I haven't had anything I'd call a "good" run since, oh, early November. Last Saturday I ran fast-ish, but I was still in quite a bit of pain. If you've been reading along here, you know that the underlying theme has been simple: survival. I set out today for 20 miles with pretty much the same mindset. Just get through it. Help is on the way if you can just survive.
It was me, Tim, Bill, and Kathy. The weather was very nice. Shorts and a t-shirt for me. Started with gloves and arm warmers, but quickly peeled them. The run started out pretty much as usual, with a slight amount of pain on the right, sort of up under my ribs. It usually gets worse around 12 miles, and by 16 I'm usually in really bad shape. With each mile beeping off on my Garmin, I always am waiting for the pain to kick in to its very high level.
Except--it never did. It was there the whole time, for sure, but it never got worse. I can say that I actually enjoyed every step of this run. I could engage in conversation freely. I felt great. I wanted to run hard. I wanted to go 22 miles instead of 20 (hubby coach nixed that, though, and he's probably right).
I did occasionally press on my sides and my lower ribs, but I wasn't gripping them in agony. I was able to push it up the hills a bit (something that I've not done in a long time since the extra effort usually magnifies the pain). I didn't even mind the hills. I loved them.
I was needing a run like this. A person can only take so much before he or she begins to genuinely lose hope. I have to admit that I was. I was reaching a low point with all of this. And then came today's 20. Today I was convinced that, even though I am not totally better, it is still possible for me to run the way I used to. That is huge. HUGE. I chatted with Kathy about running races that I've run before, races I've won before, and could genuinely picture myself racing them again. I haven't raced since August of 2009. With all this going on, I haven't even allowed myself to think about racing. Now, I'm hungry for it again.
Now, as I acknowledged above, I'm not cured yet. And I may have a horrendous run on Tuesday. But today was enough to keep the flame inside me going a little longer. I absolutely, unabashedly, and, to use a Bedford saying, T-totally love to run. It's a big part of who I am. And I'm glad I'm still fighting for it.
So, what caused the improvement? The cortisone kicked in? The trails yesterday? Dr. Russell? Just a fluke? I don't know. And, for now, I'm not even going to think about it. I'll worry about that tomorrow. Right now I just want to feel good.
Dr. Russell and an MRI tomorrow.