Tuesday, April 3, 2012

For the Love of Running

I have never been much of a runner; a sprinter in my high school basketball days maybe, but distance running has always pressured my usual laid back disposition into one of anxiety and stress. Maybe it’s different for track stars, but for me, running was always attached to this idea of punishment and pain. Athletics have always made it a task against time; forcing me to race for playing time and water breaks. I never understood how people could just go running for “fun.” Any running I did was purely for training purposes and getting into shape for season.

As a field hockey goalie, for years, I spent several hours a day jumping into the splits and manipulating my body into positions that, well, literally tore my hips. These tears made the repetitive motion of running excruciating.  It turns out; I spent the majority of my college career running on torn hips. The more miles I ran, the worse it got. If you can imagine the feeling, you'll understand how much I hated running; I mean I really hated it. I loathed even the idea.  I stuck to my strengths and busted my ass in the weight room, as that seemed to be the only way to keep my coaches off my back. All that time, I didn’t know my hips were tearing. All I knew was that running made me hurt so bad that I would spend hours afterward, curled up in the fetal position for relief. My trainers told me that there was nothing wrong with me; having never ordered a single test, they cheaply sent me to physical therapy. However, I knew that the pain wasn’t simply, and I quote, “in my head.” I sought out a hip specialist who determined that I did indeed have a torn labrum due to pincer impingement. This basically meant that as I ran, the ball of my hip joint would knock up against the back of the socket, scraping away the cartilage. I had hip surgery on 1-11-11, which included, chondroplasty, labral/cartilage debridement and osteoplasty to repair my left hip and give my right hip time to heal on its own.

Considering it was surgery, I had a great experience. I was walking within days and back to work in a matter of a few weeks. My doctor said that he had never seen anything like it, in terms of how fast I healed. After a few months of rehabilitation, I started being able to really run, at first only about a few laps at a time. Since about October, I’ve been running off the weight I gained, trying to get back into the groove of actually being able to run pain-free and working towards being able to run for miles.  

I have been enjoying my evening runs for a while now, gaining a bit of understanding with each run that it can be something more than a race for time, but rather something that I can do for me; something pleasurable. I went for a run tonight, and I had this epiphany of sorts; there are very few acts that really create a perfect rhythm with everything. Tonight, it dawned on me just how poetic running is. I think it is the poetic nature of this act that I always missed out on; I never understood the love of running until tonight when I really paid attention to everything that was happening, and it all happens at once.

As I laced up my tennis shoes and turn my Pandora App to Eric Church radio, I was ready for just another run. Except tonight wasn’t just another run; I created a work of art. The night and the music and my body seemed to just flow together like lovers. The air was warm, yet soft, as my skin broke through. Each evenly paced stride seemed to create a perfect rhythm which mimicked the tempo of the music exquisitely. As I danced through the cracks in the pavement, my feet never held a place long enough to make an impression. I felt almost naked as my self-made breeze cooled the sweat on my arms and my chest. My hair tickled the base of my neck as my ponytail bounced in unison with my movement.  I could feel the power of my legs, propelling me up each hill where the stars seemed to literally touch down at the peaks. At the top, I let momentum carry me downwards with ease. Not sure if I was running away from something or towards another, my feet continued to chase my shadow. I felt nothing but ecstasy as the endorphins pumped through my body. Not wanting it to stop, I continued to run farther and farther from home, knowing it would take me just as long if I ever decided to go back. Considering it was an act I had completed before a thousand times, it was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. It was a complete high, so much so that I am afraid now that I created an addict. Coming down from that high, it makes me sad to think I have missed out on that feeling for all this time.  


If you are interested in more information about my hip surgery and the whole process, you can watch this video that will show you exactly what I had done:


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