Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Farewell Run That Wasn't

So, I have to apologize and thank 12 of you at the same time. Yesterday, I ran. I ran about 3.35 miles. I don't know the exact distance, or the exact time, since me being convinced I would never run again meant I neglected to charge my Garmin. So after 2 1/2 miles, it said a weak "so long" and shut off.
I ran because of all of you who commented on my pity-party-post. It had been 30 days since I attempted to run. My what were supposed to be final good-byes were said in my blog. I read and reread each and every one of your comments. Amazing how after months of not blogging, the 12 of you responded with kind words and words of encouragement. I also realized I wasn't the only one going through tough times with running and blogging. Most of you were in or still are in a similar situation. Yet you still write your blogs... Yet you still took the time to tell me everything's going to be ok, and that you care. You motivated me. You motivated me to get off of my sorry ass, and to go for a "final" farewell run on a beautiful 77 degrees day. It was 5 p.m., my son was at college and my wife was at work, so I had everything I needed-free time, a beautiful day, and the Farmington Canal Trail to run on. I put on my running shoes, drove the 2+ miles to the trail parking lot, parked, stretched, grabbed my mp3 player, turned it on, and was ready for the grand finale. I was hoping for as painless a run as possible, and assumed that I would be doing as much walking as running. Nothing that had happened lately would give me reason to believe that my knee wasn't going to give me hell. The pain was still noticeable, granted, not always, and walking up and down stairs, or even just walking at times, meant the sharp pain would appear on the inside part of my left knee. THE left knee that has caused me to go to two different P.T.'s the past year. THE left knee that caused me 3 months ago to join the P.T. gym with hopes of strengthening it. For three months I have gone to that gym, seen "Sweet Melissa," my former P.T., and "Gym Dame Donna", who works there and always has kind words to say. For three months I have increased my amount of weight I use, and my amount of reps. For some reason, I never quit. I never gave up. That is, until my latest post. Frustration, aggravation, jealousy, selfishness...you name it, I was feeling it. I reached out to my blogging buddies, posted my woes, and you responded. So there I was, poised to run at the beginning of the trail. I didn't want to start, because starting meant probable pain, probable pain meant I'd have to walk, and walking meant I was through (in my mind forever) running. But start I did. Slowly, to ease into running. I purposely chose songs that many of you suggested I download prior to running the NY City Marathon last November. You were and are still my motivators. As I reached my first goal, the small .31 mi. sign, I did a reality check. I was running at a 9 1/2 minute pace, slow for me, but so what?! I was running, and I was running well. I was running without pain, but I quickly pushed the thought out of my mind. I instead concentrated on my music, and my surroundings. Great music, with each song reminding me of you. Great scenery, with the trees in bloom, and a couple of pony-tailed runners passing me by on the opposite side. If you read my blog, you know I ♥ pony-tailed runners! I ran by elderly people walking hand-in-hand; by mothers pushing their children in strollers. Yes, it was a perfect time for a "last" run. As I neared the one mile mark, I still was pain free. Mile one was around 9 1/2 minutes, but to me it felt like I had only been running for 7 1/2 minutes. Nothing hurt, my breathing was good, my strides were good, and my form was good. I could see far away, down to the next street crossing, around the 1 1/2 mile mark. I decided to go for 3.25 miles, which is the distance of the Warrior Dash I'm competing in on 9/19. I figured I'd have a psychological edge if I could run that far before the "Dash." I continued on, grooving to the music, and just enjoying what was happening. As I crossed the street, I reached the halfway point of my run, and turned and headed back. I was grinning from ear to ear, and looked around, saw no one nearby, so I started singing out loud. I don't recall what I sang, nor does it matter. I was running...I was running without pain. I was enjoying the privilege of running, and I was going to make sure I enjoyed every step of it. Around the 2 1/2 mile point, as I said earlier, my Garmin stopped working. It really didn't matter. Time is only a number. A number that really doesn't matter. I'm so done worrying about my time. Yes, I charged my Garmin. Yes, I'll continue to time my runs. No, I won't worry about how "fast" or how "slow" I've run. I've also learned that it's ok not to be as fast as most of you; or that being faster than the rest of you isn't a big deal. We're all runners. We have that common bond. A bond that I never want to lose, no matter what. So in closing I'd like to once again say "Thank-you." To those of you unable to run right now, hang in there. Things WILL get better. I'm here for you, and so are all of your Followers. So, if you need to vent/whine/complain/yell/scream/say it isn't fair, please do. We care....we're here for you. As I've said before, I love all of you. Rick

15 comments:

Meg said...

Wow, what can I say? You just ROCK Rick, as a runner but more importantly, as a person. We all have a lot to learn from you. Thanks for this post, I'm smiling ear to ear. I thought those texts were the bomb...until I read this post. Keep having fun!

ajh said...

Great job! How wonderful that you had a good run! Sounds like a good place to run too!

misszippy said...

Things sound like they are looking up! What a great attitude you have--keep on plugging away!

Iron Mike said...

You are a wise man, Rick.
And lucky.
What a glorious "last" run!

For your sake, I hope your next "last" run is just as therapeutic.

Reminds me of a Ben Folds song: "Steven's Last Night in Town" where every night is the "last" night, goes out with a bang. Until the next night when he does it all again.

You've clearly grown in these last few days. Running as you've shown is just Running. Not time, speed, frequency, etc. Running is whatever you need it to be for YOU.
Glad you've found it.

RunKathyRun said...

Rock on dude; congrats on the run!

NY Wolve said...

Great to be back out there, isn't it! I missed the farewell post, but good to be back at it. It never ends, does it?

Staci Dombroski said...

So glad to see that you are back and you had a good run :)

Whitney said...

Oh YAY!!! I love this post!!

Rachael said...

I'm not suprised Rachael died on you. Because this Rachael here is practically dead too. I'm currently still investigating this tender heel pain that is keeping me from running. I'm glad you had a great run though, sorta warms my cold bitter heart :)

lindsay said...

way to go rick! i hope that wasn't REALLY your last run... i may have to break out the RANDOM CAPS and RAINBOW colored font on you ;) and YES i will email you DAILY like that.

uhhhh, for the record my tongue's been dragging on the ground when i run a 9:40 pace so your 9:30s sound great to me, especially after some time off.

Amy said...

This is a very nice post, so informative and interesting. Thanks for sharing such a great post.

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Cynthia O'H said...

Good for you for getting back out there. My friend that I told you about raced with me on Monday - his first run since the beginning of July. He literally ran with me because he knew that if he pushed, he'd likely end up on the table again. He ran strong, and he is delighted. He has learned to run with his head and his heart; the rest of his body will follow when the time is right. As with everything else, you've got to use your head to get ahead.

Julie said...

Hi Rick,
I am so sorry for missing your last post! I have been MIA to bloggy world for a few days:(

Congrats on having a wonderful run:) I love it when that happens...just stay positive, keep smiling and rock on!

Have a fantastic weekend! BTW...I have missed you!

SteveQ said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. Looks like we're both dealing with nagging injuries. You also reminded me that I missed my meeting at the Autism Society of Minnesota (oops!)

Stephanie said...

I think all runners need to read this post! Hope you enjoyed the Warrior Dash!