So I finally got in to see a sports doctor after no running for a month. Thank goodness for karate and other workouts, or I may have gone postal.
Joe, the chiropractor I saw, told me to start running again, but cautiously. He wanted me to stay on dirt, then to run each day of Labor Day weekend, and then take Tues and Wed off. So I ran the canal by my house. Saturday morning 4 miles with Alicia and Amy, Sunday morning 3.5 miles with Amy, and Sunday night solo. I saw no reason to wake up early Monday since I wouldn't have running partners, and night running calms me down and helps ease my insomnia. But I got mighty bored with the canal. I need more changes in my routes. I don't care what the scenery is, but I don't want to run it often enough enough to remember landmarks.
It felt SO AMAZING to run again! My pace was slow, but I didn't care. I was in recovery mode. I was trying not to get my hopes up, but over the weekend I kept thinking about the Fresno marathon in two months. Could I get back on track to still race? Normally marathon training takes four months, but I did eleven miles over the course of three days with minimal pain in my Achilles.
On Wednesday, Joe said things were still looking good with my ankle, and that I should try a longer run. He said the marathon was a possibility! But I need to stay on dirt for now while I'm still in recovery. I wasn't up to getting to Woodward Park in North Fresno for a run, so I ran the canal again. But I mixed up my path on it as much as possible. And I got 7 miles in, and was able to average a decent pace!
So what did I learn from a month of not running? First, I relied way too much on running for self-validation. I need to rely on God for validation, not my earthly achievements. Second, I was caring too much about metrics: how fast and how long I could run. It's good for tracking the progress of my training to know those things, but I need to not put too much emphasis on them that I risk another injury. Third, I'm not indestructible. I was always a cautious kid, and I think I somehow figured it would keep me safe from any lifelong injury. And running seemed safe, except for the occasional near-miss of a car or bike, or collision with another runner. But I do need to take better care of myself if I want to be able to run until the day I die. Finally, running isn't my only workout option. I used to be very lazy with other types of exercise, getting easily distracted. I didn't fully master this one, but I did make great progress at staying focused and not wandering off from my workout with a sudden urge to vacuum.