27 February 2007

Running up that hill

I am procrastinating this fine rainy morning, lingering over one last mug of coffee (what do you mean there's no more coffee???) before I pursue EXERCISE.

Generally, I enjoy exercise in all its varied forms. I danced for years, played basketball and ran track in school, hiked for fun and for the spouse's work, biked as a kid through the desert and home from work more recently. I even coerced the spouse into a daylong biking trip on a Danish island over the summer which involved a ship's captain, smoked herring and a tremendous thunderstorm in a forest. It was great fun, trust me, and the local home brew and smoked herring were the stuff of legend. (And I was a minor curiosity on that trip because I insisted on wearing a bike helmet the whole trip. Apparently, Europeans don't see the need, but then, they've probably never biked in Southern California. I'd be happier biking here if I had the shell of an M1A1 around me while I traveled the streets).

In my latter years, I have run and walked the local hills, staying happily fit, while spying on other people's home improvement projects and gardens, and chatting up bored dogs sitting guard in various backyards. Occasionally, I spot a western bluebird or a hawk, and that makes my morning.

So, while cardio and I are firm friends, truth to tell, I don't have much use for lifting weights or strength training. When I can translate it into dance, it's more interesting, but it's difficult to fling 10 lb. weights around in a way that looks or feels like dancing. Mostly it just hurts my rotten old joints and bores me to tears. Even with music blasting.

It's worse now, of course, that I am back in injury rehab. This is an event that occurs with some regularity, partly because I am accident prone, and partly because I really do have rotten joints. Probably also partly because I insist on doing things that even I know I shouldn't be doing. Sadly, this isn't one of my more interesting injuries (concussion acquired when trying to take a picture of the football team in action--now that was interesting!), or one that is even vaguely romantic ("The crutches? Oh, darling, really just a small skiing accident...").

It was a beautiful August morning. School was back in session, and I didn't have to go to work. JOY! Time for a run, something for which I'd had scant opportunity for months. It was me, the blue sky and my Ipod and the open road.

Well, it was me and the cars really. I don't have a lot of patience for bad driving, which is rife in this area. Part of me believes it is my job to act as unpaid traffic cop, to let these egregious people know that even if God isn't watching, I am. There is a particularly bad intersection between my house and the kids' school that has a prohibition on turning right on red during morning and evening rush hour. Since I am frequently a pedestrian at that intersection, I've gotten into some fairly intense confrontations with drivers there in the morning and the spouse is reasonably certain that I will be killed there at some point.

I don't think it's necessary to catalog all of my bad behavior that particular morning, but it's safe to say that I was throwing the finger of ultimate disapproval at every motorist who roused my ire. And I was feeling GREAT. I was running and it was beautiful and my Ipod was loud, and I was just starting to hit runner's high when something went *snap* in my left foot. And it HURT.

I kept running, on the assumption that I'd just gotten a cramp in the arch. It had been awhile since I'd been able to run, but the pain not only continued, it intensified. I stopped and tried to stretch my foot out on the curb, to no avail. It began to dawn on me that Something Bad had happened.

I limped home and put my foot on ice and elevated it. Didn't help. Ibuprofen didn't help. Worse, the arch of my foot started to burn.

That was 6 months ago. The doctor has told me it may take two years for the tear in my plantar fascia to fully heal. Exercise at present involves a great deal of stretching and strength work and a little walking.

Every time I stand up, I am reminded that sometimes I take my job in life a little too seriously. And I'm certain God is laughing.