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July 1, 1999
a year ago

First Tries

Running sucks rocks.

It doesn't just suck little rocks. It sucks boulders. Great, big boulders with barnacles and sea urchins in all the crevices and slimy seaweed draped all over.

Guess I'm going to have to do it again, though.

The first problem was the brace. I am not used to it, not used to this multi-tentacled monster strapped to my joint. More velcro than I've seen since my full-leg brace. A big strap just at the top of the calf, then four other straps, none of which I knew just how tight or how loose to make them. So in the first 20 yards, I has to stop to loosen some, tighten others and swear at the two pads on either side of my knee that was keeping it very, very, very tightly in place. They'll probably be the things that make it entirely impossible for me to hurt my knee again; but, man, they really hurt until they settled into place.

A few more stops for adjustments and another 30 yards, and then, magically, it settled into place. No more bad pressures spots, or at least none that I could tell. The only problem left was that it took effort to get it to open until my leg was completely straight and more effort to bend it past a certain point so that I could bend my leg as much as I wanted to in lifting it for the next step. It was nearly like learning to walk again. Well, that and the fact that my other knee would occasionally bang into the brace on the near side and since the brace was metal I have a few small bruises on my other knee now.

Aside from all that was the simple fact that I'm out of shape. That I haven't run since January of *last* year. Add to that that I'm at a much higher altitude and that my knees are crunchy since that accident and that I started running on good, old blacktop road instead of the nice soft fields that I used to play soccer on; and it made for quite the suckful experience. Especially after the 20 minutes of struggling to just keep moving and getting back to the house only to get tackled by bad cramps.

I was just cussing a blue streak on the porch when they hit. Lay down because I was getting lightheaded too from everything else, and just cussed and cussed and cussed because there really isn't anything I could do at that point but ride it out. Fezzik came out and licked me a lot as I cussed and John came out and asked if there was anything he could do to help, but was really good when I said that there really wasn't anything, though he did suggest a runner's stretch for gut cramps that did help me some. What was most infuriating was that during the run none of this seemed like it was going to happen. In my head I was thinking the whole time that I was running was that I wasn't pushing myself hard enough and that I should be pushing harder. Now I know better.

What was really bad, though, was remembering. Remembering how easy it was to run when I was playing soccer not all that long ago. Remembering how simple a motion it was to just get from Here to There without effort or real thought about the mechanics. That's what nearly had me crying right then and there. It's so fucking hard now.

But I didn't get there before without effort, without countless afternoons and evenings of cramps, swearing and stretching and restless nights with muscles that ached and lots and lots and lots of learning about how to get my body to really do it right. I do remember that, too. That it will get better.

John was a sweety three times over. First by make dinner while I went out to do all this. Second by not even offering to come along. I have a feeling I would have felt much worse in comparison with him if there had been any opportunity for that. Third by thanking me for not asking him to come along. That really amused me, afterwards. He also was really, really good about not insisting on helping me when I said that there was nothing that could really be done and he did really good at not taking my emotional reaction to himself. That the swearing had nothing to do with him and he did really well about letting that just all roll off him.

Fezzik stuck by me all night, though. Most evenings, lately, he's gone off on his own outside as soon as we'll let him out and he's preferred lying out on the lawn, watching the moon and stars and neighborhood to being inside with us. But tonight he's stuck on my heels, I think he was worried about earlier, and he was just lying by me, watching me while I watched the women's World Cup play.

So I'm signed up with the Jenny's to go swimming on Saturday. That can't be this hard. Just fifteen to thirty minutes of swimming, no distance goals. I might be fooling myself, but I have to try.

The taco salad tasted wonderful after all that. John had put a bed of lettuce down, then cooked garlic, onions and ground beef with a can of pinto beans and put that down, then added grated cheese, tomatos, and crushed tortilla chips on that. Kinda like a taco without a shell. It was really, really good and it's one of the things that I really enjoy eating and which John really makes well.

The Nigerian/Brazilian game was really interesting to watch in the second half. Brazil had dominated the first half of play, and Nigeria cranked it up after it looked like they were just going to be blown out 3-0. It was a really gutty come-back. Sissi's winning shot, though, was a thing of beauty.

Sleep was simple after that, even in all the heat.

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