Tuesday, I had the bright idea to make my running more challenging. I had already jogged a steady mile at a 9:50 pace. Slower than I used to run before but better than I had since the injury. My running brain came up with a bright (not) idea: since I was already on a track, why not try intervals? You know, just a little speedwork. Just to see how it goes. So said the running maniac part of my brain. The same part of the brain responsible for my fascination with marathons and my determination to be a Maniac someday. Well, my friends and family say I’m already a Maniac. Anyone who runs one marathon must be crazy. I run 3 or 4 a year. That means I must be a maniac and ready for some serious therapy help.
So, I listened to my crazy running brain. It started off innocently enough. Just a nice warm up jog. Hmmm… I’m at the 200 meter mark, how about a nice pick up? My feet start running faster, my crazy running brain took over. The first 200 went well. It actually felt good to run a little faster than my usual post-concussion shuffle. It felt like I was sprinting faster than I ever have but I’m sure it really wasn’t an earth shattering pace. I slowed to a nice recovery jog. The second 200 went smoothly. A nice start with a pick up to the end. I started feeling a little odd, but no worse than the first time I walked/ jogged after the concussion. I can handle it. I slowed to a nice jog again. Since it went so well, how about another 200? The mark came and off I went. This time, I felt fairly queasy at the end. And I’ sure my stride looked like a drunk trying to run. But, still, I was running! Not jogging, not walking, running! Oh, the JOY! My recovery jog was much slower and less steady.
My smart mind pipes up: maybe that’s enough? My stomach is in rebellion, warning of imminent eruption of nastiness. I’m slightly dizzy but I can still find the track. Good enough: My running brain immediately quashes the thought of stopping at three. Endorphins! I hit the 200m mark for the fourth time. Off I go. I’m sure I’m staggering between the lines of the track now. But, I make it to the finish line. I stop, stagger to the side, and greet an old friend “Ralph.” We had a few words in conversation.
I stagger over to my water bottle, located handily in the shade, and plop down to rest. I lay on my back and watch the world tilting and whirling. Who needs an amusement park when you can run with post concussion syndrome? I rest until the world rights itself and my stomach returns to normal.
I get up and walk a cool down lap. I return home, shower, drink some Gatorade, and sleep for three hours.
When I wake, I wonder… was that worth it? My smart brain immediately starts the lecture about recovery from head injury and being safe. “Take time to heal. Running to you puke isn’t a good thing.” My running brain agrees reluctantly, then mutters “But, it was running. Maybe next week….”