My run today wasn’t much to look at: cold and rainy, with plenty of puddles and clouds. Not even many others out braving the weather to get in a run, walk, or ride. But I’ve been waiting for this view (or something like it) for over two months. For me, today, it was some of the best scenery I’ve ever experienced.
That’s how long it’s been since I’ve been able to escape running the same flat loops around the park (either the active oval or on rare occasion a loop around the lake), or around a 400 meter track when out of town. My achilles started getting cranky in early November, and by the mid-November it refused to be ignored.
Fortunately, I was able to train through it, though with limitations (in particular no hills and preferably on soft surfaces), plenty of cross training, pool-running, icing, rolling, stretching, and weekly Graston treatments. Still, with less than three months until Boston Marathon, I’ve been getting nervous, and almost as cranky as my achilles.
After a hard week last week, but a good run last Sunday, I changed direction on my treatment this week (from Graston to shock-wave-therapy) and was given clearance from my training team to try out the moderate incline of Atlanta’s Eastside Beltline trail.
I started out easy – warming up on the relative flat terrain in the park, before hitting the Beltline trail. The first half was uphill – it was clear I’m out of shape for even slight hills, but it still felt great: no pain, just the fun of putting in a good effort. The reward was in the second half when I could stretch out and pick up the pace for the downhill and flat. I didn’t care at all about the wind and rain hitting my face, just about the joy of running strong and without pain.
It’s amazing, too, how it changed my perspective. With one run I remembered that I’m strong, that I can be patient and disciplined and then enjoy the payoff, and that I really, really love running. This one run was more than worth the wait.