“Man is rated the highest animal, at least among all the animals that returned the questionnaire.” – Robert Brault
A follower woke me up recently. Runner500 asked how my personal running was going. I looked back and was stunned I hadn’t written about my own running in six weeks. And this is supposed to be running blog? Those who follow me know they are as likely to read about art, cycling, hiking and writing as they are about running, though running and health the foundation of everything I do. So thanks for getting me back on track, Runner500, and here’s my running update.
To make a long story short, I sustained the worst injury I’d suffered in more than five years back in December. A slip on the ice (while running, of course) caused inflammation of the bone marrow in my hip. Every time I tried to come back, I’d get a sharp pain in my hip when my foot struck the ground. I was out of commission for nearly four months. Weird injury!
Three previous knee surgeries hadn’t been as painful or as frustrating as rehabbing the hip injury. In fact, I rehabbed my knee after surgery and qualified for the Boston Marathon the same year in 2004. Weeks before the injury, I finished my fastest marathon in ten years, and then registered for my first ultra-marathon on January 4th. I had to bail out because of my hip. An optimist by nature, I was getting freaked that my running days might be over.
Finally in mid-April I was able to tolerate a slow two-mile run, and by the end of the month I stretched it to five miles on the trails of the Wissahickon in Philly. I trained on hills three times a week and by the end of May I completed an excruciating seven hilly miles. Last week I upped the mileage to nine strong miles. Yesterday I got a little crazy and ran fourteen, on the hills. It was slow and I had to cheat the last three miles, nevertheless I finished fourteen. So I guess you could say I’m back.
The lesson from all of this is that the body doesn’t heal at sixty the way it did at thirty, or even fifty for that matter. The thing that helped me most rehabbing an injury? Yoga, cycling (non-impact cardio,) soft surface (trails,) and my mantra “make the hills your friend.”
I just found an ultra-marathon in November. Maybe I won’t have to scrap that 2014 ultra after all.