It is often said that one misses what one has lost; hopefully I hadn’t lost running, though as this hiatus is getting longer and longer, the feeling is horrifyingly close.
While talking with friends, acquaintances, and colleagues, they often inquire about my recovery or how my tendon is doing. I sincerely appreciate being asked about it, partly as a way to rationalize and not to plunge into the depth of my despair and terror, and partly because it sounds like they understand why I so dearly miss it; probably unreasonable to them I miss the hardest of the workouts, the 23 milers and “speed” sessions at the track — I read once that long distance runners never do true speedwork, hence the “speed” — I long for the red oval and its 6 lanes.
As I’m explaining for n’th time what tendinopathy is, I realize they can’t fathom why I’m loving running. (And probably for the longest time I didn’t myself.) Invariably they ask if I was switching to cycling, if not definitely, at least for the time being. To me, it’s like asking whether a coffee-lover would consider switching to barley; they might in the time of war, but once coffee stops being rationed, any coffee-lover true to their name would go back to their regular cup of joe. (Barley was used throughout Europe as a coffee substitute during World War 2.)
I understand where they’re coming from; after all, I bore myself to death on the bike or on the elliptical for the exact same reason: they, ellipticals and bikes, are good substitute for a cardio workout — they allow to put a moderate amount of (cross-)training while I can’t train.
All this is fine. What feels odd to me is their inability of seeing that this is a substitute, like barley coffee, which I don’t truly like. It seems to me that they can’t fathom someone who doesn’t like cycling.
Their reasoning goes pretty much along those lines: but you’re going faster than running, but going downhill is exhilarating, but … it’s awesome and running is boring.
For some reasons I never understood why I never considered running boring, while cycling kills my joy of living. I never until when, once again, I was pressed to explain why I consider running superior to cycling.
Upon much thought, I came to the simplest of conclusions: running is freedom, while cycling forces a certain movement on me. On a bike, I always feel constrained, tied to the machine in a pre-codified motion from which I can not depart. Running is instead natural, it falls on me like a well-worn shirt, and my legs and body follow a motion which is truly mine. In one word, I am happy.
It shouldn’t surprise why this injury who overstayed its welcome terrifies me…