What if you couldn't run?
By Dink Taylor, Fleet Feet Huntsville (AL)
Have you ever thought about what it would be like to have your running taken away from you? In case you did not hear, just two months ago I had a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Basically I had bleeding on the brain and not only was my running taken away but it tried to kill me. When I say tried to kill me, I am referring to the 40% that die from SAH.
I was not able to run for several weeks but after the headaches subsided, I was able to ease back into running. Just this past Sunday I was able to enjoy an easy 10 miler and was able to reflect on the things I missed about running. There are also some things that I have enjoyed in getting to where I am at this point in my recovery.
Sunday morning was another beautiful Fall day. I took my Husky dog "Sunshine" out for a run. Since I am “easing” back into running, we started out very slow. There have been a few things about easing back into running I have enjoyed. Stopping on runs is something that I have enjoyed lately. Sunday, I stopped and talked with anyone who wanted to talk. I watched a deer running out of control across the golf course. I stopped and introduced a little girl to "Sunshine" and let them visit for a couple of minutes. She loved petting her. I also let "Sunshine" visit with another Husky. I visited with a man volunteering at a bike-o-thon on the Big Cove Creek greenway, they were raising money to build a playground. I typically don’t make many stops when I train. I knew, even in the hospital that although running had been taken away, it would be just a matter of time before it was given back. I have enjoyed the journey of easing back.
Sunday morning’s easy 10 miles also gave me time to think of the things I have missed about training. Most of you will probably think 10 miles is not easing back into running but I had just completed a 100-mile run 5 weeks before the SAH. So I am thinking I am only at 10 percent right now, correct? I was also walking 70-80 miles per week during recovery because the doctor said I could walk all I wanted.
I really miss some things about training. I miss checking my mile splits to see if I am on pace for my training goal for the day. I miss going to the track and pushing hard during a workout. I miss running 10 miles at marathon race pace. I miss lining up against the competition at a race. I miss not having a goal race for this Fall, mainly the JFK 50 miler, which would have been my sixth straight. I miss meeting up and running with training groups. I miss working out at the gym as I have been stripped of lifting weights for six months. I miss being tired and feeling fatigue from a good long run. I miss pushing the pace up a mountain and running in the woods all day. I miss the feeling of my body starving for fuel.
I went back to the hospital for an arteriogram. I passed this test for the third time. This is a good thing and I think it will be my final test. I have had running taken away from me once again but it is only temporary. I can’t run or go for a walk just yet but I will be back next week. The next time you don’t feel like going for a run or are just being lazy, think about what it would be like to have it taken away. I have rarely taken days off over the last 35 years. I even went 17 years without taking a single day off. If you are healthy and able to run, take advantage of every day. Make every workout have a specific purpose and enjoy this activity to the fullest. If it is taken away from you, you will find yourself thinking of all the things you miss about running