Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Climbing Back on the Horse — er, Saddle — er....

Had you told me six months ago that I'd have taken half the year off running, I'd have laughed aloud. I was, at that time, in rare form: running an easy five miles a day with occasional weightlifting, looking forward to running through Central Park on my honeymoon.

And then I stepped off a curb.

Then — well, I can't even figure that out, still. Suffice it to say that one doesn't know how to explain a hole in an intestine, even if it runs in the family.

But that's all just horrifying stories that publishers would warn me against because "no one would believe it." (And they wouldn't.) Now I'm trying to get back to where I was six months ago.

Did I mention that it hurts?

Not in that "Oh, please, sweet mother of heaven, let me die and I promise I won't be any trouble to you" way. Been there, done that, didn't even keep the t-shirt.

No, this is more of a "Oh, so that's what that muscle does!" kind of pain. I remember taking a couple of weeks off back in the early aughts when I had some shoulder repairs done. It was hard to start again and my muscles rebelled.

Now, imagine that a dozen times worse.

I don't have my excellent lung capacity anymore. I get a little winded walking up the stairs, much to my surprise. My resting pulse rate and blood pressure are still good, though, so I am not going to die at the gym — but I may feel like it. And I won't like it.

Now, I am not going to throw myself into an exercise program that's too ambitious; convalescence is still too fresh in my mind to make me do something that might reverse my healing. I am not fragile, but I am cautious.

So, if you see me working away with a grimace on one of the elliptical machines at the gym, just let me be. I'll be cheerful again in no time.

I know I will start to appreciate that one-mile run, where suiting up takes longer than the actual experience of running, when it becomes two. Or three. (You get the gist.) And you'll see me on the road only when it's warm enough — I'm not yet running in the sub-freezing winter dawn. I may be crazy, but I'm not yet completely certifiable!

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