I have always known that at last I would take this road.
But, yesterday, I did not know it would be today.
I read that Kenneth Rexroth poem in college (from his book, One Hundred Poems from the Japanese) and it always stuck with me. The inevitability of life. That there were certain roads we would all have to take, but youth or pride or youthful pride, made us think that the road was very far away.
And it is.
Until it isn’t.
Then, you must face it and you must deal with whatever lies on that road.
These musings came to me today as today is the day that I understand and, more importantly accept, that I will never run again. I will never again be a ‘runner’. I will never again know the joy of lacing up my sneaks and hitting the road. Of sprinting. Of pounding out some miles to clear my head. Of feeling that delicious burn in my lungs. Of talking to God as I settle in to my pace.
And, yes, I knew this day would come. But, truly, I thought I would be 77 and running would just not be a good idea anymore. I never thought I would be taken out by a slightly twisted spine.
Know I’ve done everything possible to make this not so. I’ve been to numerous physical therapists, a spine specialist, an acupuncturist, a chiropractor, done massage, and even read a book that was guaranteed to heal me. I’ve heard endless stories of how people beat their own back injury.
But, one leg is shorter than the other and the twist in my spine makes my pelvis splay outward on the opposite side. Each therapist, etc, has told me that running is not a good idea. That if I continue to do it, I will cause irreparable damage. I can honestly say that I hit that space years ago. I am in the irreparable damage now...it is here. So, the goal is to get me to be able to live life with the minimum amount of pain. The list is long of athletic type things I’ll never be able to do again. Everyday stuff, too.
I’ve been in denial for quite a while. I normally bounce back quickly from injury and I just didn’t want to believe that an accumulation of random incidents from my life could take me out. Gymnastics. A bike crash here. A fall there. The way I walk. The way my body adjusted to a shorter leg and a twisted spine.
I don’t want limits on my life! I want my body to do what I ask it to do! I don’t want to be a pudgesicle!
But, alas, today is the day I have to walk on this new road. And I really, really, really don’t want to. It brings up too many questions I have no answers for…who am I if I am not athletic? How will I adjust to a non-athletic body? How will I pump myself up to think of walking as exercise? What am I going to do with all these water bottles? Who invented liquid soap and why? (My undying love and affection if you get the movie reference.)
And I know I will do what I am not supposed to do…I will go for a run. If I can never run again, the last run is going to be on my terms. It is the last bit of control I have in the situation. It will hurt. It will set back my therapy. But, it will be done. I will gather myself and go out alone and run. No dogs. No music. I will say good-bye. I will bid a fond farewell to something I have done all my life. I will let it go with as much grace as I can muster.
Just me, God, and the pounding of my shoes on the pavement.