I’ve come to talk to you again.
Now that I’ve got that wholly necessary Simon and Garfunkel reference out of the way, I feel I must explain why I allowed this blog to languish and die over the last year:
Reason No. 1: I am a lazy asshole.
Reason No. 2: See reason No. 1.
For awhile, I was running a lot but not writing because I was busy. Then I stopped running because of various injuries and fell into that good ‘ol Injury Black Hole™, where you’re forced to recuperate then you decide it’s kinda nice to sit around and do nothing and then it’s too hot or too cold or you’re tired and you become a TV-addicted bum who frequently eats entire bags of tortilla chips in one sitting. At least, that’s what it’s like for me. I can only speak for myself. Obviously, thinking about this blog made me feel guilty for my laziness, especially since one of my last posts was about running no matter how much you don’t want to. Reading my own words made me feel kind of like a hypocritical prick.
But, I’m back at it again. Here’s a quick summary of my life during my year of radio silence.
After my last post, I picked up my training and ran a couple forty-mile weeks. I was getting pretty fast. Then, everything below my knees blew up and died and I had to stop running for a month.
I spent a semester in Chicago as an Undergraduate Research Fellow at the Newberry Library. It was one of the best experiences of my life.
I ran a lot in Chicago. My apartment was only a couple blocks away from the lake, and I ran on the Lakeshore Trail almost daily. Running along Lake Michigan is amazing. On a sunny afternoon or a clear fall night, the view of Chicago’s skyline to one side and the water on the other is absolutely breathtaking. I would frequently weep uncontrollably from the beauty during my runs. I started to put in miles and get fast again.
However, my research started to take a toll on me, physically and mentally. It was a graduate-level program, and I spent a lot of time hunched over documents and taking notes. I was able to write a super kick-ass fifty-five page paper about hoboes and their alternative educational institutions in the Jazz Age, but at great cost to my back.
I also got food poisoning from not washing some raspberries I got at a farmer’s market. Thanks a lot, farmers. Wash your fruit next time, dicks.
I returned from a run one day and took a mental inventory. My knees hurt, my back hurt, my feet hurt, and my ankles hurt. Clearly, there was something wrong somewhere. Looking in the mirror, I could see that there was definitely something wrong with my back. My spine was not straight. This was the last run I went on for awhile.
After that, I continued to have a great time in the Windy City. When I returned home to Kalamazoo, I tried to get into physical therapy. It took almost four months. During this time of not running, I got way fatter. I’m like 215ish now, up from 195 when I left. I was just like “Hey, let’s jam a bunch of unhealthy things into my cakehole! It’ll be okay! My actions don’t have consequences!”
Physical therapy really helped me. However, I forgot to make an appointment, and I just sort of stopped going. Really dropped the ball on that one.
This wasn’t Lupus’s fault, either. I’ve managed to keep the disease completely under control. It was all me, baby.
Finally, I signed up for an individual fitness class at school. Basically, individual fitness classes are like gym classes except that all you have to do is lie and say you exercised for two hours and you get credit. The first week, I realized that I had not actually exercised at all until the night before the class.
Out of sheer shame, I ran two miles. Thank goodness. The hardest run is the first, and every successive run gets easier. I’ve gone for four runs of about 2-3 miles, and it’s getting easier every time. It’s still super painful, because I’m really fat and out of shape, but I’m improving each time I got out. I’m starting to get into a routine, and my life is becoming more balanced.
So, I’m in the same place I am every spring: square one. I quit running when things got difficult in the winter. Now that the weather’s nice and the birds are chirping, my calves are hurting and I’m sweating and I’m loving it. I’ve got my sights set on the Kalamazoo Klassic, the 5k that humbles me every year after I come off of my winter layoff. Visions of future marathons and new PRs and training schedules and gnarly workouts are dancing in my head.
Will I follow through this time? Will I take it slow and avoid hurting myself? Will I keep running throughout the winter? Are Things Finally Going to Be Different This Time?
Who knows? Let’s hope so. I’m as excited as I always am to begin again.