A return to the gym.


Missing out on Two Bays

Missing out on Two Bays

So, how were your holidays?  I’ve been away from my blog for several weeks, and, in fact, am feeling a bit rusty at writing.  Three weeks with young children around will do that.  “Mom…” and “Dad…” incessantly, all-out-war fights between the kids, plus a beach house with very limited internet access.  Thank goodness we bought a piano just before Christmas.  Though I do not play yet, it has helped keep me sane.

Let me rewind a minute.  You might recall that just after the Marysville Marathon in November, I hurt my knee.  It swelled up to three times its usual size, and I spent many weeks trying to get it better.  Cross-training, rest, physio, more rest (actually 9 complete days exercise free – a record for me), and then a gradual return to running.

I’m not real good with rest or with injury.  My family will surely attest to that.  But this time, during my 9 days rest, I had a new toy.  I’d always planned on learning piano.  My Dad was an accomplished pianist, and my fondest memories are of listening to him play.  Bach, Chopin, Beethoven; he could play them all.  But he couldn’t teach.  At least, he couldn’t teach me, an independent child who didn’t like to be taught very much, and certainly didn’t like his angry style.  Poor Dad; he would have loved to hear me play, but he scared the life out of me, and I quit, and began riding horses instead.

But it’s always been there, my secret plan to learn, once I was old enough.  I’m still sort of scared, although my Dad has been dead for twenty years.  I don’t want a teacher – if they are mean, I’m sure I’d quit, and I’m not very good at taking instructions anyway.  So I’ve coached my nine-year old son to say just these words to me when he hears me play:  “That’s great, Mom, really great!”  And he does.  Even though I know he’s just saying it because I asked him to, it works.

I bought a series of Easy Piano instructions books geared for children, as the grown-up versions were terrifying and serious, and I like the cartoon characters pointing at the notes.  I’m halfway through book 2 of the series, progressing slowly and deliberately and with great, rebellious joy.  Yesterday I played a piece by Bach! My son, daughter and husband are playing too.  The males follow the instructions carefully.  My daughter improvises – loud, scary music.  I asked her what it was.  “It’s the dragon coming to eat the villagers,” she replied, straight-faced.

Running?  Ah, running.  We are not friends right now.  I’ve tried this, after the swelling finally went down in my right knee: 5k, wait two days, 6k, wait two days, 7k, wait one day, 8k, wait one day (that’s when my left peroneal tendon started complaining), wait one day, 9k (ignoring left knee pain as right knee was fine), wait three days and limp, 10k (too hot to notice any pain at all, until I stopped and there was the left leg pain again!).  I waited two days, and went to the gym today.  After just one running step on the treadmill, I got off.  The left leg is still wrong.

Grrr!  While I’m delighted to tell you my right knee is now the right size again (with the exception of a strange bumpy line running across the center of the kneecap that has me obsessed), I still can’t run.

But, I can lift weights.  So tonight, although there were 72 young men in the free weights area at my gym, with only three or four centimeters room between them (New Year’s Resolution time), I did my full heavy weights workout. I’d forgotten just how good it feels to be strong.  Lifting gives me nearly the same buzz as running, and has a wonderful meditative quality (well, less so with Mr. Biceps next to me, but usually).  My body hurts so good right now, and the endorphins are back on, and it was simply wonderful to see some gym buddies and class members (I teach at the same gym), and I left there feeling like I’d come back to life.

So perhaps this injury is teaching me something.  First, how to play piano.  Second, that I really still love the gym.

One last thought to leave you with tonight – for Christmas, my husband suggested something.  He actually wrote the word “wild” and “i” on a small card and then drew an animal after it.  It took me ages to work it out, what with exhaustion and champagne.  “Wild-eyed dog?” “No.” “Wild-eyed goat?” “No.”  My mind got stuck on the goat until he gave up, and told me it was “wild i dear”.  The animal was meant to be a deer!

What is the wild idea?  To get a dog!  Us of the two kids, two cats, and asthmatic husband.  Well, why not…

I’m not sure just now whether to get a dog that will want to run with me or not.  I’d hate to disappoint him.  We’re looking daily at who is available at the local animal shelter, so hopefully this wild idea will come true soon.

By the way, I had to miss the Two Bays 28k and 56k race last Sunday, with these injuries.  I was terribly disappointed, but also super-inspired by the stories of the runners who completed the event.  To toe up at the start line for a run like that takes guts.  Thanks for the inspiration, Two Bay runners!