About a year ago my boss twisted his ankle pretty badly playing basketball. He was on crutches for a while, and then for months was unable to do any physical activity that stressed his ankle.
BossMan is one of the fittest software developers I know, regularly lifting weights and doing various cardio exercises. He was never an enthusiastic runner, but he regularly scheduled running into his weekly workout regimen. However, once he became physically unable to run, suddenly he pined for it. I'd get periodic laments over IM from him about how he feared he'd his ankle would never fully heal. He'd moan and whine about how he really really WANTED to go running.
Sure enough, once his ankle healed, he approached running with a vengeance. Although he had never run further than a few miles at a time, he set a goal of running a half marathon, and trained for months through long spells of 100+ degree temperature. His commitment, forged in the pain of his ankle injury, carried him through to the finish line of the half marathon later that year.
I thought of BossMan often the last couple weeks while I recovered from my Achilles injury. I looked forward to the attitude shift I'd undergo, magically transforming running from a painful chore I do robotically three times a week into an exuberant expression of ability, fitness, and achievement.
Each day over the last couple weeks, I'd take mental stock of my attitude, looking deep within my shallow psyche for the first glimmers of enthusiasm. At first my excitement level hovered at its usual zero-like level. However, after a few days, I did notice a change. The longer I went without running, the more antsy.... no, that's not the word I'm looking for.... anxious? No, that's not quite it either.
Oh! Happy. That's the word. The longer I went without running, the happier I became. Suddenly, my lunch hours were free to go out to lunch, pick at my zit, or whatever the hell I wanted, and I surely did NOT want to go running. Running, you see, Su-uh-ucks.
Over the last few days, however, my ankle has been feeling much better. In fact, it felt about 100% better this morning. Apparently my too-short running vacation had come to an end.
So, despite the fact that it was the first rainy day in weeks, I strapped on my running shoes at lunch, and gingerly launched out on a run. I was hoping it would feel glorious and invigorating, and to be perfectly honest, the first 1/4 mile wasn't bad. Of course that first 1/4 mile is also downhill. Right after that, when the uphill started, running began to feel like its usual exhausting self. :(
It wasn't all bad news. After I had run about a mile, my achilles started to hurt again. It was very subtle at first, so I ran a bit further, but soon I chose to stop and walk home rather than injure myself further. Apparently my injury had not completely healed. Hurray! More running vacation!
Walking home in the rain did suck though. Although I was thankful that I had worn my warmest running shirt, which is a small and super-stretchy bright red long-sleeved baby made out of some technical fabric, it's not a good shirt for me. It's the type of shirt that athletic people wear and it makes them look like Superman. On me, it just boldly illustrates my complete lack of muscle tone, except for the occasional lumpy bit.
Rather than looking like a superhero, I resemble a understuffed sausage with some unappealing gristly parts in it. It ain't pretty. For obvious reasons, I rarely wear the pants version of this shirt.
But, tomorrow begins Running Vacation Part II. Hazzah!