Coming back

Since my heart problem 48 days ago I have followed doctor’s orders and not run. He told me that I could bike or walk, just not run. There are days when I fought back the urge to run and almost laced up the shoes. I got so far as to pull them out from under the bunk and put them on my feet. Never did run though. Bicycling has proven to be a nice alternative, but running is what I want to do.

The day finally came, and it was time to run. I had an idea of what to expect. Other people have had injury layoffs before me. They have written about their experiences. In my mind I knew that I could not just take off and run as if I had not missed any time. My plan was to run 20 minutes at 10 minute pace. My fear was that 5 minutes in I would be too tired to continue. My hope was that I would get to 20 minutes and just keep going.  My expectation was that in 2 miles I would be exhausted. Then I climbed on the treadmill at the local gym and did a brisk 7 minute walk with a pace building to from 3.5-4.2 mph. The walk was over, and it was time.

I stopped the treadmill for a second and took a drink of water. Then it was time to start. I immediately set the treadmill to 6 mph. It reminded me of the first time I ran almost 5 years ago. That time I could not hold that pace for more than 5 minutes, or half a mile. Less than a minute into the run I felt a little tired. It was more nerves than anything physical. I half expected that and kept going. Ten minutes later I was passing the first mile and feeling pretty good. It was time to turn it up a notch to 6.1. A little less than 10 minutes later I passed the two mile marker and coasted in with a 2.1 mile run in just under 21 minutes.

It felt great. I am a runner again. Five minutes later I was suppressing the urge to climb back on the treadmill and do another mile.  As much as I want to come back fast I know that it isn’t smart. Take it easy I have to tell myself. At least I can call myself a runner again. I underestimated how good that makes me feel. I want to tell the world that I AM A RUNNER!

Jeff Clark is a trucker, a grandfather and an eight-time marathon (26.2 miles) finisher. He is dedicated to helping truckers improve their health through better habits. You can contact him at

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