“Wake up!” My calves tightened as I trudged up the hill.
“Wake up!” I pushed just a little harder to pick up the pace.
This was my self-imposed rude awakening. With just one week to go until my first race of the year, it was time to remind my body what real running feels like—and why I love it.
It’s been a long and slow road back from physical therapy. After being diagnosed with arthritis in my “good” knee, I boned up on weightlifting, cross training, icing and stretching. After three months and one knee injection, I finally started running again—slowly on a treadmill.
It was tough. I was often out of breath and tired, feeling like I’d never get back to where I left off. But I just reminded myself that I’d been there before. Heck, it was about six years ago that I went for my first run after a decade of confinement thanks to a bone tumor that hampered my “bad” knee; now that wasn’t pretty. I’ve come a long way.
So with visions of April daffodils in my mind, I set out for Central Park. The run wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t terrible either. With each “Wake up” shout, my body answered. It felt great. I felt free and unfettered and bound to the earth only by each falling foot strike bowing down to gravity. I felt alive, even if winded. I felt like working hard and reaping the benefits. I felt a flood of positive things. I felt like a runner.
Next week’s race is only the beginning; I’m still on the upswing with a long way to go. I’m certainly not in marathon shape or even in half-marathon shape. But I don’t need to be. I just need to make it through that first 10K.
I have no delusions of running a PR. That would be too much to expect for my first race after a three months hiatus. I’m not even going to run with a goal time in mind. I’m just going to head out there on Sunday and run because I enjoy it. I’m going to run because I can. And I’m going to run because it’s time—time to be a runner again.
Later in the season, I’ll allow myself to obsess over pacing and furrow my brow over PR’s. But Sunday is for waking up, putting on my shoes, and just reminding myself exactly why this sport is worth coming back to, and why I fell in love with it in the first place. I’m ready to fall in love with running all over again.
Karla Bruning is an award-winning journalist and running nerd. She has completed four marathons, trains with the New York Harriers and is a member of New York Road Runners. Follow Karla’s “Notes From a Running Nerd” at RunKarlaRun.com, Facebook and Twitter@KBruning. To listen to an interview with Karla, check out The Marathon Show, available for streaming or download on BlogTalkRadio and iTunes.
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Very inspirational. I am going through some maladies too. I was diagnosed with a hip impingement. But after further evaluations (MRI), I also have a tear in my labrum. I am waiting on a second opinion from a top orthopedic doctor in NY. Right now it doesn’t look good. Ironically I began running not too long ago and now I have to stop. Very discouraging but after reading your entry I feel I can get back on track.
Yey for you Karla. I’m a little concerned about you charging into the race scene so soon, but I’m glad you seem so upbeat. Only those who run know the love of running. My last blog reflected how my view of what is important has changed as regarding running and I’m just so thankful I can get up with the sun and greet each day with a run, regardless of how long it takes to go from point A to point B. Good luck with your “return”, but please be careful.
Good luck, love your blog!