Uphill both ways

I haven't been able to run right in two weeks.

Two weeks ago, while hucking retaining wall blocks from the driveway to the backyard, on block number 585 out of 600 or so—at 70 pounds or 32 kg per block, what's the use of precision?—I picked up one block and then walked directly into another block that was just sitting and minding its own business on a pallet. Took the corner of that block directly into my shin just below the kneecap. One step... released I wasn't going to be able to set that block down nicely in the wheelbarrow... two steps... in an amazing feat of ragepain gave that block a medicine ball chest pass at the grass (where the grass used to be before I ran over it 500 times with a loaded wheelbarrow) and then retreated to the garage where I could close my eyes and scream silently in my heart at the front bumper of my car which had somehow quickly become a thing I was looking up at, not down at.

Which is to say that it really hurt.

I was in the habit of running about 35 km a week, and went out last Monday to give it a go. Made it to the end of the block going downhill. Quit. Would have walked the uphill back but for pride. Whatever I did to that bone (which is still a little tender if I press on the point of impact) didn't want anything to do with running—especially downhill.

We have a treadmill at home. I hate it. I used it once to confirm the thing worked after assembly, and then mentally and spiritually transferred it to my wife. I will suffer any distance, any temperature, any weather, but I will not suffer that thing.

However, it does have one nice feature: I can set it to run on an incline. My leg doesn't complain about that—it couldn't handle the downhill loading because of the extra force or the geometry or whatever, but there's no problem with the uphills. So, it's like going back to my old training grounds in southern California where I can run uphill for miles and miles, but it's even one better—at the end of those training runs, I would have to return by running downhill for miles and miles. Now I can run uphill for the first half and uphill for the second half. It's everything I ever wanted in a run—no joking. The uphills were where I made my (metaphorical) money when I used to race. I'm still going to abandon this infernal machine as soon as I can go outside to run, but for now at least it's an interesting diversion to go uphill both ways.

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