First 4 mile run since hernia repair in April

First Four Mile Run after hernia repair

I tore my tendon 5 weeks after my hernia repair surgery at my first Ultimate Frisbee game of the season. I was able to keep cycling even with the torn tendon. The doctor said the flexion and extension would bother it. The stabilizing needs of running however were painful and out of the question anyway. I began to feel some imaginary weight and some real weight dragging me down each day I wasn’t running.

Cycling, though I love it, is not the same as running. Cycling is a different type of awareness and fitness. I love them both. I’m not sure I could live without either. But I know I would be in the looney bin without running. I suited up after work, feeling confident that I would take it easy and turn around if the tendon hurt. I followed my normal after work route across the north end of Kalamazoo. I was literally weeping with happiness by the time I hit mile one out of four. It’s safe tp say I place way too much value on this activity. But it’s my life.

Running is not like cycling, or kayaking, it is a safety net, a place to vent, it is the padded room where all my anxiety and fear are pounded out with no intermediary. A place where schemes are hatched, plans made, thoughts held dear, memories rebounded, grief reconciled, love and redemption found, and it is entirely independent of weather, equipment, or external forces. I can run in a rainstorm, a whiteout, 10 degree weather with 3 feet of snow, or ninety nine degree heat. I do not need a running partner, or encouragement, I do not need praise or reward, it is not to impress or show off for anyone, it is entirely between me and the road.

At times I feel like my body has failed me, but in my heart I know it has not. Sometimes things are taken away to teach compassion. Now that perhaps I can continue for some time, I don’t know how long, I will be more thankful for each mile, for each step my body gives back.

I have to offer thanks also to Laura for enduring my confinement. Certainly it must feel like she lives with a lunatic in the tower when I am not running.

As additional food for thought, check out the copy from this new Pearl Izumi ad campaign. I’ve been reading online how most people hate it. Personally I identify with it. I guess if they wanted to sway people over who are not runners, maybe this wasn’t the way to do it. But if they were trying to create a brand impression for the runners that are already out there, they got my attention. I think the copy is genius.

Pearl Izumi we are not joggers ad

One Comment

  1. Keith–

    You are absolutely correct. Running is cathardic, it is sacred, and whether or not our running kin love/hate the pearl izumi ad campaign, it doesn’t matter, because those who love it do so because it speaks to their soul. Those who hate it do so, becaue they yearn to breakout of their jogger’s mold and transform themselves into real runners. I too have changed, and endured injury…hip fracture…both sides…hip screws. Rehab, crutches, cane, wondering if you’ll ever walk right again, let alone run. Yet, you go out and sweat those miles, and shake off the fear of one more step because if you don’t then it’s worse, because you are your own worse critic. It also keeps us sane within our crazy workaday lives. You have those days where EVERYTHING is getting to you. The job, the boss, your co-workers, your subordinates, and your peers. Is the problem you or everyone else? What to do? So–“I ran…I ran until my muscles burned and my veins pumped battery acid…then I ran some more.” To my great surprise and benefit, my anger expelled itself, like a prarie fire that burns hot and fast, and eventually burns itself out. Anger, hostility, resnetment, poured out of my body as sweat–venomous poisons expelling from my soul out my pores into rivulets of sweat that had me soaked like I had been baptized. When I was through, to my amazement, I was happy and reenergized…almost giddy. The endorphins of the runner’s high had replaced my “pissed-off”-edness. Was this a “breakthrough”, an ephphiny, a ‘moment of clarity’ as some alcoholics call it? Whatever it was it was wonderful, magical and somewhat addictive…the runner’s drug? Tonight I’ll do a slow couple of miles in order to get ready for my labor day 5K, but when I looked down at my distance/time on Friday, it sure felt good to hit that 10K at around 56:00 minutes. Someone said once, “fear and anger are two sides of the same coin…sooner or later you have to let both of them go.” I hope that I have found a way do just that. Keep running, one foot in front of the other, along that black ribbon of darkness and into the day.