Peaceful Sunday mornings, very early, are a special time to get outside for a bike ride or a run. There are no sounds of cars, only birdsong.
This morning I knew Mundy Park would smell especially good because of all the rain we’ve been having.
I walked there briskly as a warm-up for jogging. Since my last jog a week ago, my knee has felt awkward, swollen and a bit sore with tendonitis on the side. Yesterday I was happy to be able to jog for 15 minutes on the treadmill, with no apparent damage. I have no real plan for today; I just hope I can jog a bit more than that. My last “running” workout included 51 minutes of jogging, broken up into three sections with short walks in between. The day after that I did a hilly mountain bike ride, and those two workouts combined did my knee in.
My knee doesn’t feel good when I start jogging. I don’t have normal mobility in it yet. I don’t trust it running downhill, even though my ACL surgery restored my stability. I know my leg won’t collapse when I run downhill, but my body can’t seem to shake that fear because of last year, when my leg did give way several times. My final disastrous fall in November tore my meniscus and made surgery essential if I was to have any hope of ever running again.
I jog very slowly–10-minute mile pace (can you believe it!?), and gradually my knee starts to feel a little better.
When I’ve been jogging for 16 minutes, I reach a logical place to stop, but I don’t. I run a familiar 2.3K loop in about 13 minutes. I still don’t stop. I head out of Mundy Park and jog to an artificial turf soccer field across the road. This is absolutely the best surface to run on. It’s perfectly flat and smooth. There is nothing to trip me. The surface is gentle and even seems to give back a bounce. I remember how I used to feel when I ran here. Maybe it was just an illusion, but I was sure I was running lightning fast, like a kid runs, effortlessly, lightly, legs spinning quickly, barefoot best of all.
Now it’s different. I’m an old racehorse with a knee that feels 90 years old. Still, I can canter. I am in a nice rhythm now. I can pretend that I’m running, not jogging. I can pretend that I’m graceful.
I don’t have to pretend about being thankful–thankful to be part of the still, quiet morning, thankful for my healthy lungs that served me so well all those times when my body had to give 100%, thankful for that rhythm.
I jogged for 46 minutes non-stop.
Later, after doing some weights and stretching at my gym, I’m at Starbucks listening to some easy jazz and I realize I’ve got a bit of a buzz on! My laughable little jog was enough.