A few nights back, I went running for the fourth time since my August injury. My PT gave me the go-ahead to start running some three weeks back, and I waited another two weeks or so before attempting to run. The first strides were incredibly awkward, the successive strides slightly so. A sort of stiffness made my strides stilted, though not painful. The feeling is one hard to describe, though I did manage to compare it to running with the left leg being an on-the-ground version of a stilt in a phone conversation with my dad.
My PT has had me doing daily sets of ten of a stretch in which I flex the left foot forward to regain the natural flexion that has been missing since that fateful day some seven months ago. The need to continue with this exercise becomes very apparent as I run like Hop Along Cassidy, the left leg slightly frozen in its flexing.
The first time I ran for about five minutes, and the pain was minimal, the awkwardness more than minimal. As expected, my conditioning was way down, and a few minutes in, I was already feeling cramps. All right, gotta crawl before you can walk (metaphorically).
The second time I ran, I logged about seven minutes, with my left foor still stiff. The third time, seven minutes, and the fourth...well, about twelve minutes combined.
Moving easily that night, I finished a weight workout and decided to run home. Seven minutes into the run, an uneven sidewalk put me onto the asphalt, my phone skittering some twenty feet ahead. Embarassed to say the least, I was at least relieved to see that no one seemed to see my fall, as I had ducked onto a quiet side street.
The fall was in uber slow-motion, and a grunt escaped my throat as I sprawled on the ground. Aw, man, this sucked. The running, the conditioning, was starting to improve, and now a microscopic lift in the sidewalk planted me on my belly.
My phone (those protective cases do work!) was fine, my keys a bit dirty from laying in a quasi-garden on the side of the road. My phone's timer was still running at ten minutes-I figured about two minutes since I fell--and I too decided to, after a minute of walking with my head down, take my licking and keep on ticking. Crossing the street, sure that no one had seen me fall, I quickened my pace.
I lifted my legs-the left one weighed down by a stiff Achilles tendon, the right one soon-to-be scabbed from an unceremonious fall-a bit higher with each step. I started running.
I kept running. The clock was stopped in unison with my running stopping. Fourteen minutes, of which about twelve were running minutes.
I got up. Kept running.