So. If you are bored out of your skull by people talking about running, you might want to skip this one.
I mentioned in my last post that I've been running again, quite a bit. It's like now that I'm back in decent shape, and I CAN run, I don't want to stop. Like, not ever. Like I want to be this amazing 91-year old woman who recently completed the San Diego marathon.
What was driving my running before was to get in good shape before embarking on the next phase of reconstructive surgery on my scalp. (If you're new here, this explains my runner-car accident in December 2014 and what happened to my scalp). Everything is healed up fine, but I have some not-small bald patches on my head that will have to be repaired/restored by going through a tissue expansion/tissue rearrangement process on my scalp. The whole process is long, uncomfortable, inconvenient, and very painful at times. But I can't go through the rest of my life looking like a Golden Retriever with mange, so this is what it is. I was originally contemplating getting the first surgery, the insertion of tissue expanders, within the next two weeks. It's been like threading a needle, trying to fit this process in with everything else in my life - work, vacations, kids starting new schools, birthdays, holidays, etc. etc. etc. There were form problems, and scheduling snafus, and I don't even know, and it became clear that the best thing to do was put this process off until January.
Earlier this year, I wanted to get these surgeries done ASAP, wanted it over with, couldn't bear the thought of waiting all the way until January. I'd wedge them into my life somehow. But now, the waiting doesn't seem so bad, because I'm fit again, getting fitter all the time, and I just freed up the rest of my 2015 for all the running miles and all the fun. I'm not worried about whether I'll be able to go to the pool, go on vacation, be healed up for Helene's birthday, for Hannukah, Christmas, Ajax's birthday. A stay of execution.
I've said for a long time that running is my sanity. I always feel better after a run. That has been even more true this year, when I couldn't wait to start again, couldn't wait for my legs to be healed enough and strong enough to get out there again. I love running all over again, because I CAN, because it makes me feel strong, because it makes me stronger, because it combats stress and the lingering PTSD symptoms from the accident, because it's fun, because it gives me something to do, something to achieve, because it brings me peace.
I'm in a Facebook running group called the 1K Wonders. The goal is to run 1000 miles or 1000 kilometers in a year. If you run 3 miles every day, you can get to 1000 miles. When you break it down like that, it seems achievable. I was so sad in January, when this group started, and I was still non-weight bearing on my left leg, and so envious of everyone out running. When I was allowed to start running again in March, I started posting my first one-mile runs, and got so much positive feedback from this group. I just knew they got it.
I find it hard to be around some groups of people or talk about the accident with them. Mostly, I don't want to talk about it at all. My work colleagues are the hardest for me to talk to or be around. I've realized I am still angry at myself for the accident, and I am also terribly embarrassed. I went for a run during work hours, trying to get it in before a meeting, and I missed that meeting because of the accident. I feel like I was cheating, or playing hookey, or doing something just bad, and look, I messed up, I got caught out, I got punished. I'm just so embarrassed at being too stupid to not get hit by a car, making people worry, at not putting my meeting before my run. If I had just done some [intangible thing], this wouldn't have happened. So, I hate when my work colleagues talk to me about it. I'm fine, I'm fine, I'M FINE, please don't mention it, please. I'm surely healthier and stronger and fitter than you, so please, shut up.
Not all of my work colleagues - there are certain people I'm closer to that I don't mind talking to. See, I work in the railroad industry, working to make it safer. There are a thousand ways to get injured or killed in railroading. You have to be constantly vigilant, constantly aware of your situation, to maintain safety for yourself and the people around you. Many of my colleagues started out as railroaders, as engineers, conductors, carmen. They've seen awful things. Their careers at my agency have involved responding to and investigating rail accidents. Sometimes, they are the first ones on the scene. Sometimes, horrific things have happened, and people are dead. My colleagues go to work every day to prevent horror and injury and death, and it devastates them every time a terrible accident happens. Sometimes, an accident happens because a railroad worker simply loses situational awareness. He or she thinks that dangerous curve has already passed, and speeds up the train. I should have looked left one more time before I stepped into that street. been aware of that car coming on through the intersection. I should have been more situationally aware. For some reason, these friends and colleagues, who look terrible wrecks in the eye, them I can talk to, them I don't mind asking how I am.
And my running friends, I can tell them. I can just mention the accident, my head, in context, and they understand. They understand that I lived all of our worst fears. They understand why I had to get back out and run.
I knew I could never get to 1000 miles, and probably not 1000K, with head surgery involved. But now, now, 1000K might be achievable. If I can average 3 miles per day for the rest of the year, I can get pretty darn close, and maybe even just do it.
This thrills me to no end. I'm logging my miles, planning my miles, entering races again. I juist signed up for the Dirty Damsel race in Maryland in October. It will be my first trail race. I'm doing the 10K, because a half marathon for my first trail race seems a hair ambitious just now. But I need these goals, more reasons to get up in the morning and pound out those miles at the dawn of my day. I love planning for races again.
A few days ago, I almost passed out from nerd overload when I discovered that there is an online Hogwarts Running Club. I am deep into my annual re-read of the Harry Potter series (just bought the e-books - life changing!), wishing as ever that I could go to Hogwarts. So I am loving this running-Harry Potter mashup that is the Hogwarts Running Club. I went on Pottermore to get properly sorted into a house - I wasn't going to cheat and just join Gryffindor. And yay! I got sorted into Gryffindor! So, the way it works right now is that you can register for some virtual races through the HRC website, and you can also log your daily miles and donate money to charity by doing so via the Charity Miles app and website. And beat Slytherin! Of course, there are Facebook pages for each Hogwarts House running group, and it's all so fabulous and nerdy and fun, and I'm having so much fun.
I needed this. I needed this direction, this obsession, this outlet. I check my Runkeeper stats all the time, plan my runs, ice things that hurt, research exercises to keep rebuilding my muscles and help my sore knees, take supplements, take Advil, obsess about socks and shorts, and GPS accuracy, and I get sweaty and happy and feel stronger and faster all the time. I've logged 151.6 miles so far this year; to get to 1000K, I need a total of 621 miles. I don't know if I can get there, but I'm damn sure gonna try.