Delayed Onset Dumb-Assed Running

DODAR, nounish, “Delayed Onset to Dumb-Arsed Running”

With the onset of the sixth week of turning back to the car, bike, or house
because of the pain as I tried to run, the idea of having a doctor look at
my leg crossed my mind. The visit went okay, more or less–more because he
said there was nothing major wrong with my Achilles tendon–less because he
told me I shouldn’t do “that” again. The “that” had brought a smile to his
face. I think there was a bit of empathy too, maybe a smidgen of sympathy.
He had been listening, nodding in support, then smiled and almost chuckled
when I described what I done to create the “that.”

It was in late July, a wonderfully warm and almost windless day. We did
not want to wander here and there on our well-shaded trails. We wanted out
in the sun. We decided to go to Padilla Bay. There is a 2-1/8th of a mile
gravel-surfaced walking path alongside the huge tidal basin. An almost
flat ribbon with no roots or rocks to trip over, plenty of room for passing
or meeting other people, and, something to be damned and double-damned
later on, markers every 1/18th of a mile.

We don’t get many days with temperatures above 62ºF on the island. I
parked and we got out. The warm air (about 70ºF) plus the clear and
windless sky brought forth the illusive memory of muscles being warm and
flexible. I said I was going to alternate running and walking the eighths
of a miles to the other end. Forgetting, or neglecting, the idea that I
tend to always go out in a blaze of glory (followed by an early and
dramatic death) I started… wait! What’s this? I have my genuine
runner’s watch on; some rarely worn for trail outings. I was only a few
yards down the path. I stopped and returned to the “0” sign. I switched
the watch to stopwatch mode, clicked “Start” and blazed off in search of
the next eighth of a mile post. I arrived there just a few seconds before
switching from aerobic to anaerobic, the last remaining conscious thought
was to hit the “Split” button… and observe as the first recovery leg

What’s this? 59? Hmmm, add one and 59 becomes 60–a minute. I just did
220 yards (sounds a lot longer than an eighth of a mile) at 8-minute pace.
Wow? It is only about once a month that I do the one-mile long Partridge
Point Road with a watch on–just as a check to see what it is that I call
running these days. I am tickled pink to still see 9:00 – 9:15 without
turning red or appearing in need of the EMT folks. Hmmm, an 8-minute pace
and the first recovery leg is done and–hit the button and off I go.

61? Really? So, there is some spring left in the two limbs I have
mistreated the most. There are two Great Blue herons near the path. They
move through the water with no ripples, watching for their next meal,
graceful and silent–neither pays me any notice. The next post is near and
I click the button again. I am in totally awe of my ability to sit in a
two-second window of variation by the end of the 2 1/8th miles. The splits
were 59, 61, 60, 61, 59, 59, 60, 60, 59. An ego being easily inflated I
was immediately and overwhelmingly impressed. Said ego also allowing me to
ignore the slight twinge coming from the lower half of my left leg.

I watched another Great Blue Heron and a few other water birds, a
Kingfisher chittering as it dove, and waited for Kathy to arrive. I told
her my splits and said I was going to quarter miles on the way back. It was
just too nice a day to waste on easy running. She mentioned something
about that being way too fast for me–not having done anything remotely
resembling speed work in a long time. I (recall the “ignoring..” just
mentioned) said I was okay, hit the “Start” button and took flight.

The first quarter mile was great: 2:01 — recovery jog seemed a bit short
when the next post suddenly appeared, but I hit “Split” and took off: 2:00
— with a slightly enlarged and cottony tongue I recovered again — 1:58
and I am suddenly thinking maybe I should not do the next one. There is a
twinge down there in the lower part of the left leg…ahh, just one more
and the set of four is done and off I go. The ice pick was inserted just
as I passed the post. It was not left in. It barely caused me to break
stride. I slowed slowly and looked at my watch: 2:00 — the thought of
still being master of the steady pace on a flat course was interrupted by
the ice pick being jabbed in my left calf again.

I did the jog/shuffle thing back to Kathy. She asked how it went. I
immediately said: 2:01, 2:00, 1:58, 2:00 and started to say, but she
pointed at my legs and said how are they–you are limping. I said I think
I just did something dumb. Should have stopped with the outbound series?
Yes. How bad? Strained a little, not bad. We walked/jogged/shuffled back
to the car. When we got home it was, uh… difficult to get out of the
car? The ice pick was now embedded in the leg and abandoned. A small
voice said, “That was some really dumb-assed running you just did.

The long bulge of swelling on the lower Achilles tendon was tender the next
day. Almost forgotten methods of taping were recalled so I could walk
without pain, almost. I did some stretching, icing, heating, lit a few
incense candles, even mentioned it in the Rosary… all for naught. I
explained all this to the orthoped of the month selection. He was kind
enough to not laugh, but only chuckle when I replied to his question, “What
do you think is wrong?”

“Delayed Onset to Dumb-Arsed Running,” was my reply, “DODAR.”