It’s dark when I rise, still two weeks until Daylight Savings Time ends. Austin’s autumn cool has arrived, at least for this week. It’s refreshing to walk outside as the sun rises and not be hit with the never-quite-left humidity of the day before.
I ration my running days (although my slow pace can barely be called “running”), still not healed from almost five years of hamstring injuries, extensive rehabilitation efforts and a plethora of physical therapy, sports medicine and massage treatment modalities . Once again I start from scratch but with the lingering scar tissue and at times biting pain limiting my range of motion and distance.
This morning was a scheduled day of euphoria: tomorrow will be the antidote (massage). I visualize the trail, the other runners, the still-grey lake with kayakers and rowers breaking its stillness, the anticipation of pain at some point during the miles.
I try to convince myself I can make the pain decrease. I only need to stop running. I can focus on other things, swimming, biking, hiking, Pilates. But how does an almost life-long runner do that unless she has truly no ability to move her feet while in an upright position? I cannot give up this habit, the movement and athleticism, the connection with friends, community and family.
Once again, I pace myself, I smile, I am free. Later, the hammies will bite, the foam roller will not quite relieve the pain, the sitting at the laptop will accentuate the tight spots. Still, I continue with this routine. Running is in my soul, my body, my genetics. It brings me joy. [Town Lake Trail, Austin]