My wonderful, glorious, exhausting first run back last night almost didn’t happen. Here’s how it went down at the doctor yesterday at my one-month post-surgery checkup:
Doctor, casually, after briefly examining my wrist: I think we’ll probably put you in a cast for another two weeks.
Me: ((Weeps silently))
Doctor: So I’ll see you in two … ((notices silent, pathetic weeping)) Aww. C’mon. ((Uncomfortable silence as I continue weeping)). You’re the type of patient I want in bubble wrap. For active-duty patients like you, I really think that’s the best route.
Me: I’m not active-duty! I’m a freelance writer! I sit at a computer all day — I’m very still, really!
Doctor: But you’re probably more active than most of my active-duty patients.
Me: ((Sullen silence))
Doctor, after giving me a long, hard Look: Do you promise you’ll wear your splint 24 hours a day?
Me, nodding vigorously, possibly bouncing up and down in exam chair: I’ll be so good! Tell me what not to do, and I won’t do it! I promise! I promise!
I still don’t get to start occupational therapy until after my next appointment in a month. Also, when I asked if I could drive my manual-transmission car again, the nurse looked at me like I had asked if I could resume bench presses. But as my doctor, a runner herself, and I yapped about fall marathons yesterday afternoon as the technician made the breathable splint that would allow me to run again, I had a hard time feeling too disappointed.
The run itself later that day was glorious. I made the mistake of mentioning to my doctor that I’d planned to run an easy 30 minutes. She gave me another Look, and suggested 15 minutes might be more appropriate for the first day. Every one of those 15 minutes (okay, fine, 20 minutes) felt amazing — tiring in the best way possible, and familiar in a way that made me feel like I was coming home to myself. My quads ached on the hills, and I was more out of breath than I’d like to admit, but that was OK — I’ve been working on cultivating an attitude of acceptance of the way things are right now rather than only focusing on future goals, so I resolved not to think about pace, but instead to appreciate how good it felt to simply move. Plus, running, for any distance, at any speed, made me feel alive again.
Later that night, my wrist would feel swollen enough that I held the “Statue of Liberty” position for the entirety of LOST. But when I first walked back in the door, chilled from a brisk March wind and out of breath from the exertion, I only felt joy.
Today, I’ll take a quick spin on the stationary bike. The FIRST training program had been working well for me before my wrist surgery, so I figure there’s no reason to abandon it now. I’m actually looking forward to the bike ride, which I usually see as a necessary cross-training evil. And I’m looking forward to my run tomorrow — my first “real” run back.