It never occurred to me to keep a running blog until it occurred to me I may not be able to run again. I’ve run for most of my life, with ups and downs, success and failure, but never thought it worth writing about before. This is kind of a strange time to start a running blog: I’ve spent the last 6 weeks on crutches and haven’t run for over 4 months. I’m older than ever before (I know this is true for everyone, but it seems worth noting). I’m in worse shape than ever before. I’m heavy and damaged and can barely walk, much less run. Yesterday my doctor said I may be able to run in a few months, maybe more, maybe less, maybe never. I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around that “maybe never.” What will I do if I can’t run?
My plan for these next few months is to strengthen my leg (I had knee surgery—more details on that later), swim a lot of laps, ride my bike, lift weights, et cetera. I’ve done all these things over the years, but always in the context of my running—to take a day off of running, to balance my body for running, to help improve my running. That’s what I’ll be doing again, but now I don’t know if I can run again. And I guess when I say run, I mean run, at an all-out effort, the kind where nothing else can come into my mind–the final stretch of a hard race, the final straight of a track workout, the last long hill of the day. When I say I want to run I mean I want to reach the feeling of completely giving myself up to the run, the feeling of being completely spent afterwards. I want to stop and look back over the stretch of ground I just covered and think, what just happened?
So if I do have a goal—I guess that’s it. If I reach that point, I’ll have other goals–workout goals, race goals, but that’s it for now, and it’s ambitious enough. To get there is going to require a lot of work, a lot of running. To be in shape for that kind of effort requires not only a fit body but a fit mind, a harmony between body and mind that comes only out of sustained training, focus, concentration, effort. That is, I need to get in really good running shape to exhaust myself the way I want to.
Does the world need another running blog? Probably not. Do I need to write this running blog? Apparently so. I’m going to use it to keep track of my progress and keep myself from losing focus or giving up if it gets tough, which is seems likely to do. If I can’t run again, at least I’ll have a record of myself trying to, so I’ll know I didn’t just surrender, that I did what I could. And if I can run again? If I can? Well, I guess we’ll wait and see….