Monday, January 30, 2012

Who knew running could be fun?!

I fell into the same rut that all of us do that I took running for granted. Running wasn’t to be enjoyed, it was another workout on the calendar that needed to be checked in order to get me to my next training objective or race…and then I got injured. Specifically, either due to over training/racing or poor mechanics I suffered a medial meniscus sprain.

Now, my knee had been bothering me for a while. I have had both lateral and medial menisci surgically repaired in that knee years ago so I’m accustomed to some level of discomfort with increased mileage and speed…but this had gotten ridiculous. I would be walking along and it felt like somebody slammed my knee with a baseball bat. I’d have to stop and double over and catch my breath. Thankfully this reared its ugly head at the end of my race season but hadn’t showed sign of getting any better coming into the new year. Now, as you can imagine, my doc knows me pretty well. So he knew I was gonna do that 10k on New Year’s day and I probably wasn’t gonna “layoff” the race. So, I got clear instructions “run my race…but if I felt pain in the knee…then bail out ASAP”. Sound advice. Sadly, I’ve never been known to take sound advice. I ran the 10k, no PR, and I was limping after crossing the finish. The doc was adamant now, “NO running, period for at least 2 weeks! You can swim/lift/ride but NO weight bearing on the knee or you’re gonna run yourself right into another knee surgery”. Ok…guess he’s not kidding…sounded easy enough. January is pretty slow for racing in NE and its normally freezing and snowing all month so I’ll just layoff and focus on other workouts. Easy right? No, not at all. With every day I felt I was getting fatter and slower. I had to make sure I wasn’t packing running gear for the gym or work in order to make sure I didn’t run (no Kinvaras=no running for Dutch). Then, my brain (however small it may be) kicked in: What are you doing? Don’t even think about running! You can’t deal with another surgery. When can I get back to real running? Is my season over before its already begun? Maybe this is the year I get back into bike racing? Oh yes my friends…the mind is a terrible thing…
Sweetest view ever
So 2 weeks stretched into 3 weeks, mostly because the weather was garbage and I was afraid to fall or slip and risk any more injury. With the 4th week of no running looming on the horizon because of crappy road conditions and mental blocks, I decided to go hit the treadmill for a 5k to see how I felt. No, not optimal but I just couldn’t go any longer without seeing how my knee would do. Honestly, at this point I’m trying to figure out what of my season I’d have left if I had to have surgery (um, extremist much?). And…I felt great! So...only thing to do next was to get some miles on the road. And, and, buttah! I felt great! I turned the 1st mile in right at 7mins flat and realized I was a little too excited for the run. Better to layoff and see how I felt with mileage. 5.3 miles in 39:06. No land speed record, but no aches or pains either...during or after the run. I honestly can't describe how great it was to look down and see myself going out for a run. I was grinning the whole time and...wait for it...I actually had fun on the run. I wasn't trying to make some mileage or hit some pace. I was just running because I could. It was fantastic...and duly noted.

Now where'd I put my Kinvaras....


  1. I know how you feel, I went from Feb 2010 to Jun 2011 with no running, my knee surgery was in May. Before that I really did take running for granted, now I don't. I get out there and enjoy each run, even the bad ones, but in reality, I haven't had too many bad ones since I started back up.

    Like you I enjoy running, just because we can :-)

  2. hurray. glad u got sum fun in ur run!

  3. Glad you're back out there. Here's to staying injury free!