I won’t bury the lede: Today, for the first time since I tore my ACL Jan. 8, I ran!
It was five minutes on the treadmill at 10-minute mile pace, but the euphoria I felt was closer to breaking the tape at the Boston Marathon. I listened to Muse’s cover of “Feeling Good” on my iPod for the whole half mile, and felt so grateful to be well enough and strong enough to run! I appreciated every footfall: each powerful heel strike, each joyous push-off.
It’s been almost 10 weeks since my ACL tear, and almost seven weeks since my ACL-reconstruction surgery. In other words, it had been a while, and ever since my doctor mentioned running around the six-week mark, I was eying today’s appointment eagerly.
After confirming that my ACL graft is “ka-thunking” properly, my doctor mentioned casually that I could run. It wasn’t 30 minutes before I was on the treadmill.
That wasn’t the only piece of good news today. I upped my single-leg-press weight to 100 pounds for my injured leg, and got cleared to do butterfly kick and to push off the wall while swimming (no more weird, middle-of-the-pool flipturns!). I also got a dismissive, “of course you can” hand wave when I asked about potentially running six-ish miles in a two-person half-marathon relay at the New Jersey Marathon in May.
I’m reminded, as I was after wrist surgery last year, of what Ernest Hemingway wrote in “The Sun Also Rises:” That a man goes broke “gradually, and then suddenly.” Though it’s been a long road back to anything resembling normalcy, every gradual baby step on that road led to one sudden, victorious run on the treadmill today.