I could have just cried.
Actually, I think I did a little. And it’s all because of this seed pod.
Running has become one of my favorite things to do. I love the wind, the sweat, the sound of my feet hitting the pavement. I love being outside and enjoying the fresh air, no matter the temperature. I’ve managed to maintain a running distance of 10-15 miles a week. I’ve successfully ran a 5K, a 10K, and a half-marathon. I’ve noticed pounds fall off and then watched my weight plateau as I build muscle. I fought my weak-from-lack-of-exercise lungs that refused to let me run longer than a few minutes of a time and built them up into powerhouses that allowed me to endure more than 2 hours of constant heavy breathing. I’ve learned to be proud of myself, setting and meeting physical goals I never thought I could.
But it had been nearly 3 weeks since my last run. The very day my mom came down for a visit (which would have normally given me the rare opportunity for daily runs sans stroller) I came down with a head cold. Anytime I’m sick with anything it seems to go straight to my lungs, making breathing more laborious. Walking downstairs or kicking the ball with my daughters for a few minutes is enough to force me to sit and catch my breath for a while.
It’s extremely frustrating, because I’ve learned that if I don’t baby my lungs a little and rest as much as possible it will inevitably result in a 3-day cold lasting 3 months. Basically, I can’t run until those simple activities no longer make me lose my breath. And then, I have to start all over again – a mile here, a mile there – until I can build up my lung strength to handle the longer distances I’d worked so hard to achieve before.
There’s a mental aspect to it too. Do I really want to go out? What if I can’t go as far as I used to? Do I want to start all over? Every day that I cannot run it’s a constant battle to stay motivated to go once I’m better… to convince myself how much I miss it… how much I need it… how everyone has setbacks… how many people overcome their setbacks.
Because of that silly head cold, I hadn’t run in nearly 3 weeks. And I was scared. Scared I’d be slower, tire more quickly, give up. But I sucked it up, convinced Julia that we should head out, and laced up my sneaks. And it was great, at least until about halfway through my run when I stepped on a seed pod. My right ankle completely twisted over until it was lying flat on the pavement, causing me to stumble quite a bit. Pain shot throughout my foot, and I had a pretty hard time getting myself upright.
I was about a mile away from home, and planned to walk back but I ended up running a bit due to the massive rain cloud that appeared over my head out of nowhere. Julia had had a fever the week before and I didn’t want her to get rained on, so Mommy instincts won out over potential pain. For some reason my ankle hurt much less when I ran than when I walked, so it wasn’t so bad.
I iced my ankle for a while, and tried to stay off of it as much as possible. I didn’t think there was any major injury, but I definitely thought I should wait a few days before trying to run again. Gotta love the egg-sized lump on my right foot – I think there’s an ankle bone somewhere in there. Grrrrrrr…. I was just so bummed that I’d finally beaten the illness and the mental hurdles only for this to happen. I guess the positive thing here is that before each of my running events (especially the half) I was terrified that something like this would happen – better that it did now than before an event I paid money for!
In the words of the great Annie Lennox – yes, I know she didn’t write it, but it’s my favorite version:
Don’t let it bring you down
It’s only castles burning
Find someone who’s turning
And you will come around
Here’s hoping I can hit the pavement again soon!