Running — And Hoping for the Best

Well here goes. It’s early Sunday morning. And as soon as I hit the publish button I’m going to get up and push out the door for an early-morning run. I’ve been doing that now for more than 30 years, rarely missing a Sunday run unless traveling. And Sunday used to be the best run of the week. I’d meet friends Walter, Jerry and others, and we would hit the towpath trail or the state park.

It was excellent exercise to be sure. But it was also a way to talk to friends. A way to catch up on events, both personal and relating to the world around us. No need for Twitter, Facebook and other social media in those days. I digress.

Those Sunday morning runs came to an end more than a decade ago. Things change, people relocate, and nagging injuries have a way of stealing the joy from running. It’s not all that easy to set out in the dark, with no one else on the roads or trails, even when the weather is favorable.

That’s where I’m at now. As I wrote last week, I finally went to see a foot specialist for the injury I have been dealing with since April. Good news? Nah. I have in my left foot second metatarsal joint sesamoiditis. In other words, every time the ball of my foot hits the ground the pain radiates into my toes. It’s not a serious injury — unless you want to have the ball of your foot strike the ground every second or so over the course of a 50 minute (or longer) run.

And there isn’t much I can do. No surgery. No cortisone shots. Just try to find a good metatarsal pad that cushions the shock. And then eventually move off the road and track and onto the dreadmill and the elliptical trainer. Good advice. I guess.

It’s tough to stop doing something you have enjoyed for three decades or more.

And clearly there is a day coming when I’ll have to stop running and do something else.

But today ain’t that day.

UPDATE: I managed to finish the five-mile run this morning. And my foot didn’t throb with pain  for maybe five minutes or so of the 60 I was pounding the concrete. Maybe the endorphins kicked in. Go figure.

But saying that, what a great morning: cool, clear and not another human or vehicle to be seen until I was almost finished at around 6:45. I enjoy the quiet and the time to think. Can’t match that on the dreadmill or the elliptical.

So I’m still running — and hoping for the best.

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