It’s been 3 months now since my last run. My foot feels like it’s on the mend, but the tenosynovitis is really persistent. Some days it feels almost normal, but other days I question how I ever ran with this injury. The physical therapist is encouraging me to try it out a little, or at least get on the elliptical, but I don’t want to. At this point, I have no specific running races planned so there is no point in trying to train through pain. All I really care about is the problem going away. Completely.
I’ve been injured so long that it no longer feels strange to not be running. I never thought that I’d be able to go so many months without doing my favorite activity and still feel as good as I do. That said, I certainly have not been sitting still — I don’t think I am capable of it. To keep my mind and body occupied, I’ve found plenty of surrogate activities. I’m working hard at school, perhaps harder than ever, but with much more focused goals. I am excited about my results and eager to set foot in the lab each day. But cells and viruses take time to grow, and sometimes lab moves too slowly for me. A life without speed is, well, boring.
To satisfy my craving for endorphins, I trained like crazy on the elliptical (read my “Machine Woman” post if you want to know more). But a few weeks back I gave this up because I thought it might be aggravating my foot. Moreover, setting world records (a 4:26 mile, sub-28:00 minute 10K) started to seem a little silly, as no one else in the world was really trying for them but me. So I decided that I was going to do nothing but bike.
I love it. On my road bike, I’ve coasted through wine country and looked down at Santa Cruz Island from the top of La Cumbre peak. I’ve explored roads that I never knew existed. I’ve cruised by the waterfront downtown at 23-24 mph and down some hills at more than 35. In addition to these thrills, I feel like I’m actually becoming pretty good at the sport, too. I’ve been doing workouts on the exercise bike at the Rec Cen, and have gotten to where I can do 10 miles in under 25 minutes. I have no idea if I could do this on my real bike, but as I get better at my workouts on the exercise bike, my times for climbing Old San Marcos (“OSM”) seem to be improving, too. A few months ago I could barely do it in 21 minutes; recently I did it in 18:56!
I am thinking about doing some semi-competitive cycling events — that is, if I can get over my ridiculous fear of “hard core” cyclists riding $5000 bikes and decked out in all the right gear. There is a 10-mile time trial put on by Echelon that happens the second Monday of every month during day light savings. The next one is this coming Monday. I just might give it a try. More excitingly, Carl (who is also injured with an Achilles problem) and I are signed up for the “Heartbreak 100,” a century ride with over 8000 feet of vertical that starts and ends in Lebec, CA.
So, unfortunately, my respite from running has been longer than I ever would have thought, but I feel that being forced not to run has made me a much stronger person in so many ways. Running will always be my first true love, but for the time being I think I will try myself at cycling.