Last week I injured my back…big time. I’m not really sure what happened, except that one day I was fine, the next day I woke up and it hurt a little, and the next day I could barely walk. Apparently it has to do with my sacroiliac joint being hypo-mobile…or something. I hobbled into work in tears and immediately made an appointment to see a chiropractor, who then put me on a program for fixing it. Now I can walk, sort of, but can’t do much else. It’s turned into quite a challenge working with children who enjoy throwing themselves floppy noodle-style on the floor. My main concern, though, is getting healthy in time for my half marathon a week from Sunday, and our subsequent vacation to Montreal and Quebec City. It’s not looking too good on the racing front, though.
Looking back at the months I’ve been training, I thought of how many times I woke up in the morning and thought, “I don’t feel like running today. I’m just not into it.” I usually forced myself to go anyway, but sometimes I’d let myself drift back to sleep. Of course, now that I can’t run, it’s the only thing I can think about. It’s been 5 days since my last run, and over that period of time I was scheduled to cover 33 miles. That’s 33 miles of catching up on my favorite podcasts and audiobooks, 33 miles of people-watching commuters and park-goers, 33 miles of Murray being so elated he’s running with me that he grabs the leash in his mouth and yanks it around mid-run. That’s 5 days of being so happy that I decided to lace up my shoes, even though it was dark and early and I was tired. That’s 5 special post-run pumpkin pie flavored oatmeal and quinoa bowls (which, frankly, might have been my biggest motivation to run to begin with). I wish I could go back to all the times I thought I wasn’t into running that day and remind myself why I wanted to become a runner. It’s my Garmin watch exclaiming “New Record!” afterward, the feeling that I accomplished something before many people got out of bed that morning, that I’ll stay productive throughout the day, and the feeling of camaraderie with other runners and walkers that I pass.
The feeling of camaraderie will stay regardless of whether I’m able to race, of course. It’s Daphne’s first big race and if I can’t run, I’ll be on the side of the road cheering her on. And while I might shed a few tears wishing I wasn’t sitting on the sidelines, I’ll also remind myself to be thankful. I’m thankful that I’ll still be able to run again; for my friends in the medical field who took time out of their day to advise and care for me; for everyone who listened to me whine about what is, in the end, a minor setback; for the chance to gain perspective as a spectator and giver of encouragement. This is neither the last nor the most important race, and right now is just my time to play a different role.