Acceptance . . . Sort Of

>> Friday, November 5, 2010

Runners out there will know exactly what I'm talking about. The urge to test out injury at the very first sign that maybe -- just MAYBE -- it's getting better. No pain when walking is the first good feeling that sets everything in motion. Then a little jog (or two) down a hallway when no one's looking. Hey -- no pain! Green light. Right?

WRONG. (Always so very, very wrong!)

Of course, I promised myself a week of absolutely no running. However, when I got to the gym last night and found out I'd missed lap swim hours, I needed to do SOMEthing. My knee had been holding up the entire week on some 5K walks. The pain had been getting progressively less intense going up and down stairs. Maybe a couple miles on the treadmill wouldn't hurt, I thought.

The first mile was good. No pain at all. Cruising at 7 to 7.5 MPH most of the time (all the pool jogging intervals I've been doing have made me feel confident goes a steady -- and FAST -- pace!). The second mile, 7.5 to 7.8 MPH, was OK until the half-way point. Then I started to get the familiar twinge. Then sharpness. Ick. I decided to stop at 2 miles . . . and then experiment.

I grabbed the gym's foam roller and rolled the HECK out of my left IT band. When I stood up, my knee felt fine.

Well, a little better.
No, fine!
Eh, maybe some -- OUCH -- pain.
No, fine?
Really, I'll be fine.

So, I did what any runner would do: I hopped back on the treadmill, like an idiot, to see if the rolling had worked.

Just over a quarter mile into my trial, I discovered that -- I was (surprise!) still in pain. And I'm almost certain it wasn't from my IT band. At least I don't think so. It's lower, on the outside on the knee . . . but close to the kneecap. Cartilage, maybe? Maybe. I finished out the mile. The pain didn't get much worse, but it didn't get any better. I have stopped playing doctor to myself, though, and I have a call into my GP for a referral to a sports physician.

I've now (however reluctantly) reached the acceptance stage with my injury. I courageously declared to you all last week that I would not try to run the full marathon at Philly this month. The half, instead, would be my race. I was excited -- and emotionally cool -- with taking my training down a notch. Now, I'm reconsidering (alright, pretty damned sure I won't be) lacing up at all that morning for anything more than a walk with my in-laws to the finish. As a spectator.

Ugh. REALLY?! THIS IS HOW IT'S GOING TO BE?! Two marathons . . . and awesome training season . . . and then DNFing at one and not even getting to the start at the other? Life, you're so very interesting sometimes.


I've carved this word deeply into my identity. Deeper than any tattoo inked into my skin. More like chiseled in . . . stone. I know I'm many other things, but this runner part is something that has taken me on more ups and downs than anything else. I feel my best when I'm running. Period. Even a week off has me worried that I'll never run again. That some (HUGE) part of me will die away.

But when I found myself -- yet again -- in the pool this morning. For a 50-minute jog with my friend Nancy. I couldn't help but remember that I'm lucky. Later in my workout, this guy my age hopped into the pool, literally. I couldn't see very well because I had some water in my eyes, but he was an above-the-knee amputee on his left leg. He was also incredibly cut and in super great shape. He KILLED laps in the pool faster than I can ever imagine swimming. Ever. What he made me think about is . . . perspective. I have a mild knee problem. But I have my knee. I can walk. I'll be OK with rest and RICE.

Even if not, it's not the end of the freaking world. CHILL OUT.

Unless something's way out of whack, this injury is only a mere setback in my running career. (Never, ever thought I'd use the words running and career together when talking about myself. Woah.) There will be hundreds -- thousands -- of other races for me to finish, my friend Iris reminded me last night.

I've had a fantastic year of racing. (This list is more for me than for you. It will help me feel good about my year. And not totally defeated.)
At this point, I imagine you are all getting a little sick of the knee updates. I'm going to try to lessen the talk on the site. Only let you know about it as I get new news. And get onto more interesting things, like the cross-training I'm doing (because I've been going nuts in the gym with fun stuff!), nutrition (stay tuned for an update on that later today), and other . . . more holistic stuff.

Because I'm more than just a runner, you know. I cook and bake. I play instruments and sing. I knit and take photos. I have friends and family. I like to dress up. I like to watch movies. Etc. So, less running is allowing me to flesh out the OTHER Ashleys. Perhaps the more interesting Ashleys. And it's not so bad.

What makes you . . . YOU? We're all multi-faceted with many interests and talents. We also all have stuff we're maybe no-so good at. For me, I'm terrible at keeping plants alive. I'm not terribly organized. And I'm a bit of a slob. There, I said it. But what makes you . . . YOU? Just leave a comment or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.

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