A friend asked me a few days ago: "Are you excited for 2013 to arrive, or are you not ready for 2012 to be over?"
In a change from past "A Long December"-ish years, I couldn't say I was necessarily eager for 2012 to wrap up. At first.
When the cider started to kick in, I stood up to go to the bathroom and realized it hadn't fully taken effect yet: Though I did need to visit the ladies room, I still could feel all the knots that tied themselves up while I sat for extended periods of time. (A long night at the bar relaxes all knots, regardless of origin, though it might tie a few new ones the next day.)
If I work out for the first time in a while, those knots have tended to be in the quads or the hamstrings. Not this night — it was my new nemesis, the hips.
It's more tender than painful. It creeps up sometimes during, sometimes after a run. And it's relatively new to me.
Whatever it is started sometime after my move to Des Moines, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't during the first few months. It could've been September; it was definitely in play by October.
My best guess as to its origins is my unprecedented mileage this year. In 2010 and 2011, I basically stuck to biking during the summer, but this year, my job change worked out to summer running's advantage.
The way to test this theory would be to back off the running, which I would do — despite the great mental boost it is for me, especially during the fall — if it weren't for the 1000 Mile Challenge. As of this writing, though not as of the cider night, I've broken 800 miles and will reach 900, most likely.
So I'm not going to spend the next few weeks on the sofa. I've taken the first step of finding hip-strengthening exercises (now I need to actually do them), and I'm going to keep running until Jan. 1, 2013. Then it's couch time.
And so if this friend asks me again: "Ready for 2013?" I'm going to say yes. Not emphatically as in "I-hate-running-and-can't-wait-to-quit"; more accepting with a splash of regret, because while runner's hip isn't the greatest, runner's high is.
I realize that writing this makes me sound like an idiot who deserves any medical comeuppance. In my defense, I could tell when it was time to quit running on buniony, weak-jointed feet and wait it out. The way my hips feel is nowhere near comparable.