The First Run Back
Whenever I take a couple of days off of exercise, I can tell by the feeling in my chest. Some people have exercised-induced asthma. I seemingly have the exact opposite. My chest gets constricted. It's hard to breathe. I wease. The first run back is the worst.
To compound the unpleasantry, it was cold and there was snow on the ground. In normal winters, this wouldn't be a problem at this time of the year. The 2011-12 winter season has been especially kind to runners. This weekend proved divergent from the norm. The temps were at least 3º below freezing. The horror. The night before, a minimum of a quarter of an inch of snow fell. The conditions set were at maximum crappy. (I know this is the internet, but your sarcasm meter has to be dinging right about now.)
As if I didn't have the chest pain, lack of stamina, and sluggishness that accompanied that fateful first run, I had the sub-arctic conditions compounding my slow speeds. If this is the way the rest of the world feels when they start running, I totally understand why sedentarianism trumps working out. Fortunately for me, the feeling lasts just one run assuming that I can continue not not-running. Until that time, I had to suck it up on this dreary of experiences.
Season Ending Injury?
When heading out into the frost, one must observe winter running rules. In the form of clothing, layers are encouraged. Ear warmers and gloves are a must. Accelerating should be done at a Yugo pace. The same for decelerating. I know all of this.
I also know that caution should be taken when going around corners. Snow removal is poor at best in non-vehicle venues. At any point, white may give way to something more heinous. For those of you who are treadmillians, cornering is not a skill that you need. Running outside requires a special set of strategies. Let me teach you the proper way to turn a corner.
For those of us courageous enough to brave the elements, one must start the deceleration process well in advance of the aformentioned turn. The fastest way around a turn is to take the inside tangent. In the winter time, it is also the fastest way to riding the pavement. Never, and I seriously mean never, should you take a turn at 90º. That is a recipe for disaster. Turns should be taken wide and slowly.
Now, to summarize the run thus far, I am asthmatic. I am cold. I am slow. I cannot accelerate. I cannot decelerate. I must take turns at a girth much larger than usual. My pace for this run was significantly less than spectacular.
Mid-run, it happened. I was doing everything correctly. Slow. Steady. Wide. Bam. Down goes the Banter. I was probably hitting a 3.2 mph stride when the coefficient of friction between my shoes and the ground changed dramatically. Absent the wonderful force of friction, as is the case when hard rubber pulls backwards on ice, my shoddy momentum kept my upper body moving faster than my lower. I landed on all fours. The dog laughed at me. Both wrists were smarting. But the grunt of the action was firmly planted on my right knee.
I hobbled back home at a pace, if you can believe it, slower than before. I peeled of my layers in an effort to view the damage. By now, my wrists were beginning to recover. My left knee had improved. The right knee continued to be a concern. I'm in a bad place right now. It still hurts. I am not sure that I can continue. I may have to visit a doctor. Surgery. Rehab. Physical therapy. I just might have to spend the rest of my running life in a brace.
I've included a picture of the wound. It is not for the weak hearted. If you have children, parental discretion is advised. It may not be safe for work. Steady yourself and let me know if you think it is as bad as I think.