discovered she had breast cancer just a couple of months later. They all got a mile from me during Hartford 2013 and this song became forever linked with Claire in my mind. I’ve hardly listened to the song since fall 2013, but I just saw Mark last week when I was in New Orleans for a conference. Their whole family is healthy and leaving behind a dark period. Of course cancer is not at all comparable to a ridiculous butt injury, but I still started crying when this song came through my ear buds Wednesday morning. Because thank God, Charlotte is ok. Because I know in my heart that Claire is a child who will bring light wherever she goes. Because I finally got to run again, and that act of one foot in front of another is for some reason so powerful and maybe I am starting to be on my way back to it.

When I consulted with the Maestro later in the day on Wednesday, I found out that my standard running warm-up is full of glute stuff and therefore a huge no-no. Oops. Crap. To be safe, I went back to doing nothing on Thursday, but today is Friday and I got another 15 minutes on the treadmill. Plus a gym workout later today! Slowly, slowly inching my way back.

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