I’ve always said that Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, feels like a fresh start to me. Even more so than January 1st. The Jewish New Year always coincides with the beginning of fall; which also always feels like a fresh start. It’s probably not a coincidence that the High Holy Days (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) also coincide with my birthday and always cause me sit and think about the past year and what I wish for myself for the next. This year my birthday falls right on Yom Kippur (Friday for those of you keeping track). The Day of Atonement. The day you ask G-d for forgiveness. This time of year makes me sit and consider how have I’ve acted towards others this year. How could I have acted kinder, more understanding, shown more love and compassion for others? How can I grow and be an even better person next year? What do I want for myself for the next year and what kind of person do I want to be?
This year, I also find myself semi-injured for the second time in 2014. Thanks to a suspected weak butt (are you really supposed to talk about G-d and your butt in the same post?), and some muscle imbalances, it seems I have a bit of runner’s knee. I’ve never had any knee issues before so this is uncharted territory for me. Tight calves, I’m your girl. Knee issues!?! Never. It all started with a weighted forward lunge I obviously wasn’t strong enough for. My knee has felt “present” on and off for the past couple of weeks but nothing causing me to stop my training; strength or running. I’ve had to modify a few things but overall the “presence of something” has felt manageable. Until last week. A week and a half ago I ran nine miles.
My knee bothered me enough if the first mile to tell myself I would throw in then towel if it continued to hurt in the second mile. And just like that, the pain was gone and I had a great run.
I ran four miles the following day and felt no pain while running. I took a shower post-run and when I got out of the shower I was limping. The discomfort continued to come and go all day; completely inexplicably. I’m sure wearing heels and dancing at a wedding that night didn’t help but I went to bed pain free. I rested Monday and Tuesday and felt okay and then woke up Wednesday morning limping again. Even worse this time. It didn’t help, mentally, that this was a race week; the Bronx 10 Mile coming up on Sunday. I spent the majority of last week believing that my knee would force me to DNS once again this year. I made a panicked call to my physical therapist. Obviously. She told me that rest wouldn’t help in this case and I should try running a couple of times and run the race. What!?! Run the race!?! I ran a few, physical therapist recommended, miles on Wednesday night before the holiday.
And again on Friday; both runs basically without pain. I actually felt better after my run on Wednesday than I did when I woke up that morning. How could that be possible? All I knew was that my knee was messing with my mind and had me on an emotional roller coaster; not knowing if I would show up in the Bronx come race day.
Spoiler alert: I RAN THE BRONX 10 MILE.
It wasn’t pretty. In fact, I ran it 10 minutes slower than last year.
I will be honest. This got me pretty down on myself on Sunday night. Why was I so upset? I just ran 10 miles for the first time since fracturing my arm. I ran 10 miles for the first time in nine months. I ran 10 miles for the first time this year. It took a few pep talks, and a big reminder, but I finally gained some perspective on Monday and felt much better.
As I stood in my bedroom at my parent’s house last week, putting lotion on my arms, I remembered having a broken arm in three places. I remembered when I couldn’t put lotion on my arms myself; 8 months ago. I remembered not being able to move my arm. I remembered not being able to dress myself. I remembered living at my parent’s house for almost a month; unable to take care of myself. And it made me realize that a little runner’s knee isn’t such a big deal. Even if it means a setback in my training for the Richmond Half Marathon. Even if it means last Sunday in the Bronx wasn’t my best race performance. Even if it means I’m not running the New York City Marathon this year with my best buddy. I can dress myself. I can take care of myself. And although it’s definitely frustrating some days, I can run. And for that I should only be grateful and realize that if I was strong enough to get through that, I am strong enough to get through this too. So it’s back to strengthening that butt, focusing on Richmond, and only positive thinking for the new year.
Have you ever had runner’s knee? What’s your best advice?
Have you ever had to start from scratch and get back in shape after a major injury?
How do you stay positive when you aren’t where you once were?