Today was the day, friends. A triumphant day. National Running Day. Without even realizing it at the time, I scheduled my 6-weeks post-op appointments with my neurosurgeon and head physical therapist out in Colorado for National Running Day. When I realized the significance of the day last week, I was almost beside myself with glee. Surely they will give me good news on National Running Day. They have to! It would be cruel not to. Yes, my triumphant return to running would undoubtedly take place today, on National Running Day. It was almost too perfect. I optimistically wore running clothes and a new pair of running shoes to the doctors in celebration of the occasion because, let’s be honest, I was clearly going to run out the door of the office and make a break for the open road.
My first appointment today was with my neurosurgeon’s PA. When I got my surgery, Dr. V said that in a best case scenario, I’d be able to start running again in 6 weeks. Well, so far, all signs from both of my physical therapists have pointed to a “best case scenario.” I’ve had occasional sciatica pain, but nothing like what I used to, and I’ve been diligent about doing my exercises. Sure, I may take it too far sometimes, but by all accounts, things are going even better than expected. So I asked Alex, the PA, if it would be ok to start running again, and he said “I’ll leave that up to Bob (physical therapist) to decide, but I don’t see why not.” He also said that if I wanted to, I could start doing yoga and barre classes as long as I was appropriately cautious. Actually, I think he said “use common sense,” and I almost laughed out loud because clearly, common sense is not my area. Anyway, I left the office optimistic and looking forward to my appointment with Bob, who was sure to tell me what a superstar recoverer I am and that yes, National Running Day would be an excellent day to start again.
Except Bob didn’t say that.
In fact, I’m not even sure I can totally recreate what Bob said because I was in such a whirlwind of confusion, disbelief, and well hidden rage. When I mentioned that Dr. V had said I could run again in 6 weeks in a best case scenario but that it was up to Bob to make the final call, Bob said “Oh. Well, you are a best case scenario, but my best case scenario is 8 weeks. So you’ve got 2 more weeks.” And all I could think was, “Why the hell did I fly to Colorado for a 6 week checkup then?” Because I remember telling him back before I left that I would come back for a 6 week assessment since that’s when Dr. V said I might be able to start running again, and Bob said that sounded good.
It got even worse when Bob wrote out my running plan for the first 4 weeks after I’m allowed to start again. It is way worse than I imagined. It makes Couch to 5k look downright ambitious. Two days a week, people. Of 1 minute walking and 1 minute running, 10 times. Oooh, and then the next week I get to do…still two days a week. Ughhhhhhhh. And then he told me I can’t bike for an hour yet. Rude. And then he told me I’m not allowed to start doing yoga or barre classes until I’m 12 weeks post-op. REALLY RUDE.
So I did what I always do when I’m upset, which is to say I ignored texts from friends and family members and
drank all the beer I could find went somewhere to be by myself. Luckily, one of my favorite hiking trails in the world, Sunshine Canyon, is in Boulder, and I figured if anything could cheer me up, it would.
It didn’t work. I did, however, mostly get over myself when I remembered that Bob treats Chrissie Wellington, undefeated Ironman World Champion. Chrissie freaking Wellington trusts Bob and listens to him. If Chrissie Wellington does not know better than Bob, then I do not know better than Bob, and even though I might not like his idea of a best case scenario, I have to respect it.
Bob did say that, one way or another, I’ll be able to finish the Moonlight Miles 10k in Grand Junction, CO on July 12th. In honor of National Running Day and thanks to Starunner Enterprises, I’m giving away a free entry to either the 10k or the half marathon, so come join me! Oh, and just in case you’re looking to get Women’s Running Magazine on the cheap so you can read my column (starting in JULY!!!), they’re having an awesome promotion for National Running Day! Get it now!