Sunday, June 12, 2011

The First Mile

I've been waiting for this day for a long time...funny thing is that I didn't expect it so soon.  OK, it's been 8 months and 9 days, but my progress did not indicate that I was ready to run.  Sure, I've been cheating and squeezing in a little shuffling on my hikes.  I've been testing myself with 1/2 mile runs each week, and religiously doing my physical therapy.  My walking has improved considerably, and I no longer think about every step I take...

Before the accident, I could run like a gazelle.  Running was part of my life since I started running track in 7th grade.  I've been a long distance runner for 35 years.  The past few years I started wondering what life would be like if a day came when I couldn't run.  So many friends have lost the gift of running through injury, and I often stated to anyone who would listen that I could not live without running.   I couldn't imagine it!   I loved climbing, skiing, cycling, hiking, and other adventure sports, but running was the life blood in my veins.  I savored hill repeats like a kid eyeing a hot fudge sundae.  After a good workout, I felt like I was in a zen-like state.  A good yoga workout could not even compete.  So much of my mental, emotional, and physical being revolved around running that I couldn't imagine it not being there for me.  I've run in nearly every country or state I have visited, run 100 miles at a time...running pulled me through divorce and so many other challenges in life.   We were best friends: running and me.  Running was my faithful when that day came over 8.5 months ago...the day I fell 100 feet to the ground...the only thing I could think about was "Please fix my leg so I can run again!"

The Doc said I could start physical therapy 6 weeks later.........6 long months later I was finally starting physical therapy.  The rehab has been a nightmare at times, but it's also been a blessing in many ways.  Having time off from training gave me time to enjoy other things in life.  It's given me more time with family and friends, and helped me focus on the really important things in life.   Life is good...

Nevertheless, something has been missing.

Yesterday, I went to the gym and did a 20 minute warm-up on the bike, but before starting my therapy, I walked over to the treadmill.  I knew I probably should not run, but the pull was irresistible.  I wanted to try to do a half mile at 12 minute/mile pace.  I figured I needed to be able to run 12 minute miles by August 1st if I wanted to run with my Reach the Beach team in September.  Many people think this is a crazy goal, so I just tell them it helps keep me focused on getting better.  Secretly, I have a plan.

Today, I started off at nearly a 12 minute pace from the start.  My stride was a bit gimpy, but felt better than previous attempts.  I gradually sped up the pace, and was through the 1/2 mile mark right around 6 minutes.  Wow!  Funny thing was that I still felt OK.  I decided to try for another 1/4 mile, but I secretly wanted to go for the full mile.  I envisioned the celebration we would have if I covered a mile in under 12 minutes.  I picked up the pace, and was running the last quarter in at sub-11min/mile pace....blazing speed for this one-legged wonderboy!  I had to focus on every step to make sure I didn't slip and fall.  Tears started streaming down my face as I approached the finish.  I wondered what my time would be, and watched each second tick off.  There is was...finally....I ran my first mile in 11min, 34 seconds.  How sweet it is....11:34!  I was so excited I could hardly contain myself!   I stepped off the treadmill and looked one other than me realized the significance of what just transpired.  I wandered over to do my physical therapy work and wondered what would be next....

When will I run my first 5K?
When can I start training regularly?
When can I run with Charlotte?  Goat?  All of my friends and family?
Trail racing?  Marathon?  Ultra?  100 miler?

Who knows where this is going...

Maliyah saw me try to chase her ball down the driveway Friday night and she laughed uncontrollably.  It was the first time she saw her Grandpa run, and I'm sure it looked pretty funny.  I had to smile just thinking about what it must have looked like to her.  Glad she got a good chuckle!  When she was born, I promised I would be ready to run a marathon with her when the time came, and I'd like to keep that promise.

I don't know what the future holds...don't know if I'll be racing anytime soon...don't know much about anything....but I do know this....


I am so very thankful!

Have a great week everyone!



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