Last time I ran 4 km, I paid for it with a sore tendon on the back side of my knee. The physiotherapist told me then to stop switching shoes like Imelda Marcos, and just run in my brick shoes until my runner's knee gets better. He said barefoot running would be strenuous for that specific tendon and to avoid doing it for the time being.
I listened. Sort of.
You see, as I've written here before, barefoot running does wonders for my runner's knee. Although I can occasionally feel some stiffness in the knee while I run in my shoes, it completely disappears as soon as I take them off. I thought I was imagining things, but, after going barefoot running a few more times, I was convinced. So, what to do, what to do?
|Photo by dad|
I start my runs nowadays by putting on my orthopaedic insoles and running on the flat parts of my local forest path (to spare the irritated tendon). Then, after the majority of my allotted time for the day has passed, I take them off and run the rest barefoot (to spare my runner's knee). That way, I believe that I'm giving both injuries the opportunity to heal at the same time as I increase the training load gradually. It's worked fine, so far.
But, superstitious as I am when it comes to running, and having covered 4 km again today, I'm waiting for the setback to come and whack me on the head like a boomerang while I'm busy celebrating my latest victory on the road to recovery. There is no way I'm getting close to running any respectable distance without a setback. Years of injury have taught me that. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Cynical? Me? Nah. Just cautious.
|Pre-swim. Nice, warm and muddy after my run|
True to character, I cautiously entered the lake after my run. The air was chilly. Despite the fact that the sun was at least partly visible behind the clouds, a brisk wind kept the temperature low. The lake felt surprisingly warm by comparison, and the whole process of submerging myself in it took a whole hour less than it usually does. I splashed around a bit, enjoying the sensation of floating in the water and of the few stray sun-rays making me sleepy (not a combination I'd recommend), when I saw my parents (who'd been walking around the lake) approaching. I swam to the shore to greet them and suddenly realised I was still wearing my heart rate monitor. Frantic attempts to open the cover to take the battery out in order to dry it proved futile. It would take J's strong arms and a five-crown coin to open it later.
After a stream of swear words describing my soooo not being Mensa material left my mouth and drifted up towards the stratosphere and to space, where no one can hear you scream, I started feeling cold. I went back into the water, but it was too late. My body temperature was dropping fast, my lips were turning blue and soon enough I would be able to get a walk-on part in a movie about penguins narrated by Morgan Freeman. As an icicle. I dried myself with shaky hands. The idyllic swim in the lake was quickly turning into a nightmare. I sat on a rock that offered some protection from the wind and waited for the sun to warm me up. Then I waited some more. Nothing happened.
I couldn't take it any more. This was my second near-death experience in two days! (Well, third if you count the really spicy food we ate at the Thai place last night. The menu said three chilli peppers. I should have heeded their warning and chosen something from their "for wimps" collection). This wouldn't do. I put on every single item of clothing I had with me and headed home, walking so quickly that, had I gone any faster, you'd have called it running - which would have been great under the circumstances, if it weren't for the fact that I'd already used up all my running minutes earlier. Once I got home, I took a shower so hot that my skin went from white to blue to red to purple to black within 10 seconds.
I am now sitting here trying to convince myself that my throat doesn't really hurt and that I really love Swedish summers.