Against Doctor's Orders - I Ran
This week I went against doctor's orders.
For the past year and a half I have lamented my loss of running. I have mourned and thought I had come to accept the loss.
What the Doctors Said
Every doctor has advised me against running and I have heeded their advice. But every morning for the past year and a half, after a painful night's sleep I have woken in pain. Unable to bend to put on my pants, unable to to spit into the sink while I brush my teeth because I can't bend that far and shuffling around in pain until my back finally loosens its grip hours into my day.
During my sabbatical from running I have beat myself up for the miles I put in over the years. I have thought about what I would change if I could go back. If I could go back I would stop the marathons after my Ironman. I would go to running 3 miles at a time every few days just so I could feel my feet on the pavement and be able to continue running for years to come. I would have been smarter.
A New Idea
But this week I woke up with an idea. An idea that might be smart and might be taking me back to my old ways. I woke up with the idea that maybe, since not running has not worked, maybe, just maybe, trying running again would. But only if I was smart about it.
The plan was to take it one step at a time, see what my body would allow and go from there. So I decided to try a mile. Just one mile and see how it felt, not just during the run but in the days after the run.
So I did. On Thursday night I went for a 1 mile run. Oh the joy. Maybe that sounds sarcastic. Maybe it sounds over enthusiastic. But It's neither. Even standing in the driveway, resetting my Garmin brought excitement I haven't felt in years.
But it also brought fear. Fear of what might happen. What if this little run made it worse? What if I couldn't even run a mile?
Remember though that I picked a word to live by this year and it fearless. So I let go of the fear and I ran a mile. I was aware of every twinge in my back it didn't hurt. I paid attention to my posture, to my stride and to every time my foot hit the ground. And it didn't hurt. I made it the full mile and was happier than I have been in a long time.
The Day After
The best news is that the day after, I got out of bed for the first time in a year and a half and I put on my pants, brushed my teeth and went about my morning with hardly any pain. I don't know why but I have a theory. I think it is like a sprained ankle. They used to say Rest Ice Compress Elevate but in the past few years they changes the rest to movement. I believe my back needed something more than sitting on a bike seat. It needed to move some.
So what's next? Another mile and rest in between. Monitor how I am feeling. Document it. And decide on the next step. What I do know is I will not go above 3 miles again. I will run a mile until I feel like adding another one will be okay and I will run two until I feel comfortable getting to three. I see 9 mile weeks in my future but not for months. I want to know that I am being smarter. I want to know I am being safe.
Yes, I am going against doctor's orders but I know my body. I trust my gut and right now that's the best I can do.