All you have to do is FLY

I’ve been running lately. But my running doesn’t look like it used to. Instead of doing a 4 miler after work like it’s no big deal, I struggle to get in 2 miles. Instead of going for a long run of 8-12 miles on the weekend, I do a run/walk ratio and barely get 6 miles. And I cry during my run because I’m not where I used to be.

Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond happy to be running again since my surgery. AND I have no knee pain! I do have some hamstring and calf pain, but it’s muscular… the ACL screw removal surgery was successful. The surgery has eliminated the nerve pain caused by the screws from my ACL surgery 10 years ago.

But I have so many frustrations with my current state of running. I’m slower than I was before surgery. I am heavier than I was before surgery. My lungs don’t breathe as well as before surgery. My legs don’t turn over as quickly. My mind is second guessing everything and is weak. The list goes on and on. I cannot stop comparing my current fitness level and current running self to my previous running self.

I was never fast, not by any  means. But I was consistent with my running. I was confident that I could go out and run 5 miles with no problems. I was proud that I could complete a half marathon. Now, I feel like all of that is gone. It’s all lost. I can’t consistently run, and if I do, my muscles are sore. I’m not confident that I can go out and even run 1 or 2 miles without having to stop for one reason or another. I’ve signed up for a half marathon in 5 weeks and I’m terrified that I won’t be able to complete it, even with tons of walking.

I know I have a lot to be proud of. Just 3 months ago I was still in physical therapy 2 times a week, running with a therapist watching me in a highly controlled environment. 4 months ago I was running on an Alter G treadmill at a percentage of my body weight. 6 months ago I was still on crutches. 7 months ago, exactly, to this date, I had a second surgery in 9 days on my knee.

I know I have come a very long way in 7 months, but I cannot stop comparing myself to where I was before surgery. Sure, my knee hurt, but I could run. I had a base built up. I had 13 half marathons under my belt.  I know I will get back to that point, but right now it seems so very far away.

Last month, I finally had the courage and support to quit drinking pop. That was a bad habit… let me tell you. I’ve not had a pop since January 31, and I’ve actually weaned myself off caffeine too. Because I wanted to feel better. I wanted to not feel the addiction, the need for it. I would be lying if I said I also quit pop to help my running. So now that I haven’t had pop in 33 days, why can’t I run any better?

I feel like I’m moving along, and then the engines have been reversed, and I’m in that limbo where I’m not really moving forward, but not going the reverse direction yet either, I’m just spinning and spinning and not getting anywhere.

I am hoping with all my heart that I’ll start moving soon, that those propellers will start making momentum and I’ll begin moving. Moving in the right direction. That quitting pop will help my running. That my legs and lungs and heart and mind will start feeling stronger, like I know they can be. That running will start to feel like it used to, aside from the knee pain. And that I will be able to go out and run 5 miles any old day of the week, like I used to. That I can lose the weight I put on by doing nothing for several months, and start to feel lighter and faster.

I have the very best support team. My husband, family, and friends are unmatched in their support and encouragement. I know I can start making more progress with them.

I’m not quitting. In fact, the opposite is quite true.  I am far from quitting, but I am having a difficult time coming to terms that my running self is not the same running self of a year ago, or two years ago. And that’s okay. Progress is progress.  I just need to convince myself of that, and allow my own progress to happen.


The Road to Progress

I’ve had several people ask me about my knee, and my progress with it lately.  I guess that means it’s time for a little update post!

My [left] knee (and my right glute, for that matter) have been doing so much better since January.  To recap very quickly, I went to the orthopedic doctor the first week of January, and was instructed to take 2 weeks off running, I received a cortisone shot in my knee, and was sent home with a diagnosis of a torn meniscus.  When I ran again, 2 weeks later, the pain was back.  At the beginning of February, and an MRI later, it was determined my knee was structurally sound, no tears in my meniscus, or elsewhere.  I was given 2 more cortisone shots in different parts of my knee.  I was frustrated and upset, and after several more visits to my chiropractor, he gave me a series of stretches that have diminished the pain so much that it is all but gone.

I don’t know how much the pain diminished due to the shots, and how much the chiropractic stretches and needlings and adjustments have attributed to it.  I also stopped wearing my Hokas (they were about worn out anyway) and switched to my Altra Lone Peaks.  The change in shoes, chiropractic stretches, and cortisone shots all happened within about 2 weeks, during which, my knee felt 60-80% better.

