You might remember that about 4 years ago, I was running daily. I even ran a 10K. My Facebook post from that day (August 26, 2012): “I ran the South Lakes 10K today! My time? An incredible 1:35:12. I even got a police escort to the finish line, because they’ve never seen ANYONE finish a 10k as slow as I did. At least they didn’t make me pick up the orange cones along the route…”
Last place. Last one to cross the finish line before the cops closed the course. But damned if I didn’t finish the race. I felt like wing-footed Hermes, for just one day.
Then, stuff started happening. My library job at US Geological Survey had ended a few months before. I was unemployed for 9 months. My depression kicked in, and I just didn’t have the energy or the fight to run. I took a job in the restaurant industry. My schedule was all over the place. Some days I was up at 4 AM, and some, I didn’t have to work until 3PM. It was tough to maintain a schedule.
I began to experience plantar fasciitis. For those of you who haven’t experienced it before, well, it’s heel pain, brought on from too much “on-your-feet-all-day”. It was so extreme, I even had to take a day or two of work.
After a couple months of forcing myself not to run, I finally felt sufficiently recovered to start (slowly) running again.
I slipped on the ice and fell on my butt. Twisted my ankle. So I gave myself a week to recover. I slipped on the ice and did it *again*.
It seemed like The Gods of Run were against me so I gave up. I focused exclusively on my work. I gained weight.
Now, it’s three years later. I’m heavier than I’ve ever been in my life, and you know what?
SCREW the Gods of Run.
Apart from exercising my brain, which this blog tends to help sufficiently, I am also trying my best to make my body a bit more healthy. About a 7 days after I got the CPAP machine (That was early in April), I felt like I had enough energy to start walking again.
So I’ve been walking 6 weeks. At first I wasn’t going very far, I doubt I was even walking a mile. But I was outside, it was springtime, and I was walking. Those were the most important bits.
I’ve forged a course around Lake Thoreau now (ok–it’s called the Red Trail and it was already there–but it was new to me. It’s a paved walking trail. Every once in awhile I see someone on a bicycle, but it’s not all that common. Usually just folks older than I am, or agressive runners. Once I saw an entire South Lakes High School PE class doing the same circle as me. It’s approximately 2 miles around the lake, from my front door, so 3 tours around the lake is a 10k.
I’m not quite at my old level yet. I’m taking it easy. If I’m hurting, or if I have to walk in the dark to get around the lake, I take a day off. If it’s raining or the weather is bad, I delay my walk. I alternate between leisurely days, and “fast” days, when I push my pace and try to sweat a little. I hope that, before summer, I’ll be able to push my pace from a fast waddle to a slow lope.
My route takes me past the golf course, over a little bridge, right to the back entrance of the South Lakes High School, across the dam, past a shopping center, but the odd thing is it feels like I’m in the woods most of the way. It’s not uncommon to see a half dozen cardinals (the birds–not the church officials).
People are nicer on the trail. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the same as the Regency Era’s landed gentry taking a tour about their grounds. I always pass folks on the trail, and they smile and wave. Sometimes they exchange a cheerful greeting. Once an old lady with a cane and a bad dye job offered me information about exercise clothes that have built in pockets for smartphones.
But not built-in smarts for people with hands in their pockets.
Yesterday I took another nosedive. I dunno why. Weak ankles. Let’s blame weak ankles and Communism.
There was a large white Reston Association work truck in the middle of the trail. I’ve seen it before. The two guys, one clean shaven, and one with a beard, lean against the truck and guard their lawn tools and their big orange cooler full of Gatorade. Since the stupid truck was on the stupid path, I had to walk in the dirt. I tripped over a root, or an ankle-high fence, or a lawn gnome or something. Before I realized it, I was face-forward in the dirt. I’d twisted both my ankles and scratched up the palm of my right hand. I was approximately halfway through my walk, so I just continued the way I went.
Even though it was pretty obvious from my shout of “DAMMIT,” and the sound of 300 pounds of meat falling in the soil near the lake, the guys did not shirk their duty. No Gatorade was stolen. They didn’t even look my direction. People can be neato.
I was fine, although I’m still taking Tylenol to dull the ankle pain.
But this time, the Gods of Run aren’t going to spoil my time. I need to get healthy. With my writing I’ll get a sound mind, and with my exercise a sound body. Kind of like a Greek God, if that God were Dionysus. Or maybe I’ll be the Patron Saint of Falling Over A Lot. Only time will tell.