Running Substitution

I think there are times when most runners have a break from running due to injury or other reasons. This is one of my times. It has only been a month or so, but the reality is that I have to continue staying off my leg. My doctor has ruled out several things, including a mere sprain, which she says would have cleared up by now, a blood clot, and problematic blood vessels. I was very relieved to know I don’t have any of these issues.

However, my left ankle and calf are still as swollen as they were. I went back to my doctor this morning, and she is perplexed. She wants to now rule out some kind of unilateral edema (though she said that would be rare) and an issue with a cyst that they noticed on the ultrasound. If that would have ruptured, it could have caused swelling. I wasn’t able to get more tests until June 28th (the ultrasound is abdominal and has to be done after fasting, so has to be in the morning). So, just more waiting. While it is aggravating, it is by no means the end of the world. It’s just a another hiccup in the so-far lame year of running, which has been intermittent and not-regular compared to the two years before.

Doc said I could cycle and swim. We have bikes, so I will go out the next time it’s not pouring rain. Swimming is a bit harder, as the community pools are excessively crowded and the nearby lakes as well–if you can’t get there super early, there really is no parking either. If I do get outside, as with running, I prefer not being around big crowds of people anyway.

I told my doctor that I was bummed, because in three weeks we’re visiting Indiana and I really wanted to hike on trail three at Turkey Run. I was kind of babbling on and said, “Maybe I should anyway!” And she winked and said, “I would.” (She’s also a hiker.) So while I am supposed to stay off this foot and leg for the most part, I am going to hike at Turkey Run, so I am excited about that.

I think of bicycling as the most practical substitute for now. The reason I was so turned on to running as a sport is that you don’t have to really drive anywhere to do it. It’s a hassle-free sport unless you need a lot of gadgets, which I do not. I carry my phone (for music) in an old waterproof fanny type pack, which I have had for a long time–and any water–and just go. Bikers don’t need to drive anywhere to go biking either, though plenty do. But I can just hop on and go, and really it is not that far to hit some trails.

My favorite running place nearby is Mundy Park, and oh do I miss that place. I miss the sweat, the calls of bullfrogs, the tall rainforest cedars and the ground ferns. Mundy Park, I think, has some bike tails, which would be great!

Mostly I am just missing out on the outdoor wonder of this time of year. The workplace is slowing down, so I am coming out of that busy haze. I’m back to writing and editing and having time to work with authors for more interviews this summer.

For the first time this past week I’ve had time to actually go outside at length–watching my peas, kale, beans, strawberries, and arugula in the evening or just being outside on the deck or back yard on the weekends. On Friday nights I have propped myself out on the back deck, admiring the growing vegetables and the Ojochin cherry tree, which is doing wonderfully. Though it finally stopped raining and we were able to mow down the jungle in the yard (we got a new electric mower), there are parts of the yard that are teeming with wildflowers, wild blackberries, buttercups, and an assortment of foliage–the part behind the yard is a jungle still, and I’m not even sure what is back there. I’m sure at one point it may have been landscaped, but when we moved in it was all wild and overgrown, and we’ve kept it that way. It’s just about a five-foot deep area that parallels the entire width of the yard and, on the other side, a high wooden fence. I like wild, so it stays that way.

The Ojochin cherry tree is growing!

On Friday nights I like to sit out on the deck talking with my mom. She is fun to talk with, and is like a best friend in many ways. It is getting dark here later and later; on weeknights when we go to bed (since we have to get up so early), it is still light. So I sit on the deck until sometimes ten or later, and it is still light, and I hope Miss Skunk under the deck doesn’t come and pay me a visit as I chat with my mother. I wonder, with all the bears sighted around here already, if one will check out our yard soon–though the blackberries won’t ripen for several weeks.

I love those nights or weekend days, where the backyard is my ecosystem, and I am connected to the only living person who has known me my entire life. After talking with Mom, I hang up and linger, admiring the sky and the foliage and any fauna I might see. Sometimes Morgan hangs out with me, and I’m looking forward to a summer party with friends in August. I love the flowery scents and sounds of the wind and sometimes rain.

So not running on trails is hard, but it hasn’t cut out my being outdoors. And not being able to run and hike isn’t going to cut out all my summer activity. I was really relieved to know that I can bike now.


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