The Unforgiving Ground

Posted on October 25, 2010

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We did it!  We ran 10 miles on Saturday!  The weather, although ominous, never discouraged us from running.  We were determined to get our training back on track and test the limits of the tendonitis in my ankle.  The plan was to run slower than before and stop at 8 miles, especially if the pain in my ankle resurfaced.  We set out with a two hour window in which to run before a rain storm hit.

If you have ever come back from an injury then you know what it’s like to try and get back to normal.  Your mind tends to do its best to baby the injury.  For example, as I ran I noticed I was planting my foot incorrectly.  It was like I was trying to spend as little time on my right foot as possible.  I was tentative, which made for an awkward running motion.  Finally, about two miles into the run I regained my correct or at least semi-correct running motion. 

The goal was simple, run slow and steady.  It was especially important for me to be careful since I was running on the unforgiving cement that was likely a contributor to my ankle pain.  After 5 miles the clouds began to rumble with the approaching storm.  Tornado sirens began to blare and all we could think about was, “we need to at least finish 8 miles today.”  We continued running through a slight rain hoping to beat the storm as it rolled in slowly.

Our legs started to cramp up and we realized close to mile 8 that our bodies were no longer running us, our minds were running us.  I told my girlfriend at mile 8 that my ankle was holding up well and that we could push for 10 miles.  Close to mile 9 she gazed down at her watch and noticed our pace was much faster than the 10 miles we did three weeks before.  I was sure it only seemed that way because we still had another mile to go and there was no way that I was running faster than before.  After all, it had been over two weeks since I had run over 5 miles. 

The finish line was finally in sight and we pushed our bodies to inch closer.  Our legs were moving, but tightening.  I refused to look down at my watch for fear that it would make me want to run faster.  I knew I couldn’t run faster, especially since I was nursing an injury.  Then, we crossed our finish line and we looked down at our watches.  To our surprise we had run much quicker than before.  We finished our 10 mile run in 1 hour and 31 minutes.  We were excited…We were tired. 

We retreated indoors for the remaining of the rain-filled day.  Half asleep on the couch we smiled at each other, knowing we had run hard.  We had beaten the rain.  We had beaten our time.  Most of all, I had beaten the pain in my ankle, which was no longer evident, and I knew that I could run again.  The cement ground, at least on Saturday, was forgiving.

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