Last week was a great one for my foot. The new stretching method seemed to work and I could walk and run without pain. But then, a few days ago, something happened and stretching stopped working. So now my foot hurts again, especially when I've been sitting too long.
That's why I didn't join my group on their long run this morning. I didn't dare go on a long run, far from home, risking holding back the others if my foot played up. I went out on a run on my own instead, with the Black Crowes on my mp3 player, within walking distance of our flat, in case I had to turn back.
With the first notes of ”She talks to angels”, I welled up. The skies were heavy, the ground was wet, the snow was stubbornly clinging to the pavement. All the frustration I've been feeling because of the injury, because of all the planned races that, let's face it, I probably won't get to run this year, and mostly because I simply don't know what to do to make the pain go away, suddenly overwhelmed me. A few seconds later, the frustration was gone just as easily as it had come and a smile found its way to my face. I was running after all, wasn't I?
Still, I picked a short cut, not wanting to risk making things worse. I ran through alleys of pastel coloured terraced houses, by pastures where horses play-fought, on deserted streets. Not a soul was in sight.
There was an autumn feel in the air, and I thought about how my worst nightmare would be living a Ground hog Day life, where winter and autumn succeeded each other, year after year, spring and summer gone forever. I am a summer person. I thrive on warm summer evenings and on dew-laced summer mornings. I love the way the summer breeze feels on my bare shoulders. The way lazy summer afternoons feel like an eternity. The way the world seems to stretch forever beyond the horizon.
After 8 km I left the quiet streets and turned towards the seaside, heading back home. The sun had managed to break through the clouds and finally projected some semblance of spring. People were out now, jogging along the water or walking their dogs. The world was waking up slowly, as though it had been hibernating for years.
I felt strong, though my foot ached. My legs worked hard, yet I didn't feel tired. I was running somewhat faster than I should have, given that this was supposed to be a long run, but trying to slow down only made me feel sluggish.
The Black Crowes gave way to Pink Floyd. The seaside gave way to quiet streets again. I was almost home. I stopped the clock at 16 km and walked the rest of the way. Once I got there, I gave my feet an ice bath. Back to ice baths, back to square one. As happy as I am that I managed to run today, I can't help being frustrated.