Photo Mar 23, 8 43 16 PM

I continue to do my knee stretches every other day or so, and I’d venture a guess that the pain is 85% gone.  I get twinges behind my knee on the lateral side every now and then, and I can tell if I’m not doing my stretches for a couple days, because it gets worse and I get back to stretching.  My glute is also doing so much better, due to stretches loosening up my lower back, taking the pressure off a disc or two that are unhappy.

Overall, I’m very happy, but also kind of waiting for the pain to come back.  I’m so hopeful that the stretches are doing the trick, and it’s not the shots that made the pain go away, because once the shots wear off, I don’t want the pain to come back!

I’ve been running 20-25 miles per week now for 4-5 weeks, mostly pain free, or at least a heck of a lot less pain than before.  I’m also cycling about 30-40 miles per week, either on the cycle bikes at the gym in class or on my own beautiful little bike around home.  I know cycling is helping strengthen my legs, which definitely helps my knee, and is also helping me run stronger.

Photo Mar 23, 8 42 44 PM

I feel like I’ve stumbled onto some kind of magic formula… I don’t want to change my shoes.  I don’t want to stop running or cycling.  I don’t want to stop my stretches.  I feel like I’m balancing and hanging on and don’t want to chance anything!  I’ve re-evaluated my goals, and for now, I’m going to keep on doing what I’m doing, and hopefully I will continue to be pain free, or at least mostly pain free while I’m at it!

I’m happy, and I’m working on getting healthy, and having my knee on board sure helps!  The real test will be the three half marathons I have coming up, one each in April, May, and June.  I’m confident that I’ll get through them, one step at a time, my knee, hopefully, on board with me!

Monday Mentionings: July 13

I am really loving Monday Mentionings.  Makes so much more sense to have Thursday Thoughts on Mondays instead of Thursdays.  Duh, Renee.

After tornadoes on Monday, and a nice 5 mile run run with Amy Tuesday, I went to yoga Wednesday and finally was able to pop up into a headstand WITH NO BLOCKS! Huge breakthrough! I was so happy!!Photo Jul 09, 6 00 14 PMThursday, my parents were in town, and we hit the trails for a few miles before dinner.  Dad biked along, and Mom and I ran.  We saw tons of wildlife, a deer, several squirrels and rabbits, different kinds of birds, and my favorite little woodchuck family that lives near my apartment.Photo Jul 09, 7 04 41 PMSaturday was haircut day! I had 3-4 inches cut off, and had my hair colored darker.  I also got my bangs back, they had grown so long that all I’d been doing was pinning them back!Photo Jul 12, 6 24 37 PMYour Jasper picture of the week: this is the “I want to eat now face.”  If you see this face, you’d better be getting food ready.Photo Jul 11, 3 54 49 PMJasper was happy after I fed him, by the way.Photo Jul 11, 5 04 51 PMLet’s talk a minute about my sister.  She’s amazing. On Saturday, she put her training to the test and completed her first half-ironman, over 30 minutes quicker than she had hoped.  She’s a badass, and I look up to her.  She inspires me every day.  Congratulations Kristen, I’m so proud of you!Photo Jul 11, 3 23 09 PMBestie time with Papa Murphy’s, 7/11, and Mean Girls = PERFECT night.  Photo Jul 11, 7 21 14 PMPool time with the best friend (I can have a bestie AND a best friend, thankyouverymuch!) and her family today.  It was H.O.T. outside, and the pool felt ahhh-mazing.Photo Jul 12, 12 52 15 PMPhoto Jul 12, 2 11 25 PMLast night I posted my interview with Derek Mitchell, he is walking 5ks to lose hundreds of pounds, and he is a huge inspiration for the running community!  Be sure to check it out!

I got up this morning to run at 5:45 with Amy, to beat the heat.  No way we were going to run tonight, it’s supposed to be over 100 degrees and there’s a heat advisory.  I guess after a couple weeks of non-summer weather, summer decided to make us remember what a real summer feels like.  I went way out of my comfort zone, and did something I’ve always wanted to do, but was too afraid and self conscious. I ran in a sports bra and compression shorts. I figured if I was going to do it, early on a Monday morning with only Amy to see would be the best. I hope I didn’t blind Amy with my white tummy! 

Stay cool, friends!