Five Years Later, It's Good To Be Back
Five years ago I finished my last competitive race, the 2002 Hood-To-Coast relay. It was the third time I had participated in the relay, after running nearly 200 competitive races since I started running competitively back in high school (all my high school results can be found here). Little did I know that when I handed off the bracelet/baton of my last relay leg, it would be the last time I'd run until today.
After running that Hood to Coast, I started having a little bit of pain in my left leg. I chalked it up to just a stressed hamstring and just rested it for a few months after the relay. The problem was, the pain never went away, and I couldn't run, let along walk very well. It got to the point where I was in constant pain pretty much every day, getting so bad that one morning I woke up and couldn't walk. It was a long traumatic ordeal requiring surgery and a crapload of medical bills. I won't go into all the details, as I've posted them all before, so if you're interested in reading about those whole nightmare, read these in order to get an idea: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16).
Now anybody who knows me knows that I'm passionate about running. I loved the sport, loved running, loved long, dirty, brutal races, and the rush it gave me. If you're ever had a runner's high, you know the feeling I'm talking about. It was in my blood, and to not be able to do it any more cause me all sorts of grief. It was my release, my therapy, from the stress of the world, and not having it gave me no outlet, causing me to bottle it up and blow up at people who didn't deserve it.
After the surgery, my doctor assured me that I'd be able to run again, and I assured her I would. The problem is that I was scared. Scared I might hurt myself again, scared about the horrible shape I would be in, scared that I would've lost my love for it. My doctor had long since given me clearance to run, assuming I still do my back exercises, but it was that fear that kept me from doing it. I didn't know if I would've enjoyed it like I used to.
Last May for my birthday, my parents, knowing my passion for the sport, said they'd pay for new running shoes for me. I'd been putting off buying them because of that fear. But two weeks ago I finally bought some, and with my parents giving us their old treadmill (barely used by them), there were no excuses. So turned the thing on, walked for five minutes on it, jogged at an eight-minute mile pace for 10 minutes, and then walked for five minutes.
And it felt great.
And I'll be doing it again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day. My goal is to run a 10K race (or longer) sometime in 2008, and you have to start somewhere. And for me, somewhere is today.
It's good to be back.