"To keep from decaying, to be a winner, the athlete must accept pain... not only accept it, but look for it, live with it, learn not to fear it." - Dr. George Sheehan
To say the last 5 months have been a roller coaster ride would be an understatement. I cannot put in to words how much I ached to run during this time. After resting for several months and getting an injection in my knee, the doctor decided to run a MRI and determined that my plica band would not return to it's normal size. The doctor recommended arthroscopic knee surgery on June 23rd, and we scheduled surgery for June 24th. My surgery went really well, and the doc told me I could start running 4 weeks post surgery. At the end of the fourth week, my knee still didn't feel great so I decided to take an additional week off to give my knee the extra time to heal. At the end of the fifth week, I started running a couple of days a week - no more than 1-2 miles at a time. Talk about a tease - I really had to practice my self control so that I wouldn't hurt my knee again. By week 6 I was able to run with only a little bit of pain. When I went back to the doctor for my post-op checkup at the end of week 6, he gave me the green light to start running based off of my pain level.
Within the past week I have made major progress with my running. My knee feels great, and (knock on wood) I haven't felt any pain. What I have noticed is how out of shape I got in the 5 months of being injured. I am making sure to slowly build my fitness and to listen to my body closely to prevent any more injuries. I have been doing a combination of running and biking. This week alone I have run 51 miles and biked 81 miles - not too shabby for my first real week back running.
My time away from running has really made me miss two things. 1) I really missed lacing up my shoes to go for a run before the first glimmer of sunlight appeared. Over the past week I have retrained my body to get up at 4 am to run, and it feels great. I love running in the morning because very few people are out on the roads. In my opinion, there is no better way to start a day than with a good run.
2) For some sick reason, I have missed the pain that I have in my legs right now. Every time I get up from my desk, I am reminded how much my muscles hurt. I am reminded that I have a long ways to go to get back into the shape I was in before my injury, but each and everyday I am getting stronger and faster. I have to reteach myself to embrace the pain and push past it. I have to reprogram not only my muscles but also my mind to learn to run with the pain. I have to learn to live with the pain and not fear it, but welcome it.
This is not something that is going to happen overnight. It's going to be a tedious process but I am confident that come October 3rd, I will have trained enough to get by body where it needs to be to get through the grueling race known as Grindstone.
It's been a long time coming, but I am back. Roll Tide!