First of all, congrats to all the runners that finished the glass city marathon races today! I am so happy for you all but part of me is envious! Also, sad.
Running has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I ran the 300 hurdles in track- it was my favorite race but that is not when my love of running surfaced. I ran in undergrad but that was more to burn off the beer calories (for real, that's how I thought- I think completely differently now about exercise).
It was in medical school when I truly fell in love with running. I remember I would study the says lectures while running 3-5 miles in the LECOM gym which was in the basement. These were on the cold Erie, PA days. When it was warm out I would get outside and run.
One of my worst days on my medical school rotations, running saved me. I was so frustrated and upset about the outcome of a trauma patient, after my shift was over- I ran. I ran and let go of all the anger and disappointment from the day. No matter what city I was in or how alone I felt on rotations- I always had running. I started running half marathons in medical school. I was NEVER a long distance runner but after you start running long distances you crave it. The races were fun, since I am at heart a Type A personality.
Running pregnant, running pushing kids in strollers, this was never a mid-life crisis thing for me, this was a part of me.
Whenever I travel anywhere- I explore the city by running. Barcelona, Paris, New York City, San Diego, beaches, national parks, and the list goes on and on.
In the back of my mind I always worried about my knees, they had been bad since high school (basketball wrecked them I'm sure). My grandpa and mother both had to have to knee replacements (and they were not runners).
This October, I was standing in my driveway getting ready to take the kids on a walk and I turned quickly and felt a sudden tear. I knew it was bad. It was- a torn meniscus. I was devastated. Not because of the pain or the threat of surgery, but the wake up call that I should be done running long distances. The research is out there- running is horrible for your knees and hips. It's a fact. Orthopedics love runners because, well, they make tons of money off of runners (scopes, injections, procedures). I was told I should have a scope. I opted for PRP injection. Rehabbing myself at home, I did really well. Running was painful for months after and I didn't push it. Now I can run 1-2 miles without pain but I don't run everyday like I used to.
I longingly look at runners and wish I could tell them how blessed they are- to enjoy every second.
What got me through this injury was seeing it as a positive- a wake up call. My body telling me, willing me, to slow down. To protect my knees, to give them more life. My adrenals asking for a less intense workout, less cortisol, more relaxing. I took this unasked advice and turned my running days into more yoga days. Surprisingly, I didn't gain any weight and I was at peace with the change. Everything happens for a reason. Are days like today hard on me? (I haven't missed a glass city race in 8 years and I have the mugs to prove it!) Yes, but I am always looking at the glass half full.