The first steps were a reminder: lightheadedness; creaky knees; abdomen discomfort.
Eventually, new, more pleasant feelings: a bead running down my temples; the wind flowing past my ears.
Those firsts few strides were a dose of reality. My body resisted. I hardly moved. Yeah, this was my first run in a month.
For the past week, I’ve been having thoughts about how I might feel on my fist run since having my appendix removed on April 15 – 31 long running-less days ago. Would I be reduced to a shuffle? (Not quite, but close). Would walk breaks be necessary? (Happily, no). Will I be sore the next day? (I’ll get back to you).
I even received an email from active.com titled “How quickly do you lose fitness.” I haven’t opened it yet; I wanted to find out myself.
I figured I might need to walk the 10 minutes it takes to reach the rail trail that borders my neighborhood, but once I got to the street in front of my house, it felt natural to just start trotting. I left my watch and normal running clothes at home. No need for them. I just wanted to run, plain and simple.
It was refreshing to run on the trail again. Sure, it’s just flat cement, but after being buried under months of snow and ice, the Nashua River Rail Trail is showing signs of life again. Leaves on the trees, tall grass, wild flowers everywhere. It was sensory satisfaction. Even the bugs buzzing my head weren’t annoying.
The last time I ran (tried anyway), it was “No way, Tim-May.” That was the day before surgery.
When I was running over the winter, putting in high-mileage weeks in preparation for what was supposed to be my fifth Boston Marathon, I tried not to take for granted how good it felt.
But I did.
I took for granted how many towns I could trot through in 90 minutes. From Ayer (where I live) to Groton to West Groton to Shirley to Devens. And if there were errands to run – the bank, the library, the post office, the deli for “half a pound of American please” – I literally ran them. The past month, however, has been about recovery. About not overdoing it. About getting back to normal.
Normal, to me, includes running. And today was about getting back to normal. A normal routine, anyway.
So yeah, I was slow. But I didn’t want to cut it short when it started to drizzle. And when I got off the trail onto a road in Groton, I didn’t slow to a walk like I thought I might. My incision felt tender, but not painful. I doubt I’ll feel sore. Didn’t go fast enough. But I was out for about 45 minutes (okay, I checked the clock on the stove upon departure/arrival).
It was a start. A re-start. Don’t know when I’ll run again, but the “first” one is out of the way.
Won’t be long before it’s nap time. Normal is still a few weeks away.