Sweet Misery…

Posted: January 24, 2012 by Roberts in Running Log
Tags: , ,

Heading home from work on Friday night, I debated my return to running. The debate centered not around if I would, but if I could. Stiffness had made itself at home in my ankle all week. If there was a tear in the ligament, rushing back into running could bench me for even longer, or end it completely. This was an addiction I could not afford to sacrifice to impatience. How could I give up this drug, this vice, that is running? How enjoyable could my run really be if each step would bring worry and doubt? Each step pounding into the pavement was a potential roll of the dice to ruin. Yet each step was also a step closer to satisfaction.

While I mulled over this conundrum, the music shuffle switched songs to Sweet Misery by Lisa Misckovsky. A simple song, and yet it spoke volumes to me of what it means to want something that could hurt you; to want something that brings you pain, suffering and joy.

You are my sweet little,
Sweet little misery
You are my sweet little
Sweet little misery
Now the words on the street
They say we’re history
You are my sweet little,
Cheap little misery

Running is my sweet misery. I ask myself why I go back to it, and all I know is that I have to. I was dreading and looking forward to the next morning’s run at the same time.

On Saturday I woke with a plan for my triumphant return to running. The ankle, though stiff, was ready. The route, planned. The soul, wanting. I opened the blinds, and was greeted by the first snowfall of the season. Figures.

My snowy return to running

Fates, why do you toy with me so? Now, I am not one to shy away from a nice winter run, but in this case, danger was afoot. Scanning the neighborhood, I could tell my neighbors had not shoveled their driveways and sidewalks. I doubted they intended to have them cleared any time soon. A recovering ankle and icy streets sounded like a recipe for disaster. The wear and tear of a normal run is one thing to risk, black ice is another.

So if I couldn’t run outside, that meant…..the DREADMILL! Not since my first summer of running had I used it. I was passed that chapter of my running career. It had allowed me to control my pace, and get used to the idea of running. It had also allowed me to run at a very slow pace and not embarrass myself on the street. Running outdoors was so much more liberating. The outdoors and fresh air motived me. The basement walls and concrete floor of the basement represented everything that was not running to me. Running is freedom. Running is adventure. Running is the peaceful solitude of nature and my thoughts. The basement is a cave, a dungeon. I want my freedom! But today, it was not to be. If I wanted to run, it was the treadmill or nothing. I swallowed my pride and accepted that today was to be an indoor running day. Oh treadmill, shall we dance?

I did not want to stress the ankle too much, and as I said earlier, it was still stiff. I took the run slowly. I put in a solid 3.5 miles. It felt good – the run that is, not the ankle. It was not quite as satisfying as an outdoor run would have been, but it felt great just to move. During the run, my body reminded me that I am not 100%. I had gotten soft in these past six weeks, and my ankle would not let me forget it. My heart pounded in my chest a little too hard, and a mild cramp appeared and then disappeared.

Goal One: Get back to my pre-holiday fitness level
Goal Two: Surpass it

The lesson I learned from this was that the treadmill is a useful tool, not just a starting point. Over the next couple runs (until the ice melts) it will allow me to get back in step. I plan to incorporate it into my next 28 weeks of training for interval and incline work.

From that single run I feel mentally better. I can only relate it to the time I tried to give up coffee for a month. After a long hiatus and that first cup of java, I felt serenity wash over me. It, as did this run, gave me back something I had been missing. It is good to be back or, at least heading back.

Next Run: 3 Miles (Tuesday)
Next Race: Kelly St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock 5K

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  1. Chris Olsen says:

    Tomorrow I am going back out again. It has been a couple of weeks, but it is time to hit the road again.

  2. Chris Olsen says:

    I am glad you got “out” to run. I’m sure this will be the many of “firsts” for you. So you are going to do a fun run in March? Sounds like fun.

  3. […] Sweet Misery… (rebuildingroberts.wordpress.com) […]

  4. twe10 says:

    Great post! I’ve just started running and love it so far…

    • Roberts says:

      Thanks for the comment. Are you training for something, recreation, or just trying to get fit? Personally I started just for general health, now it is an addiction.

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