A long time ago, in a state not so far away, I began running. It was almost half my life ago, and I was in college. I had gained a LOT of weight for my small frame, and was very out of shape. I lived in a small city, with actual blocks. I decided one day to get the dishes done, and then go out for a run. I ran one lap around my block. I continued to do this for a while and built up to running a few laps around my block. Then it happened…I was injured. It wasn’t so long ago that email didn’t exist, and probably a lot of internet existed, but unless you were in Computer Science, you frankly just didn’t care about it. But, there wasn’t the internet as we know it today, where WebMD and other “medical sources” are thriving to diagnose any injury or illness you have (and some you don’t). So, I went to the Dr. I went to a Physical Therapist. I could barely walk with my knee. I was diagnosed with a torn meniscus. I went through 8 weeks of PT and rested, iced, bandaged, etc., that knee. I was told if it didn’t get better by the end of my therapy, I’d likely need to have surgery. I hadn’t been running long, so I just quit…BAM, DONE. I’ve always had joint issues…at least since high school when I was on the Pom Squad. I’ve also had breathing issues. It’s all just part of my life. I gain weight, I work out, I dance, whatever, I hurt. When the pain gets bad, I stop doing whatever it is that is causing the hurt. I’m a QUITTER (although I didn’t quit Poms until I graduated from High School, so I guess I didn’t quit that).
So, this self-proclaimed quitter recently overdid it. I went 100 miles in July, which is at least 15 more in a month than I’ve ever done. One of my first long runs in August was a 14-miler. I’ve done 15 before in one session, so I didn’t really expect any problems. I ran my run, no problems. Then, after, I stretched in just the wrong way, and did a deep squat where my knee went over my toes, and just like that, OUCH!!! I drove home, iced, took some anti-inflammatory meds and researched. Could it be a torn meniscus again? Maybe it’s “Runner’s Knee”? Really, in the end, most of the rehabilitation seemed to focus around strengthening the muscles around the knee to stabilize it during running and using RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation). So, I did that. I ran just a few times and while running didn’t really hurt, the rest of my days and nights made me want to whimper and cry.
Another suggestion at the Physical Therapist 15ish years ago, was to start biking. I bought an expensive (for me) mountain/trail bike, and rode, maybe once. I didn’t like it. That bike has been with me since then though, so I decided if it was good advice then to bike, that same strengthening exercise should work now. I still don’t “like” biking. It just HURTS. I mean, really hurts. My daughter laughed at me when I said biking hurts my butt, but it really does, gel pad seat and all (Yes, biking shorts are next, maybe the combination will help). And I still don’t know how to shift (which was another part I never took too). But, I’ve taken her out twice and plan to take her out every weekend.
Basically, all this to say that no, I will NOT quit. I am no longer a QUITTER. It’s not going to happen. I may need to slow down, but I will not stop. This month, my plan is to keep it easier, go slower, and shorter. I still have to do one run around 15 before my two half marathons in the beginning of September, but even if I walk half of each of those halves, I’m going to finish them. I have to run smarter, not harder. I have to not let competition get the best of me. I want to be running for the rest of my life. I want to teach my kids that even things that don’t come easily or without problems are worth completing. I want to be a better me, and that definition, for me, includes perseverance.