On the Run Again

Back in the days when I could actually run semi-quickly. And LIKED it!

No, not “On the ROAD Again,” a title I use whenever I’m moving on to a new place. In this case, it’s literal: I went running yesterday morning for the first time in ages. Well, at least back to last fall, near as I can tell. But boy oh boy, can I tell today. Ouch.

Some background: I got back into the local Crossfit gym when I moved home last spring. That was a good move and while I wasn’t as strong as I’d been when I was a regular there in 2012-13, I was doing well through the winter. I also played quite a bit of hockey — some of it quite high-paced hockey — this past wintertime, which helped with the cardio. Surfing? Not so much. This is New England, after all, and swells are few and far between here (much to the detriment of my sanity, in addition to my physical health).

And then in February — on Valentine’s Day, no less…another reason to hate the fucking day — I fell while skiing in New Hampshire. That was the first time I’d skied in a few years but would I NOT charge hell’s bells into things? Of course not. My buddy, Tom McLaughlin, and I were at Waterville Valley where there had been several inches of new snow overnight. I was riding my telemark skis, as per usual, but the only boots I have nowadays are my Terminator 3’s: low, lightweight boots more for the backcountry (and it’s requisite hikes) than for hardpack at a resort. Turning in an area of flat light, I dropped a knee for balance and my trailing ski caught a patch of fluffy snow. I tumbled and while the new snow was soft, there wasn’t enough of it and I hit the underlying packed snow with my right shoulder. Hard. Tom later said that I came up a bit crooked afterward.

Over the remainder of the winter, my shoulder ached and, naturally, got worse. Did I go see a doctor? Of course not, and not only because of my usual hardheadedness. Having only the Obamacare/Romneycare-created MassHealth insurance (because I didn’t have any income), I was reluctant to see the doctors and the local practices on the plan — none of whom I’d ever heard of. And though I continued to play hockey (and surf whenever a swell graced us with its presence), the shoulder got more and more painful, which kept me out of the gym and away from non-hockey and non-surfing forms of fitness. This spring I finally went to a local physical therapist and I’m glad to say the shoulder is much better now. Still nowhere near 100 percent, and it can be really achy at times, but the sharp, stabbed-with-a-knife-like pains happen much less frequently.

But the damage has been done. A recent physical (required as I seek to resurrect my pilot’s license) was sobering. I knew I was overweight (duh) but it was made clear to me that I needed to get my act back together. And I finally started that quest with yesterday’s run.

On the plus side, I didn’t stop at all and I kept the pace below double digits. On the being-realistic side, it’s a flat run at sea level, and there’s still plenty of room for slow running while keeping a single-digit pace. I went 3.3 miles and I ran 8:43, 8:52 and 9:03 miles — hardly the eight-minute miles I used to run.

Still, I’m pleased. And I’m cautiously optimistic and hopeful about yesterday’s run being the start of a positive behavior trend. I don’t know what’s been going on of late, but my motivation and energy level has been severely lacking. In ALL facets of my life. I’ve always believed that there is never a moment when one can’t change their life, and I recently grabbed one of those photo-with-quotes memes off the internet that I quite like. It reads: “Life will only change when you become more committed to your dreams than you are to your comfort zone.”

God knows running is not, and never has been, my comfort zone. That I went there yesterday hopefully means I’m committing to my dreams — and will stay committed to them.

Now if I can only figure out what those dreams are…

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