I have been having a terrible time running for the past month. For the first time ever, I am dealing with a real injury and it is not going well.

At first I thought I had an annoying and reoccurring cramp in my calf. I couldn’t get past a mile without having to turn and limp home. Which didn’t stop me from attempting to get on with the running, already! Every couple of days I’d head out, make it as far as the parkway and be forced to turn back, swearing mightily the whole time. This went on long enough to become embarrassing, as I proved myself to be more than a little slow on the uptake. When I’m feeling generous, I remind myself that I had no previous experience ever with a sports injury. I spent my entire young life attempting to get OUT of physical activity, thank you very much. And besides, I was employing my entire knowledge of rehabilitation, which was limited to the phrase I’d heard so often in the movies– “Walk it off.”

Oddly, this didn’t seem to help at all.

“But I’m being so good,” I argued, “so reasonable. So conscientious.”

What I meant was that I had swapped my high impact running for stair climbing and lower body strength training and extensive stretching. Eventually, a friend who has a long history of athletics clued me in that I didn’t have a cramp, I probably had a torn calf muscle.

Hey! Guess what is terrible for a torn calf muscle!  Stair climbing and lower body strength training and extensive stretching, of course.

The whole thing is making me so darn crabby. Hubby thinks I should just simmer down. To him this is just a natural and inevitable occurrence. Between you and me, if he tells me one more time that this is normal for “people our age” I am going to smack him with my running shoe.

“I am not bound by everybody else’s poor genetics!” I holler back, aware as I say it that it sounds ludicrously naive, but aware too, that on a deep level I believe it. I still feel largely invincible, as if I am going to sail through the second half of my life with exactly the same vigor and enthusiasm and glowing good health as the first. There is a chance that, with this attitude, the next several decades are going to be a string of disappointments, but for now I refuse to accept it.

And its all starting with this stupid calf muscle. Grrrr. Apparently I can use the elliptical and the rowing machine. Which is just ducky. For fun, guess the two machines at the gym that I pretty much hate. Yup. The elliptical and the rowing machine. I also hate upper body weight training which I am, of course, free to do.

Underscoring the whole experience is the fact that Kirk and I are supposed to run a 10k on New Year’s Day. The way it looks now, I won’t be running much at all until then. I can only imagine that it’s going to go brilliantly, but someone better alert those Alpine rescue St. Bernards, just in case. You know, the ones with those wooden kegs of brandy around their necks?  Tell them to make mine a double. I’m going to need it.

The Rise & Fall of a Momocracy

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