It’s been 6 months since my surgery, almost 9 months since I’ve run, my knee feels good 99% of the time, summer is in full swing, and I should be going CRAZY for a run, but strangely I’m not. Why is that?
Well, maybe I’m not going crazy for a run because I got married! Yes, from this point forward, Reader #1 will be referred to as “my lovely perfect wife.” She may not like that designation, but she’ll let me use it, which helps explain why she is “my lovely perfect wife.” I’ve got to tell you, I had high hopes for our wedding and everything turned out better than I’d imagined. Not only am I delighted to be married to my lovely perfect wife, our wedding was great fun from start to finish and one of the most humbling experiences of my life—to have all the people we care most about come from near and far to celebrate with us, say such nice things, give their congratulations, it was really something. Thoughts of running were so far from my mind I didn’t mind one bit sleeping in the morning after we’d gotten married while right outside our hotel in Peoria, thousands of runners were doing The Steamboat Classic (a race we’ve both run the last few years and which has quickly become one of my favorites), including race winner Shadrack Kosegi (who blazed the 4-mile course in 18:05!).
And maybe I’m not going crazy for a run because my wedding was the first major event my family has gone through together since my dad died in September. As much as we enjoyed ourselves, we also knew it would have been even better with him there. I guess that’s how we have to go through life now—no matter how things go, we know they could’ve been better. That’s kind of a sobering thought, but I don’t see any other honest way to view it.
And maybe I’m not going crazy for a run because on our honeymoon, my lovely perfect wife and I hung out at the pool at the Wynn (where Prince Harry and Ryan Lochte had their drunken swim race), walked the entire length of the Las Vegas Strip, saw the Grand Canyon (just days before watching Nik Wallenda walk over it on a tightrope on live TV), and spent three days in beautiful Sedona where we hiked, mountain biked, ate great food, told each other we were glad to be married, and made plans for the rest of our lives (that’s what you’re supposed to do on a honeymoon, right?).
And maybe I’m not going crazy for a run because when we got back home we learned that our good friends, the kind of people who deserve only the best in life, gave birth to a baby girl, but lost her soon after. And yesterday I visited my uncle is a hospice. I mean, we all know life is precious, but sometimes we can feel it a little more clearly. I guess I’ve been having a lot of those feelings lately.
And maybe I’m not going crazy for a run because I’m still enjoying swimming and my knee is getting strong enough to do some more serious biking. I’ve never ridden a Century and maybe if I hold off of my running, I can get in shape for that by the end of summer. I’m also a Tour de France junkie and watching the race unfold on TV most every day really gets me in the mood to get out on my bike and pedal away.
And maybe I’m not going crazy for a run because I like having more energy throughout the day. I did 10 workouts last week for a total of 12 ½ hours, but nothing tires me out like a hard summertime run. When I swim, my heart rate goes way up, but my body recovers easily enough. When I’m biking, my legs are just not strong enough to maintain a hard effort for long, so by the time my legs get sapped, I’m not breathing that hard. These are deficiencies in my body, maybe I’ll overcome them with more work, but in the meantime, I’m feeling relatively fresh. This could also be because I’m not doing the same type of training two days in a row. Or maybe it’s because my lovely perfect wife and I have been sticking to our mostly-vegan diet for over 2 months now. We don’t eat eat meat or dairy, only whole grains, lots of fruits and veggies, very little processed food. The only way we’re not vegan is because we still have seafood once in a while (oh, and that pig roast we had for our wedding). This diet has gotten me down to racing weight (even without running), and maybe it is helping to put the spring in my step, but I guess I won’t know that until I start running again.
And maybe I’m not going crazy for a run because I’m afraid to run. I’ve been reading (again) stories of others who’ve had microfracture surgery like mine and it seems there’s a good chance of re-injuring the cartilage–one wrong move and the patch that’s formed can rip or tear away from the bone, and every day or two, when I turn or twist or make a quick move, I feel a sharp pain. I sure don’t want to start this whole process over again, with probably lower chances of success. I’ve told myself I should wait until I go a full week without pain, but I wish I knew what was going on in there—does it hurt because it’s still healing, or hasn’t healed correctly? Or is it something that will continue to get better with more work? Nothing I’ve read (or heard from my doctor) has made that clear, as least as clear as it needs to be for me to start running again.
And, finally, maybe I’m not going crazy for a run because I know it’s going to happen soon. Parts of me are ready already. I’ve been checking race results online, figuring where I’d fit in. I can’t drive past a golf course without imaging myself running on it. Whenever I’m walking, part of me is saying, let’s try it, let’s run. This week I wore 5 pound ankle weights on each leg when I walked—to keep me from even thinking about it. I’ll probably do this from now on, keep myself on house arrest, as it were, until I’m sure it’s safe to run, or until I can’t hold back any longer. For those of you who were hoping this running blog would include some description of running by this point, I know exactly how you feel. But our patience will be rewarded. I don’t think it will be long now. It won’t be long before I can tell you how it feels to run again….