Well, I did it. Twenty minutes on the treadmill, that is. Yesterday. At a blistering (not!) eighteen-minute mile pace, no one will be looking to me to set the pace, but I don't care. I did it.
I've been wanting (I use that term very loosely) to get back on the d--- treadmill for the past several months, but in the three times I've actually climbed on and started it up, my achilles gave out after a mere few minutes. In the approximately two years since I tore some achilles fibres behind my left heel, I have been in pain almost one hundred percent of the time. In addition, there have been many times (including the three times I was on the treadmill in recent months) when I could feel that I was very close to ripping more fibres. It's been horrible...until this weekend.
For some inexplicable but oh-so-welcome reason, I woke up on Saturday morning virtually pain free in my achilles region. As recently as the evening before, I'd been experiencing the usual dull throbbing mingled with the sharp, teeth-clenching pains that happen several times/hour. But not on Saturday morning. Nor on Saturday afternoon, and still not on Saturday evening or night. Yesterday morning, Sunday, I woke up early in the quiet house and, getting out of bed and walking downstairs, I couldn't help but notice that I still had virtually no pain where the back of my leg joins up with my heel. I might even go so far as to eliminate the word 'virtually' and go with no pain at all, except that when one lives with chronic pain for an extended period, it's frankly hard to distinguish between no pain and small amounts of pain...it kinda rolls together. But let's just say that this was as close to pain free as I've experienced in a very long time.
Anyway, after procrastinating for about an hour, I walked slowly down the stairs into the recesses of the dark basement (I'm kidding - it's actually fairly nice down there and I kept it pretty dark only to keep it cool!) and stood by the ever-waiting, watchful treadmill. I lowered the foot path down to the floor, prayed that it was broken while I plugged it in, stepped onto either side of the belt, and turned on the power. Stepping onto the tread, I admit that I was quite fearful about the whole tearing-the-achilles thing happening again, but after a few minutes of nothing horrible happening, I felt myself gaining a bit of confidence. As it turned out, I lasted for a whopping twenty minutes. I had no tv down there to keep me company, so I just stared at the wall for the whole time from two feet away. My thoughts alternated between elation about my achilles, and self-congratulations for having chosen such a nice wall colour to fixate on (it's a Benjamin Moore colour called Hillsborough Beige, but personally I'd take away the word 'beige' and call it Hillsborough Mocha - a smooth, strong coffee colour with a generous swirl of cream throughout. It goes great with the other colour down there: Hadley Red. Anyway, I digress).
My achievement yesterday was a far cry from four years ago, when I could burn almost a thousand calories while on the elliptical machine for 50-60 minutes. I am depressingly so terribly unfit now, with such a long way to go. But stop it, Ruth - I refuse to go that route mentally. I am relieved about my foot, and am very proud of myself for doing what I did.
These days, given Geoff's work schedule and commute, it's not an option for me to join a gym that takes me away from home. So I'm basically limited to the resources I have here...ie. the treadmill. But I've started praying (yes, praying) that I will find a used, high quality, very reasonably priced elliptical machine to purchase for home use. The elliptical was, oddly, the one form of exercise that I didn't hate with a passion when I was going to the gym a few years back - probably because I saw such progress in my health as a result of using it, and such progress in my ability to do it. (When I first started using it, I could only do an embarrassing three minutes on it - it took me several months, but I was eventually able to work out on it for up to an hour). It's also a means of exercise that won't exacerbate my achilles as much as many other forms of exercise, because it doesn't involve the full range of walking motion.
It's now been forty-eight hours since I woke up pain free on Saturday morning. Here's hoping for the next forty-eight. I think I'm going to do another tread today!
* Thanks for the comments and encouragement folks. Sharla, I laughed when I read yours!!
* Glad to report that, as I write this on Monday evening, I still have no achilles pain...three days in a row!