Words I never, ever thought I’d say: I miss running.

A couple weeks ago, I was out for my morning run, and near the end my left ankle started to hurt.

I finished and went home and tried to forget about it, but when I walked on it that afternoon, the pain returned.

When I woke up the next morning, my foot felt pretty good — until I hit the track. Being a guy, I ignored it — or tried to.

I managed to make it through my run, but the next day I limped around the track before having to shut down.

The next day — still trying to ignore my sore ankle — I was barely able to run or walk around the track.

I suspected shin splints. Basically, because that was the only runner’s injury I could think of.

A quick check on the Internet, where all knowledge is stored, seemed to confirm my assumption, and I followed up by asking Facebook friends for treatment. Modern-day doctoring at its finest.

I received good information, except that when I finally went to see an actual doctor, I was told it is probably tendinitis, not shin splints.

I also was advised that if the ankle did not feel better in a week to 10 days to consult a foot specialist to determine if there is a tear or a break X-rays did not reveal.

That is where I am now, limping around, hoping ice, Ibuprofen and staying off it as much as possible helps.

So far? Nope, still hurts.

That is the frustrating part. I’m not showing any consistent progress so far.

Some days, it seems like the swelling has gone down. Other days, it seems nothing has changed.

Even though I’ve only been running for the better part of three years now, it has become something I really look forward to doing.

I put on my headphones and get lost in the music and my own thoughts and run. It’s the only thing I do every day that is just for me. No one is asking anything of me. There are no demands or expectations. I just run.

Now, that has been taken away from me for the time being, and I can’t wait to get better and get going again.

I am able to use the elliptical machine at home because it is less stressful on my foot and ankle, but it is not quite the same. I am not outdoors watching the sun come up, feeling the air against my face.

I never would have dreamed running would become so important to me. I used to think the only reason to run is if you are being chased by a bear, but then I discovered running is fun, even if you’re not being chased.

 

Patrick Murphy, editor-publisher of the Humphrey Democrat and Newman Grove Reporter in Nebraska, is a former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.