To Run or Not To Run

Image of Annie smashing Paul's ankles with a sledgehammer.

This is the image I get when my ankles feel too weak to hold me up. Overly dramatic, I know, but it is my own personal coping mechanism.

So last week I was really starting to feel my age. I was fine on my runs, but would hobble around afterwards like I was Paul Sheldon in Misery. I’ve mentioned before that I have bad ankles, from a car accident when I was in my early 20’s. After my recent run in Cold Spring Harbor (all steps and slopes) my right knee has also been giving me trouble. Usually I feel it when I first start my run, but once the blood and adrenaline get going, I’m fine.

Thursday was the worst. I woke up feeling all kinds of stiff and sore. Walking up stairs was painful and I literally could not pull up leading with my right knee. I had to take each step with my left leg (the one with the bad ankle), so that meant a very slow, labored climb. People in the schools I was working in would look sympathetically, and I imagined I could hear them thinking, “Look at that poor, crippled woman, too fat to go up the stairs.” I wanted to tell everyone that I could run 3 miles, but I actually did realize that it was mostly in my head. I don’t have ESP and can’t hear what people are really thinking. The rational part of my brain knows that most people can’t even be bothered to notice someone else’s issues.

So, I decided I needed a break from running. Now I have my 3,000,000 step challenge, of course, so I wasn’t going to give up on everything, but I would limit myself to walking and avoid stairs except when necessary. And this approach seems to be working. By Friday, I was able to walk up stairs using both legs. (Woo Hoo). Saturday I walked nearly 18,000 steps with little or no pain, and today I actually ran up and down the steps in my own house without using the handrail.

This would be the end of this post, except I have to make a confession. It is really hard not to run sometimes.  When I was walking with my sister, or my daughter, it was somewhat easier because we were talking and they don’t run so I could distract myself. However, when I’m on my own, especially on the boardwalk, I have this urge to break into a run. I really would rather run than walk most of the time. I like the feeling of pushing myself, and the little adrenaline rush I get from running. I actually even like the sweating. It makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something. I also feel empowered by running. Like I’m getting stronger with each step, even when I’m tired or in pain. It’s a rush.

Run With Your Heart, Not With Your LegsThe whole concept is weird to me, because historically I have never really liked exercise of any kind. When did I mentally switch over? I’m not even a good runner, nor am I particularly fast. Actually, to be honest, I am particularly slow, but I’m getting faster. I started using this hashtag #reasonstorun which, at first, was to help convince me to run, but now is just random thoughts I have while I’m running. I’m obviously not the only one using this hashtag, and I like scrolling through other people’s reasons from time to time as well.

So I’m wondering how long I should impose my running break. It’s been three days. Can I go back to running tomorrow? Am I healed enough? Should I try a short run just to see or give it another day or two?

I’m just taking it a day at a time. Stay tuned and I’ll let you know how it goes.


2 thoughts on “To Run or Not To Run

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