For the past nine days, the only pool I’ve been in is this one:
And by “in” the pool, I mean “leaning on the wall, reading a magazine, drinking a gin and tonic.”
Despite all of my “I want to race NOW NOW”-ishness, it turns out I’m quite skilled at doing Nothing. In fact, the more Nothing I do, the more I want to do Nothing.
I saw my physical therapist for a post-Wildflower check-in on Saturday, and he asked how I’d been feeling since the race. “Um, actually? Great. I had to run for a train on Monday and I didn’t die. I stopped being sore around Tuesday.”
“That’s awesome!” he said. “So what have you been doing since then?”
“Nothing? Come on. Seriously. What have you been doing?”
“OK, fine. I stretched a couple of times. And foam rolled. And, um. I haven’t stopped walking?”
A couple of hours later, I was on a plane to Palm Springs. Pete and I have been going to Palm Springs for four years now, since the Ace Hotel opened — literally since it opened; we made reservations not knowing we were going to be among the Ace’s first guests, so it’s a good thing it opened on time. The first time, Palm Springs was largely a base for us to explore Joshua Tree, but we quickly discovered a lot to love about the town itself — not least of which is the skeptical “but…what do you do in Palm Springs?” reaction we get from anyone under the age of 75 whom we tell about our plans. What do we do in Palm Springs? We sit. And drink. And read. And sit. Sometimes in a hammock. Sometimes in a pool. Sometimes, when it’s not 105 degrees outside, in a hot tub. Lots of reading, sitting, and drinking. (Palm Springs also has good hiking, many hotels that loan cruiser bikes, and swimming pools that are plenty big enough to actually swim in, but those things are easily ignorable if the goal is to plop down somewhere and never move.)
We branched out this time — the still-weirdly-high-seasonal rates at the Ace forced our hand — and stayed downtown at the Hotel Zoso, which lacked the hipster-y food and cocktails of the Ace but also eliminated the long drive to downtown and, well, the worst of the hipsters. The pool was small, the hot tub irrelevant, but the pool bar…existed, which is really all I require, and the set of free, first-come/first-served canopied cabanas were a surprising plus for us pale folks. We were also spitting distance from some of our standby restaurants and self-serve yogurt, plus a slightly longer walk to our favorite brunch and new-favorite pizza (with peaches and radicchio — good lord). I missed some things about the Ace (e.g. a pool area open later than 10 p.m.), but I can’t argue with the sheer convenience of the Zoso.
I also can’t argue with this view.
So now I’m back, but I’m still not doing much of anything — unless you count obsessively planning for when I will be doing something again, in which case I’ve been quite active. I’m Type A-ing all over a marathon training plan, and researching yoga classes, and sort-of starting to redeem a pilates studio coupon I bought months ago (creating an account on the site counts, right?). My original goal was two weeks completely off, and I don’t think I’ll have any problem hitting it.
The longer this recovery period lasts, though, the more nervous I get. Buried up there somewhere is the fact that I’ve been feeling mostly great since Wildflower — better than I expected, better than I probably have any right to feel considering that I’ve been semi-injured for more than three months. It’s not my first significant time off of running — three weeks right after my leg first went nuts, another week in March — but neither of those breaks seemed to make much difference, so it’s tempting to think that the time off everything is doing me some good. At the same time, though, I felt better 48 hours after Wildflower than I had at virtually any point since January, which makes much less sense. Everything about this injury has been baffling — from its origins to its sporadic appearances to its complete evasion of meaningful medical diagnoses. For whatever reason, Wildflower and its immediate aftermath seems to have knocked things into some sort of equilibrium, and I’m terrified to disturb it.
But I’m going to have to disturb it. On Thursday, I’ve got a blind date with my podiatrist’s treadmill and all the shoes I ordered after my appointment last month. I thought about delaying it, but I also need to get my shoe situation sorted out soon. And then there’s the matter of wanting some semblance of fitness going into marathon training, considering I’ll already have less of a base than I would hope to have. If I had a nickel for every person who told me, “You know only running is the problem,” well … I’d have about 15 cents, but that’s still more than the zero cents I’d have for the people who believe my suspicion that maybe swimming and cycling played a role too. And “Just stop if it hurts” is little comfort since I tend to go from zero to OMG INJURED with no warning.
Still. Nothing to do but to do something, I guess. Soon. Just…not yet.