Trying Out: One More Long Run (Week Fifty-Two)
As I have stated before, my history of running wore my knees out. I logged eight or so miles once a week and ten times a year I would go for a hilly half-marathon. Fifteen years of running puts a lot of strain on the body.
Like The Rookie, like Rocky; I wanted one last shot at the title. I still had a lot of energy ready to dispel. But my legs could not take it. Right?
Meanwhile, my former running partner spent the year running every single day. Gah. And she was running marathons. Her husband was accepted to the Boston Marathon. Come on!
One week I jogged three miles. Then five miles. As long as my knee braces cooperated, it was manageable. The acupuncture really did help, but I could not afford the cost for long. However it reset my body just enough.I logged six miles. That got my confidence up. I told myself that I would have my good-bye to jogging. I wanted my last thirteen mile trek.
So around November I forced myself to keep going. I made a habit of running six miles again. And it hurt. I had a new appreciation for women whose bodies had been changed after giving birth. I knew what I had been capable off, but my body had changed a bit. Why could I not do what had once come so easily?
Then, two weeks ago, I logged nine and a half miles. That was when I knew it was doable. A few days later I went for an eleven mile walk to keep my legs happy. Then that weekend, I clock twelve miles. A few days after that, I logged twelve and still felt pretty decent.
Most folks were content to sleep in on Christmas Eve. It was thirty-three degrees outside and we are weather wimps. Of all the people at Greenlake, I was the only one in short-sleeves. (I did see one gal’s forearms, but she had a jacket tied around her waist. So I maintain my claim.) Long sleeves and jackets vex me when running. All I had to do was run fast enough and I would warm right up. That theory had always worked before.
The first six miles, I kept my fingers curled up inside the palm of their gloves. I kept squeezing in time with my feet. That is the nice part about running all those years. The body remembers. I had already trained myself to adopt certain paces, breathe a certain way, and shift through those as needed. I did not have to focus on how to adjust my gait; it took care of itself. Muscle memory: it really does work.
All of the pesky elements stayed home for the holidays. My knee brace’s Velcro held. It did not rain. I did not have to pee. All those annoying little quirks were absent. I was free to let my mind empty itself and enjoy the outdoors. And that is the whole point of running for me.
My legs got a little sore, but hills will do that. My arms turned a little red from the cold, but that is why you wear gloves in winter. My knees had a few things to say, but they did not yell. Sure enough, I was able to complete my own little half-marathon. Since I had avoided hills (not a kneecap’s friend), I accomplished it in record time. Go figure.
I was rather pleased. God had let me have one last go at it. I got my “good-bye”. But we all know I probably will not stop with that. My plan is to log more half marathons. Probably not ten a year like I used to; though once a year seems doable. Apparently I still have some spring left in my step.