It’s sobering how long my hamstring is taking to heal. I stopped doing long runs, hills, and speedwork 4 weeks ago, cut my mileage to 60% of what it used to be 3 weeks ago, and my left leg is still yapping. I did race very short distances twice, but at the same time my hamstring wasn’t in bad shape when I stepped away from the training plan. I only had minor inflammation of the high tendons where the hamstrings attach to the pelvis, literally a pain in the ass, but it wasn’t a strain or a tear — nothing severe enough to consult a doctor or physical therapist. For the first week I thought I was being overly paranoid because I tore that hamstring badly once.
While I can’t dispute that healing might have gone faster if I hadn’t raced, there was steady improvement after each race, too. I’ve decided that I can’t risk racing a third time, but it was important to line up at least once this spring. It marks a year since I signed up for my last race, the Santa Barbara Endurance Race 25K which I didn’t line up for. I had a bad fever the night before; eventually the flu went into my chest and lungs and bloomed there into pneumonia. When I was hospitalised for those complications, doctors found a tumour wrapped around my spinal cord.
The road back has been too long, too many loving hands have cooked me hot meals, led me around the block or down to the ocean, cradled my head when I shed tears of anger and frustration. The second, third, nth… chances I’ve been given deserve more care and respect than I’ve been showing them. Running is so elemental, I forget that none of us is entitled to it.