In case of a fire emergency, you’re supposed to use the back of your hand to test if a surface such as a doorknob is hot. Just to be safe.
And that’s exactly how it felt to go on my first run back. Kind of like reaching for a doorknob that might give me a second-degree burn.
I woke up just a few minutes after the sun, on a beautiful, crisp May morning. I had spent much of the day before sitting on trains, at desks and in transit. That’s when my back feels worst.
Even though my doctor told me that I could start easing back into all activity (including running) I had to use extreme precision to determine what I could tolerate and what I couldn’t. He can’t tell me what I can or can’t handle by looking at an X-ray. I knew that on Monday morning, my tolerance was at a discouraging low.
Ironicly, this day on which I got cleared to move was the day I didn’t want to budge a muscle. I had fallen asleep with that sinking feeling.
So, anyway, back to the future, back to the morning after. I woke up feeling okay. My back wasn’t sore, I felt as good as ever. I tried to fall back asleep, but to no luck.
As if I was in a dream, I walked over to my “running basket” where I keep my running shoes, headbands, foam roller, GoPro, body glide and a collection of unopened goodies I purchased for myself for “when the day comes” – the same way I imagine expecting parents buy for their unborn babies.
I know that it was now or not at all. If I was going to run today, it was going to be now. I quickly ran and grabbed the first pair of unseasonably warm pants out of my drawer and a tank top. Slipping my Brooks on my feet gave me chills and then immediately made me feel like a loser for getting chills about putting on stability shoes. Whatever. You get it.
I walked down those stairs, those very stairs where eight weeks ago I cracked my crack, slower and more cautiously than I ever have. Not today, stairs. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever.
I teared up when I hit “Select” on the “Run Outdoor” setting of my Garmin Forerunner 35. I AM A MESS I KNOW. I stood there, waiting for this little gadget to get satellite. I usually fidget and get impatient while those bars load, but this time I just happily obliged as the GPS fairies activated my device.
And I was off.
As I was trotting along my familiar streets, concentrating like crazy on my form, having good posture and most importantly, trying to feel any pain I may be blocking out. But there was none. I was okay. I was running and I was okay.
So, I took a turn right, and another. I was smiling from ear to ear. I hate that expression, but I really was smiling to the point of weirdness. I nodded at every runner out there at 6:15 in the morning.
Are they training for Brooklyn?
I wonder if this is their tempo run? Are they running to the track?
I love that shirt, I wonder where she got it?
As 5 minutes flashed on my watch, I lapped and walked for a minute. Then I ran, then I walked – and repeat.
By the time I made it back to my front door and saved my run I saw “2.25 miles” appear in my final distance. Cool.
Don’t worry, this is a happy ending kinda of story. I got home with enough time to ice my back, just in case, and take a nice hot shower after my run.
Did I run this morning, you ask? No. I didn’t.
Oh, why not? Because I’m literally so sore I feel like I ran an ultramarathon.
See you on the roads, friends.