There is something that happens when you become a regular runner.  You believe less in luck, and more in training.  Run any half marathon or marathon, and train seriously for it, and you begin to believe that with the right nutrition plan, training plan, pace buddies, shoes, gear, clothing, and attention, you can control how and when you finish that race.

For about 10 years, that’s how it went for me.  If I ran a bad race, it was usually on me – I either hadn’t trained enough, or hadn’t thought through the course.  If I got hurt it was on me.  I didn’t stretch enough, or I didn’t stop when the pain told me to.  In 2009, when plantar fasciitis reared its head while I was intermittently running (and still training), I didn’t listen up and slow down, and I paid in the end, with a two year condition that only recently healed after two bouts of PT and finally, a quick surgery.

Those of you who read regularly know that I moved to London from Chicago in 2011.  It was 10 weeks after surgery, and those first few weeks, months in London were tough.  I was in trainers every day, and the pain was still pretty regular.  By summer, it was getting better.  By September, it was gone.  I felt strong, and I had lost some weight, and I started to run again.  It was awesome.

I ran on the common by my house, and on the road when I traveled.  I ran so much when I was home in Cincinnat and Chicago at Christmas that I felt like I would never stop running again.  I felt the kind of joy that I remembered from those first days of running.  And so when, in mid-February, it snowed here, I felt like a kid who’d won the lottery – lucky, lucky, lucky to get to run on one of my favorite vistas – a park in snow.

I laced up my trainers and went out for a run.  It was a bit squishy – a bit slid-y. A bit wet.  I caught up with my brother and nephew building a snow fort, and we had a great time.  I ran home, and all was well.  And three hours later, I left my house to go to a Superbowl party, slipped on a patch of ice in front of my apartment, and felt my knee slam into itself in a way that wasn’t good.  I held up, and held on, for a minute.  Then I kept walking to the train.  By midnight, mid-way through the game, I couldn’t go down the stairs without it locking up.  The next day, I compounded the mistake in a pair of heels at work.

Six weeks later, I have the diagnosis.  I’ve been benched for that time, icing, resting, ibuprofening away here, and it’s not gotten any better.  Well, technically, that’s not true. I can now go down the stairs without flinching (but not without a rail).

I’ve managed to tear the meniscus in my knee in two places.  One on the inside left, one on the center of my left knee.  One would likely heal.  The other, not so much.  The doctor tells me that there’s an easy procedure to clean it up, a keyhole surgery where they trim down the cartilege or something and that makes it better.  I’m working out the logistics of a second opinion, a schedule, and a plan.

In the meantime, I’m pondering luck.  Maybe I’ve been lucky all these years to have so few injuries.  Maybe I’ve been stronger, and maybe now I’m just old and out of shape. I don’t really know.  I do know that this makes me want to throw things at a wall, and that’s not so good.  So I’m going back to the original plan – to have one.  Get a doc. Get an opinion. Get the surgery.  Get back out there.

Lucky as I may have been, I never saw that patch of ice, and I had no chance to adjust.  I was unlucky.  It happens.  So now it’s time to get to the pool, and walk while I can, and bottle the frustration of living in this lovely city which makes cycling a bit too dangerous and swimming a bit too inconvenient.  The excuses will have to go for awhile, while I try to get the groove back.

Luck’s a bitch.  But she’s got nothing on me, and my plan.

See you on the path….

7 thoughts

  1. You may not understand why these things happen, but I think I may have part of the answer…FOR ME. I have enjoyed your blog for awhile now and I find your “quest” an inspiration. I am a plus-size girl, and I want so desperately to be a runner. I started the Ease into 5K program a few weeks ago and to be honest I was getting frustrated. But reading your blog today has re-inspired me! So tomorrow, I will again get up at 5 A.M. and keep trying. No giving up…no excuses. THANKS!

    1. Oh, Judy –
      You’re way too nice! But yes, if my dance with Lady Luck has managed to help get you back on the road tomorrow (and I LOVE that you’re easing into it!) then that’s a good enough reason for me 😉 Have a great run tomorrow, and keep on trucking. No excuses.


  2. The timing of this is so perfect for me. Last weekend, the weekend before my first race of the year, I felt a recurrence of some groin pain I’d felt earlier in the year. Only this time worse! Doc says it’s a hernia and at this point will likely require surgery. Even if it doesn’t, running is not a good idea. Really?? You can’t tell that to runners. We’ll throw things at you. So he says if I MUST run, I’ll need to rest, ice and ibruprofen for several weeks just to get the swelling down. Then I should wear compression shorts/pants when I start running again. Well that’s just great. I have a race scheduled each month til August. Resting was not in my plan. Luckily, I live in California and swimming and biking are always options, even in winter. So I’m dusting off my swimsuit and my bike. But that just makes me want to train for a triathlon. Which includes running! So much of what makes me feel good involves running. Setbacks are always tough and all the training in the world won’t prevent them. So I look at the bright side. My problem can be fixed…it’s not permanent. In the down time, I can hone some other sports skills. That’s the plan, and you’re so right, it makes me feel better to have one. As long as I keep moving, life is wonderful! A bitch, but wonderful!! 😉

    1. Ah, Susan,
      It is a bitch, isn’t it? I’m sorry to hear that your injury has gone full fledged, and totally get what you’re feeling. But maybe this is just what we have to do – keep trying something that works until we’re healthy. I guess it’s also the benefit of being multi-disciplinary! That said, I’m with you – have races lined up all summer. It’s super annoying, but after the last two years, I know the down side in not addressing issues early. So we’ll be smart, and we won’t run, and we’ll want to throw things- but the plan is there for the making. Maybe we’ll have a Rehab Run in December somewhere!!!!

      Good luck, and let me know how your swimming and biking goes!

  3. Sallie-
    Hang in there gal! Even with the best of planning, the “unplanned bad luck vodoo wench” can kick us down at any moment and then you realize just how lucky and good you had it. But I think the key is a combined– being aware and listen to your body and persistance to work towards that healthy activity goal. Have a game plan AND hopefully, finding a balance in there can defeat a great deal, though. That’s what I struggle with all of the time.

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