After yesterday’s unexpected near- Sabbath, I wanted to push myself. I felt refreshed. I ran 5 miles on the treadmill. I did it very s-l-o-w-l-y, because I wanted to see what was in the tank, under the hood, insert your favorite automobile metaphor here.
I also needed to know if my hips would lock up again. Before I ever left the house, I stretched a bit.
When I arrived, I picked the treadmill next to the floor fan, which made all the difference. Being a near-midget, I positioned it on my back. I don’t need it blowing all up in my face, drying out my contacts. Not cool. Even short people need to see.
I paced myself at least a minute slower than my usual per mile speed. I told myself to relax, enjoy the music. The scenery didn’t change much. Cars passed. The fog lingered. Birds drifted from tree to tree. People in various states of bundled-upness walked past, with dogs and/or groceries.
As I neared mile 4, I felt my hips start to get tight. My legs didn’t want to go forward. I upped the speed a teensy bit, looking for a new rhythm. It wasn’t enough. As soon as I hit the 4th mile, I paused the machine to stretch. As I got off the treadmill, I noticed an older man watching me. He’s also a runner, though today he was using the free weights and the post-medieval torture devices known as weight machines. I stretched out both hips by doing some deep lunges. I hopped back on and made the last mile a fast one. My legs felt good, warmed up and ready to roll.
After I wiped down my face and my ride, I started to leave.
“Good run today,” the older man said to me, smiling. It wasn’t a question.
“Yes”, I said, familiar by now with the instant camaraderie among runners. “I’m finally getting over my injury.” It’s only taken what, 13 months?! Bah!
“You did a good long run,” he said.
“Yes”, I said, smiling back.
And it was. Always nice to get encouragement, even from strangers.