The air was pleasantly cool as I slipped on my running shoes and walked out the door. A short run, I told myself, just to see if the knee will continue to be all right. After stretching and walking to the corner, I took off at a slow pace, carefully monitoring my footstrikes and stride, careful to not go too fast.
My new neighborhood is lovely and quaint, and running around the little streets was a great way for me to explore the environment. It's an older neighborhood, full of shady trees and low traffic. The streets are reasonably flat for hilly Fayetteville, and the mild weather (for August! in Arkansas!) filled me with pleasure as I slowly ran along, looking, feeling, enjoying.
Yesterday, I ran for the second time this week. It's the first time I've run twice within a week since March, when I hurt my illiotibial band training for the half-marathon I didn't get to run. My knee bothered me off and on since then, making me too afraid to start running. When I was in Portland, however, I ran for fifteen minutes (five minutes running followed by five walking), and my knee didn't twinge.
Running feels good. It feels really good. It's a time for me to meditate, take in the outside world, feel my body getting stronger and faster. I find it almost more meditative than yoga in many ways because it comes so easily: the rhythm of footfalls, the comforting routes, the familiar songs on my iPod. Yoga is calming, but it's also something that doesn't come easily. Running isn't difficult for me, though it is sometimes challenging.
I've been cautious with how long I run, and I've been monitoring my knee for pain. So far, it only feels tired after I finish, a feeling that is gone a few hours after my run is over. When I set out Monday, I ran for five minutes, walked for a few, then ran for ten. I wanted to keep going because it felt so right, but I stopped myself, afraid of setting back any progress.
I'm happy to be running again. Right now, I'm going to try to run every other day for fifteen minutes, slowly increasing until I'm running three miles/thirty minutes consistently again. After I get to that point, I figure I can begin increasing my mileage and speed, but for now it's great to just be out running again.