Sunday, October 30, 2011

Breaking Free

Happy Halloween! And even better, when I think about trick-or-treating…all that walking on pavement, through uneven grass, and in our case snow (yes, snow already…) it doesn’t make me cringe. In fact, I seem to have had some sort of breakthrough that coincided with the week my physical therapist went out of town. I think he needs to go away more often. :)

Anyway, last week it felt so good that I ventured out of my shuffling pace and even ran a 10-minute mile (6 mph) on the treadmill last Wednesday (I’m trying NOT to compare myself to the 7-8 minute pace I had before…it just depresses me). My therapist mentioned starting to run again, a couple minutes at a time—whence I (somewhat sheepishly) told him about doing “some” running on the treadmill, “not very fast.” Well, it wasn’t that fast….

Anyway, I now officially have permission. This past Wednesday I did another 10 minutes at 6 mph. And then on Friday the stationary bike crapped out on me, so down to the basement and the treadmill! After a bit of warm up I ran TWO miles at 6 mph and then slowed it down to 5.5 for another 10 minutes. It only took me about 35 minutes to go just over three miles. Who care about the time? I haven’t even gone three miles for months now!

I’m contemplating braving the great outdoors this afternoon. There are rules, of course. I can’t go as far. No concrete, but asphalt is okay. A track is better, but we’re trying to be practical here and sometimes that just isn’t possible. I’ll admit I’m a little afraid to try. But I got the impression that my therapist wanted me to do the treadmill and outside. Plus, I don’t want to be stuck on a treadmill the rest of my life. Talk about boring!

I’ve always thought that about 90% of running is mental. It’s not hard to run long distances. What’s hard is thinking you can do it and making yourself keep putting one foot in front of the other. And I think to a certain extent this injury has been a mental challenge for me, too. I’ve been paranoid about my feet ever since I started physical therapy. Thinking about them all the time made them hurt all by itself. If I ran a bit because I was late, I’d be waiting for the pain to get worse…and it would. But now that I’ve successfully put in a few miles without dire consequences, I’m losing some of the fear. I’m realizing that this isn’t going to last forever. And it’s great to finally remember how it feels to walk pain-free!
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