Born to Run
“The problem with aging,” my doctor said, “is you never know you are over the hill until you arrive.”
Then he added insult to injury.
These words of wisdom came from the orthopedist who performed my shoulder surgery a few years ago. Now my knee hurts. No big deal. I run a lot and ramped up my mileage and intensity earlier this year in my continuing effort to look and feel younger than my actual age.
That uptick in activity, however, has not been well tolerated by my aching joints. Having run down this road before, I assumed I was looking at a recommendation of rest and medication. Maybe get a shot or have fluid drained. That sort of thing.
Not this time.
“Take two months off and then begin low-impact exercises like swimming and biking,” the doctor ordered.
“So, no half-marathons or other distance races for a few months?” I asked.
“No running,” was his terse reply.
“You mean no running until I heal up completely?”
I’m just guessing, but it sounded like “no running” means “NO RUNNING.”
My mother says I never learned to walk. I only learned to run. Well, more like run a few steps and fall. That became a pattern.
I ran from my older cousins. I ran on the football and baseball fields. I ran most of all on the track. Running is the metaphor of my life. Baby, I was born to run!
Now my running days are over. Either that or I may have to change doctors.
The good news is I don’t have to have surgery. That was the doctor’s original prognosis. The MRI indicated differently. That probably means the doctor could be wrong in his prescription also, right?
One of my favorite movies of all time is Chariots of Fire. One of my favorite movie lines of all time is Eric Liddell’s declaration, “But when I run, I feel His pleasure!”
Agreed indeed. His and mine.
Is there anything more luxurious than a long run with nowhere in particular to go and no time limit to stay within? Is there anything which clears the mind like miles and miles of breathing in, breathing out, and prayerful contemplation of God, nature, and relationships?
My running partners are not going to know how to handle this turn of events. Ollie the Border Collie and Millie the Mixed Breed Pup love to run at least as much as I do, and the faster, the better. Run until their feet bleed? Yes, please. They love lying on the cold stone floor when we return home. Life is complete when we get to run and recover together.
I enjoy the Specialized racing bike our son gave me a few years ago. I love the sound of the wind whistling through my helmet. Long rides are soothing. They give Katie and me new adventures and time together. So did running.
It was on a few of our runs when Katie learned to watch for snakes on the trail. The experience of jumping over cottonmouths and copperheads is not the same on a bike.
I like swimming. I was actually getting pretty good at it and increasing my distance and stamina before I had the aforementioned shoulder surgery. It’s hard to talk to swimming partners without swallowing non-potable water. People’s feet have mixed with the heavy chlorine along with other things.
Running allows you to carry refreshments. We have Camelbak reservoirs for long runs and Gu Energy Gels for the really long runs. I’m going to miss that sloshing sound and that sticky packet.
“What about walking? We like taking long walks when we cannot run,” I asked the doc.
“Your outer limit is three miles,” Dr. Encouragement said.
“Sigh,” was my reply.
I have a friend who never plans to run again unless someone is chasing him and he has hope of escaping. I really don’t want to be part of his club.
Self-leadership includes defining current reality. Current reality does not include running. I do not like this reality, and there is not a lot I can do about it. Therefore, I will bike. I will swim. And one last time, at least, I am going to run. Because when I run, I feel His pleasure.
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