When I was in High-School I got a bad case of mono. Friends and relatives made a big deal about it, they called it the ‘kissing disease’. What really happened was I was playing tag football in gym class and accidentally ran full-tilt into one of my classmates, by accident. Awhile before he had been out of school with a case of the kissing disease. I broke his arm. He gave me mono from the collision. Maybe our heads hit, I can distinctly remember the stars I saw.
The mono didn’t really settle in right away. I suffered a concussion. After gym class I tried to give a French group presentation and was completely useless. A week or so later I started losing energy, and couldn’t leave my bed. Doc said I had mono, and wasn’t allowed to do any physical activity. If I did, the danger was that I’d get hit in the gut, and start bleeding internally, then die. Or something like that. He said it would be a few months.
I hated it. I hated sitting out of gym class. Watching people play badminton or whatever and just watch, was the worst.
At first I would just sit and watch. Then I started being sneaky. I would grab a racket and birdie and hit it against the wall. Or I’d come in at recess and play by myself. It pissed my teachers off because of the risk I was taking, when I was caught I’d be told to sit down, or sent to the office. I couldn’t help it though. I needed to move, all my friends were out there playing, I was lonely and restless.
Eventually enough time passed, the mono and all its symptoms went away, and my activity level (along with my right to play) went back to normal.
I can’t help but think about how sneaky I was, basically risking my life, so that I could do something, so that I could play a sport, even if it was against the wall.
I’ve been pushing those limits again.
Ever since then.
My Achilles Tendons in both ankles are almost back to normal. I still get pain if I land in a certain way, but rarely. My legs get incredibly tight, especially in the morning, but they respond well to rolling and exercises.
At a certain point during my running hiatus I think I was very close to never running again, and having permanent damage.
I’ve been aggressive. I’m taking risks, especially with regards to returning to form, while still experiencing pain.
It’s not all bad though. The rewards of a ‘pain-free’ run is always worth it, and they are becoming a lot more frequent. I’ve even been dabbling with doubles.
I can’t help but remember that kid sitting on a wooden gym bench, told not to bother changing into his gym clothes, being keenly aware of how sick he was,
and saying ‘fuck it’ anyway.