November 16, 2014
Maryland was a simpler time. Maryland was the last state I ran in during the 2014 Mid-Atlantic trip and the last state before I sprained my ankle. It was the last state before I had to adopt a consciousness about running. In Maryland I walked out the door and ran with friends–no worries about reinjury or being too slow. It was a simple finale to a week of big time travels, friends, ambitions and distances. We ran along the shores of Annapolis past the coastal homes as the wind fought our bodies. I remember my friend Rebecca firmly and kindly stating that we “wait for each other” when I paused to correct my Garmin watch. Beyond that, the run itself was not impactful.
What is impactful is that running may never be that easy again. Since I couldn’t run for almost a month I took up swimming and recumbent biking and surprised myself because I came to actually enjoy both. As much of a pain it is to drive, suit up, and pre-shower to swim, there is something simple and soothing about following that blue line to the end of the pool. No music. No stoplights. No possibility of pain. I couldn’t hurt myself swimming, which will never be true of running again. I like how hungry I feel after a swim. I like how no parts of my body are sore. I like showering and still smelling a little bit like Chlorine the next day.
Riding a stationary bike is even easier than swimming and, in my case, requires even less prep than running. I can walk three doors down the hallway of my apartment building to a fitness room where I am met with a choice of two stationary bikes, two elliptical machines, two treadmills, three weight machines, free weights and an assortment of celebrity magazines. I’ve mostly stuck to the recumbent bike and US Weekly, the two simplest options. While the calories burn is far less than running, I can’t get over the fact that I can still burn calories while sitting down reading about the Kardashians. It feels like cheating. But it’s not cheating. It’s still movement, work and effort, just a different type.
Running may never be what it was and that’s ok. There are so many ways to stay in shape and feel whole without risking pain. There is beauty in this change and transition. Let go of what was to let in what will be.