This weekend, I will go for a run. A real run, in the real outdoors.
I am terrified.
It has been 6 weeks since my last run, the run during which I injured my achilles. After a 2-week rest period did not provide relief, I’ve been in a month of physical therapy.
In an effort to maintain my endurance, and with the hope of still running the Rock n Roll Savannah Half Marathon, I’ve continued exercising. On the days I should’ve run, I instead did that same amount of time on an elliptical, stationary bike or in a pool. Two and a half hours running on a road takes you all over town. Two and a half hours on gym equipment takes you nowhere except the mad house. Thank goodness for Netflix, Mission Impossible and The Avengers keeping me entertained and sane.
Last week, the physical therapist thought I was ready to try running on the anti-gravity treadmill. I must say, that is a pretty cool machine. You pull on some funky pants and zip yourself into a bag around the treadmill. Then it inflates until it lifts your toes right off the tread. You can adjust the amount of assist, and I started out running at 75% of my body weight.
It was like running on air, in my own little bubble. I was hyper-aware of my achilles, and while it seemed a little tender and stiff, there were no sharp pains.
I’ve run on it three more times, and today was up to 90% of my body weight. So I’ve been cleared to run on Saturday.
I am excited to go for a run, but mostly I’m scared. I’m scared it could hurt, and then I’m fearful of the disappointment that would follow.
But I’m also trying to keep some perspective. If I do run, and it does hurt, it doesn’t mean the end of running for me. Or the end of my healthy lifestyle. I can keep working on getting stronger.
Being at the physical therapy office, you see a lot of people in various stages of recovery. Some of them just want to be able to stand up. On their feet. And take a single step forward on their own.
You could say I was unlucky when I hurt my achilles. Or you could say I’m lucky that this has been my challenge, and not something more difficult. I like that perspective best.