Posts Tagged ‘Rehab’

Don’t be a spectator. Don’t let life pass you by.

-Lou Holtz

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In every race that I have run, I have always been grateful for the people who come to cheer the runners on. Whether coming for a friend or family member, these people end up cheering everybody on. It is a great energy booster for me as a runner when random strangers cheer me on and even a bigger one when it’s from my family and friends.

Last Sunday was the Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon. I had no plans of running it, but I had two friends who were. Had I not been nursing this knee, I probably would have shown up last-minute to run, however, I did the right thing and staked out a spot late in the race to cheer on my buddies (Josh – @bostoncardiovet and Alett – @petfxr…I’d find out later that Alett had suffered a minor injury and was not running). I got to my spot maybe 20 -30 minutes early. I asked a cop what mile marker we were at (just shy of 11) and then asked the spectators already there how many people had already gone by (maybe 10 at most). I looked at my watch. 90 minutes, shy of mile 11, 10 runners. I did the math. Damn! I wish I was running this. Given healthy conditions, I could have had a shot at being one of those top 10. As the runners began to trickle by, I cheered each and every one of them on. Some said thank you, others were in a zone and kept on running. I envied each and every one of them.

This was the first race I had been to where I wasn’t a participant, and I’ve got to tell you, it was hard. I’m not talking “oh geez, I wish I were running too” hard.  No, I’m talking “pang in my heart, itch in my legs, must resist the urge” kind of hard!   I was never a huge racing fan before I started running, and even after I started running, I didn’t get into races until I ran my first one. As great as it was to cheer on complete strangers, all I wanted to do was run.

When Josh came running by about 20 minutes later I kicked off my flip-flops, put my coffee down and began running with him. Yes, I know. I’m rehabbing and I’m not supposed to be running! But I promise I was forced to run lightly since I was completely barefoot. It felt great.   Just being out there with the other runners felt absolutely awesome.  After taking Josh up a particularly steep hill, I bid him good luck and jogged back to my spot, cheering each runner I passed.

So, what did I learn?

I learned that running a mile barefoot isn’t so bad. It actually got me thinking that maybe one of these days I’ll try a 10K or half-marathon completely bare.

But the biggest thing I learned on Sunday was that I don’t like being a spectator.  I will continue to support friends who run local races, but I have a feeling that if I’m healthy, I’m a lot more likely to be joining them at the starting line instead of cheering them on.  I think that I can apply this to other parts of my life as well.  How many of us have spent a good chunk of our adult years as a spectators or watchers?  While I try to figure out what that means, I’ll just have to start with a half marathon next week (anybody else running the Boston Run to Remember?) and some 5K’s over the summer.

I can’t wait to get back on the road.

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In Greek mythology, the Sirens were dangerous bird-women, portrayed as seductresses who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island [wikipedia]. This past week I have been dealing with my own version of the Sirens. The weather has been generally delightful, my knee has felt fine, and my new Vibram Bikila Shoes, though wonderful on the elliptical, have been whispering run, run over and over again. Yes, as I work to make sure that my knee is healthy, the Sirens have been calling me to the road, tempting me to run.

For once, I am trying to be smart about it. I want to run. I need to run. But like Odysseus, I am strapping myself to the mast (the elliptical) and having my men (the DVR) row me through temptation. Though I have to admit I did run one mile (ONLY ONE!) with my buddy Josh (@bostoncardiovet) as he made his way through an uphill mile 11 of the Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon on Sunday.

So far so good. The knee is on the mend, I’m maintaining cardio health and I can see the road just a week away. But as that day approaches, the Sirens’ song gets louder and more beautiful. The temptation to go back just a day, maybe two, early is very strong. Would it really hurt to go back to running just a day early? Probably not, but why take the chance? Right?

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I am a runner.

I run.

A lot.

You know this.

So does just about everybody else.

“Hey, do you know Luau?”


“The running dad.”

“Oh yeah! I know him. The guy with the funny shoes, right?”

Yes, anybody who knows me, even tangentially, knows me as a runner.


So what happens to a runner when he or she can’t run, or as is more my current situation, shouldn’t run.

Two marathons in two weeks beat me up far worse than I initially thought. The pain I am in gives me an even greater appreciation for what guys of Operation Jack and MarathonQuest250 are doing. My right knee just is not a happy puppy right now. The right thing to do after my Providence and Boston combo was NOT to run. But purchasing the new Bikilas was too much of a temptation to resist, so I ran. And then I ran again.

And as awesome as running in the Bikilas were, an injured knee is an injured knee. What’s a runner to do? Running has come to define me. It is who I am. It is my therapy to deal with the craptastic issues I’m dealing with in everyday life. It is my medicine. My escape. My release.

What am I to do when I can’t run?

I go to Plan B.

I love running, but one of my favorite parts of running is the sweating.

When I break a real sweat, I feel cleansed. When I am exhausted, I feel energized. When my muscles ache, I feel great.

It the paradox of running, but running isn’t the only way to achieve those feelings.

I have been inspired by my friend Jersey, who gets up every morning at 4:00 to hop on to her elliptical for an hour. She uses her hour of redlining it much in the same way I use my runs. She is just about as crazy as I am when it comes to needing that rush, that escape. So at least for now, while I know I shouldn’t be running, I am going to go with Plan B. I’m taking it easy on the knees and hopping on the elliptical for hour every day. Thank God my DVR is overflowing.

And you know I’ll still be wearing the Bikilas!

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