When I started this blog a couple of years ago, I called it "Working out With Tek" because I thought of Jason Varitek as my imaginary trainer. At the time, my son's bedroom was off the living room and I could see Tek looking down on me from the wall from the spot where I'd work out. I could imagine him telling me to quit whining and keep going. When the going gets a little rough or challenging, I can see him in my mind's eye pushing me through to the end.
Yesterday I was brave enough to run again and I again needed my imaginary trainer to help.
The PT gave me the OK to run 1 mile only and to wear the brace when I did so. Finally the one thing I had been pining away for was about to become a reality - but I couldn't do it. There was this lingering fear in the back of my head: what if I roll my ankle again? There's uneven pavement, curbs, potholes and other hazards... can I bear to go through all this again so soon?
I couldn't bring myself to lace up my shoes and head out the door - so I figured maybe if I went to the gym and ran on the treadmill: no pot holes, curbs or uneven pavement. In fact I would even have the belt to help me along. But even that has it's own set of fears as well.
It took me a couple of hours to get to the gym as I decided I needed to run errands first. In fact, it took an awful lot not to say, "Screw it, I'm getting a pedicure!" when I walked past the nail place. Because I delayed things the way I did the gym was empty when I got there. I changed up and headed for the treadmill behind the pole - my usual station. Once on there, it was a matter of what playlist was I going to opt for and I ended up going with my baseball music.
Setting off, I walked for 5 minutes as a warm up through "The Star Spangled Banner" and "The Ballad of Yankees Suck." But then I started running to Jonathan Richman singing "As We Walked to Fenway Park." It's easy to run through songs like "Centerfield" that are designed to get the blood pumping and for 5 minutes I was good - but my fitness level has really declined over the past 6 weeks and it was almost painful pushing myself through the last part of the 5 minutes - which should be no big deal.
After walking a little more I was thinking about bagging it. I had run 1/3 of a mile and maybe that should be enough for a first time out and that's when I saw my virtual coach hitting the 2 run homer against Cleveland the night before as the song "Heart" from "Damn Yankees" came on my iPod. I could remember the look on his face as he stepped into the batter's box and faced the pitches. I remember the look on his face as the ball kept going as he rounded first base and the arm pump as it bounced off the top of the wall.
If Tek could reach down and find hope, well maybe then I needed to as well.
I punched up the speed to my 12 minute pace and promised myself I'd hold it for at least 2 minutes until the end of the song - that's when I got a cosmic push to the song "Dirty Water." For those of you who know the Sox, you know the home win ritual is they play "Dirty Water" by the Standells and followed by "Tessie" by the Dropkick Murphys - which was written as an anthem for the 2004 Sox early on in the season long before there were any thoughts of the post season playoffs and World Series. To be a Sox fan and hear those songs back-to-back can be an inspirational thing when your determination is flagging.
Yesterday they played just that way and kept me running for the additional 7 minutes I needed inspiration.
In the end I probably ran a hair more than a mile broken up by a bit of walking in the middle and I ran for 10 minutes solid in the end. It may be small in the grand scheme of things, but it was a major feat in overcoming my fears.