Yesterday I was taking a long drive back from a family party four hours away. I put in Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible and found myself tearing up. Why, you ask? Because it reminds me of running. It brings back very strong memories, for instance, of training for last year’s half-marathon – I listened to it addictively then, and it is intimately linked with long-run endorphins, in my brain.
And the thing is, I miss running. I miss “real” (read: cardio) exercise, for which I have a strong predilection. I was ramping up my running to get ready for an autumn half, just as I broke my knee.
I am also aware that I may not be able to run again. There is no certainty on this question – the orthopaedic guy thinks I may be able to, but is not sure. The Internet tells me – as did the first surgeon, in Hawaii – that my knee will never be the same, and that I will almost certainly develop arthritis in it.
I am sad about this. I will do everything I can to rehabilitate the leg. I have already started, having gone to see a physiotherapist on my own (I was never referred to one, which shocked me and the physio) so that I can start building up strength and range of motion even while still unable to walk on the leg. (Though my left calf is a sad, pathetic little thing by now – it’s atrophied alarmingly.) I’ll work and work and work so that I can get back to what I love to do. If I can’t run, I’ll maybe go back to swimming laps, which I used to do, but got bored with.
But this is bigger than the question of cardio exercise. My worrying about this is one symptom of a larger, looming confrontation with aging and mortality. What with everything that’s gone on recently – ovary still probably needing to come out, this stupid injury*, even the first-ever migraine - I’m really feeling quite uneasily in touch with my own eventual deterioration and death. It invades my consciousness daily; it never really had before. And you know, I’d have rather put off this feeling for another couple of decades.
For that reason, it is a great thing to be watching Six Feet Under right now.
At any rate, I feel quite fundamentally changed. Quite.
*Stupid being the operative word. Do you know, this past week I have started to experience some real anger over this injury for the first time. I mean, for chrissake!! I was just bloody standing there!!