I've become a runner. I don't know exactly when it happened, but I think I've now logged enough miles to earn the right to call myself a "runner". My husband, who has a few marathons under his belt, realized I had joined his club when I started throwing around terms like "PR" and "bonk". And the last piece of jewelery he gave me was a pink Road ID bracelet; only a runner could appreciate that. But I think it really hit me when I was sitting around with my brother, also a marathoner who is now training for his first ultra, and we started comparing our runner's feet. I'm only wearing black toe nail polish these days to cover up the bruised toes I acquired breaking in new shoes. The fact that I had to replace my running shoes because they had over 500 miles on them is something new for me too. I guess I have been spending a lot of time running.
Running is my rehab. Its my time to think and its something I've come to really need. After my second child was born, I couldn't run. I couldn't get more than a quarter mile before my legs felt like they were being ripped out of my hip sockets. Baby number two was just too big for my little frame. My doctors said I had too much tendon and ligament damage from my pregnancy and it might take years to recover, if I fully recovered at all. I took it as a challenge; I wasn't going to let something like childbirth dictate what I could do, especially since I could run just fine after baby number one. Once I got clearance from my doctor that my legs would in fact NOT fall off if I kept running through the pain, that's exactly what I did. It took me 6 months, but I ran my first real 5K at Big Sur that year and it was pain free. And I've kept running pain free. Running has fixed all of my aches and pains.
Now I'm training for my first 10-miler. Two weeks ago when I was coming up a hill at mile 8 out of 10 and started to feel a little tightness in my lower calf, I naturally ran through the pain. When the pain didn't go away, I rested and iced for a week. But when I attempted a short run a week later, after a full week of no running, I felt the pulling again in the first mile. I was devastated; running has always fixed me. I got some advice from a physical therapist friend who told me that I needed to rest my Achilles. Apparently the best way to do that is to wear heels all the time - no flat shoes, no bare-feet. If heels were appropriate attire for all occasions, I would wear them anyway, so this was not too hard for me.
So, what am I wearing around the house these days? Heels - all the time. I do laundry, make the beds, wash the dog, and cook dinner in heels. My husband came home the other night to find me getting ready to go for a run, wearing a short running skirt, athletic socks, and 3 inch wedge heels. I was a vision. I don't run in heels, but I don't switch over to my running shoes until I am ready to head out the door. The heels seem to be working though. I ran another 8 this morning with only a tiny reminder of the tightness halfway through and it loosened up by the end. I am facing the reality, however, that although I had hoped this 10-miler would be a springboard to longer races, I should just be happy to finish it without injury. I am determined to finish it and will run it in heels if I have to.