There is a time in life when everything is about to happen. A few moments when it does. And then a time shortly after when it resumes. And now it is resuming.
Looking backwards through the smoke and rubble of the past was a four week long holiday; a helter-skelter technology-hamstrung four weeks in the office; the hustle and/or bustle of the Christmas period travels and feasting; the marathon and its anticipation; the struggle for fitness and confidence in my own health; work stretching me to the limit while I still focussed mainly on running... that backward glance was a busy 6-7 months. And now I can look ahead to a comparatively anodyne and relaxed "start to the year".
It does feel like a beginning, a reset. There is nothing on the horizon. There's just life, routine and simplicity.
Today was the first Friday since I came back. Everything has fit together. It started at 5am in the morning with a 10km run. This was the longest run since late December. In the 2.5 months before this run, I'd run a mere 52.7km, and it's been a challenge of restraint, stupidity and desire. My left knee which had been a nuisance since August 2017 got really stroppy with me after bouncing on a trampoline on New Year's Eve, and I struggle to run more than 3km in a single sitting. I strengthened and waited but it still bothered me till eventually I went back to the physio, who redirected me onto a specialist. With him I had my first MRI of my life. Regrettably that was just a few days before our trip to China. Less than 48 hours before departing the result came out was interpreted by my physio and said onto me: Keep strengthening, don't stop running.
So I did. I ran in the village for the first time ever. It was a thrill. But I was thwarted twice over: while sitting feasting and drinking I suddenly turned to my left and felt a pinch around my ribs; anesthetised by the drink I didn't notice for long; the next day I noticed my ankle was a bit sore pre-run. This is relatively normal for me. I have flat feet and they are never 100% happy to be feet, let alone running. As this was a feeling similar to what I had had before, I ran despite it. But the run after it though feeling OK at the time had a huge effect. My ribs ached and my ankle twinged. My ribs were sore with any movement so my plan of exercise went out the window. That alone would have precluded running but even if it hadn't, my swollen ankle was going to be an obstacle. And then in this pain, we travelled to Chengdu with heavy suitcases... After which it felt marginally better. Then we went to Guangzhou last week where I ran again but regretted it afterwards, feeling beaten up and miserable.
My specialist had booked me this morning so I decided that I had to know how my knee was and chose to run 3km. My knee was fine it appeared, but concern for my ribs and ankle cut the run short. The next day however I didn't have any after effects, which led me to today.
My alarm rang out at 5am. I didn't like it. I got up nonetheless. I could still feel the discomfort in my ankle but after a walk down the hall it wasn't obvious. I kitted up and went for a run. I pushed it - 10km is a reasonable morning effort. I felt the same as I had after 3km. My knee didn't irk me at all, but my ribs and ankle were clearly urging me to finish. I showered and went to the specialist who showed me the MRI scans: I'd split my tendinosus (a tendon). But he was taken aback that I ran 10km without discomfort and said I should still do strengthening work (which I will do). And now I have the challenging choice. I was silly enough to book a half marathon for Sunday. I might try it and try only to get to the end. I'll rest well, strengthen and think about it.
But that was all sorted at 7:25am. The day was still yet to get on with itself! I headed home, picked up the wife, headed to work and observed a teacher. He's a nice fellow who was introduced to our school while I was away. He's an awesome teacher and even more awesome because he likes our place and thinks I'm an OK kinda guy, and is best friends with our senior teacher. Good teachers set us up for stability. Then out the door I met my boss, who had the talk I'd hoped for. And she gave me the answers I wanted. So I feel happy staying where I am. We had a nice staff lunch and after a korean dinner with soju, I feel a nice calm with the year ahead.
It's time to resume and I like where this is going.