A couple weeks ago, I was doing an interval run around the track at the rec center. I would do one slow lap, then ¾ slow and ¼ fast, half and half, ¼ slow and ¾ fast followed by one lap fast then repeat. I was aiming for 33 laps, and around lap 25, on a ¾ slow segment, I experienced this feeling of bliss.

It was as if I was running without effort, without strain, like it wasn’t even work anymore to move my body. Every part of my body felt like unified, and I decided not to finish the run with the speed intervals. Instead, I just tried to maintain that feeling of being in perfect motion.

I couldn’t hold on to it, but I was excited anyway. By having that experience, I knew what was possible, what I was capable of with running.

And then I came down with a sinus infection. 12 days of feeling absolutely miserable; 13 days without running.

I know what happens by now when I go too long between runs. I still have some habit of motion or stillness that makes my right hip stiff. I think I’ve been able to stretch my time between runs to about 5 days without consequences, but 13 was too many. Whatever the next run was, I knew it was going to be painful for me.

And it was.

My husband decided that on the first day that I was feeling well enough to run, we should run up to Table Rock. So we did.

We walked to the Greenbelt and then jogged over to the Warm Springs Golf Course. From there, we took trails up to Table Rock.

By the time we reached the golf course, my hip was protesting. I ignored it and tried to use good form in my motion, but when I started to climb, I found running become more and more difficult. I had to slow to a walk for the steep sections, and then for all the sections.

The only thing that kept me going past the pain was the knowledge that I have to get through this if I want to get back to my pain free zone.

And, of course, the uphill portion wasn’t the hardest part. The steep downhill sections on the way back slowed my pace to a pathetic crawl that saw my husband get way ahead of me as he jogged his way down. I gritted my teeth and tried to maintain a proper pelvic tilt as I hobbled my way down to him.

I ended the run by walking fast and trying really, really hard not to limp.

And I did beat my husband home, since had to stop to get rocks out of his shoe.

The memory of that moment of blissful running was hard to hold on to during that “run.” I felt so angry at myself for being sick and doing whatever it is that I am doing (or not doing) to make my hip tighten up when I don’t run.

But I know I can get through the pain. I can re-adjust and start chasing that blissful feeling again. I just have to get to work.

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