Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Simple Run

The plunge-escape of the 2nd Annual Stupidathon. This is Town Creek, Oxford on a mid-January Saturday afternoon. Hmm?

About a week after the preceding blog entry was written I was scheduled for knee surgery. It was December, the holidays were coming, and my knee was not improving since re-injuring it during the April running of the Delaware Triple Crown. Since, all one does around the holidays is sit, eat, and socialize, I thought it the perfect time to try and heal my knee.

It now has been six weeks since Dr. Rick Mason put two holes in the front of my knee, cleaned away my torn meniscus, and cleaned away “moderate” arthritic growth from under my knee cap on my right knee. Since I was fourteen, I had never gone six weeks without running. This really hit home on Monday.

I had epoxied myself out of the shop by 4:15, and the mood struck me to try running as I walked to the house in the warmish still air of that January afternoon. The headcold that had held me captive for a week still lingered, but, “damnit” I was going to try to run; it had been long enough. This run needed to be private, however; seen by no one. I’m not sure why this was, nor why tears gushed out of my eyes while driving Phinn and me to Rabbit Point so we could work all this out. Perhaps the answer lies in an answer to another question, “why DO we run?” The weight of all those reasons why I love to run; why I must run is tremendous. That weight had brought me to this moment.

With the truck parked by the gate at Rabbit Point, I set my goal of running to a fork in the lane a couple hundred yards away. This was it; a defining moment. I wanted to run really BAD. It was awkward and a little painful, but I did it. It felt like I did not know how to run, at all. Small strides (all my running buds know how long my stride is) with a great deal of thought got me there. Another goal was set and made, then a longer one; set and met. In the end my new-feeling knee carried me just under 2 miles. Near the end my old stride was making guest appearances, but I also felt the use of my core, which might be more integrated into my new running style; we’ll see.

Phinn licked me as did my stretching at the bench on the point. We ran back to the truck feeling like running was going to be a part of our lives once again. At Dr. Mason’s the following morning, he officially released me from his care and instructed me to continue running twice a week for a while, increasing my distance by half a mile each week until I reached a comfortable distance.

Folks, I’ve run the past 2500 miles with knee pain of some level or another. The thought of running without that pain absolutely sends my spirits soaring. I’m not there, yet, but the possibility now exists. Patience and prayer will get me there.

What about my shoulder? On September 4th I had surgery on my left shoulder. Some of the professionals that have worked with me over the months believe I am stronger and am showing progress with my nerve palsy. I am still hopeful of a full recovery, but only time will tell. My swimming is going well. I swam a personal best on last Sunday in Annapolis in the 50 yard free leg of a relay. The most enjoyment I have are with doing the custom workouts created for me by the Galans. More than speed, I am concentrating on holding form in my strokes as I tire by adding distance.

The Stupidathon crew: Mike V, Shaun, Dominic, Jeff, Brennan, Joel, Lori, Andrew, Wood Frog (in Shaun's cape), Lando, and Bickford. Missing are Brian and Megan.

On a not-so-smart, yet, very fun note, thirteen of us participated in the 2nd annual Stupidathon on Saturday, January 16th. The course was from Dominic’s home on Needwood Avenue in Easton to Oxford via bikes, then run from Hinkley (Crocket Brother’s BY) to Bachelor’s Point via the Strand and return. At this point there was no open water shoreside in Talbot County. Bickford had to chop a hole in the ice for us to use. The water was frigid, though I think I won the “least amount of time in the water award”. Several of us, including yours truly, went for multiple plunges. Perhaps this is why I’ve had my worse cold in 15 years.

There is so much I want to look forward to this year, but, at this point I am not planning on any events. I want to be able to swim, ride, run, love, and appreciate all that life has to offer first. If life throws in a few competitions, then I’ll have at it. Happy New Year, everyone. ~ Michael