I felt GREAT on Thursday night.
I had a softball doubleheader. My team has been lousy (read: old) this year. We had only won one game all season. The reason was obvious - our guys are old, their guys aren't. I'm 41 and I'm in the younger half of the guys on our team. Most players in our league are 20-and-30 somethings.
But this Thursday was different. We were good. We won the first game 11-10. In the second game, we fell behind 16-0 before we even came to bat (that is not a typo). There were errors, bad hops, and a lot of, as Wee Willie Keeler used to say, "hitting 'em where they ain't." Long story short, they let up a little and we regrouped and WON 23-18. Unbelievable.
As for me, it was like I was 18 again. I had been running more and more in my interval training. Not a lot, mind you. I've never been a "runner", at least in terms of distance. But my "run" intervals had gotten up to about 100 yards at a time of fast jogging/slow running. Definitely not sprinting, but fast for me. A few days before I ran so comfortably and confidently on my intervals that I felt that endorphin rush a bit that I haven't felt in years.
I hadn't run at "full speed" since my return to softball two years ago. That's when I pulled my hamstring in my first game in 20 years. I rested up for a couple of weeks, then ran a partial capacity for the rest of the season. Even last year, I could only feel comfortable at 90-95%, as if I was afraid to push the needle on my stereo into the red. But Thursday I felt great. I pushed my sprint dial up to 100%. I was in the red. But the music in my head was humming. My "coach" (the guy who collects the money and makes out the lineup) had even noticed that I was running better again. He even put me at third base for an inning, and I made two plays (usually I play the less demanding first base). I was confident because of the interval training. My hamstrings felt absolutely fine. I was, for me, flying around the bases.
I felt OLD on Friday morning.
Specifically, my left knee. Forget 100% - I couldn't pull of 25%. I was hobbling around like our three legged dog. What happened? I didn't have any incident at all the night before. Nothing where I felt a twinge or a tweak. Nothing where I landed awkwardly. Nothing I could point to - except that for the first time in two years, I had run at 100%.
I don't know what's up with my knee. I've had a small limp for the last three days. It hurts going down the stairs. I don't dare run. I'm hoping with rest it will be fine. It does seem to be getting better every day. Best case, it seems, is that it feels better and better over time and I can start walking for exercise, and then concentrate on biking this summer. Eventually, I hope to get back to walk/jog intervals.
I won't be running at 100%, ever again. It's pretty scary to not have your knees. I just can't risk it. But I'll always have Thursday night to remember what it was like to be 18 again, if even just for a few hours.