Monday, January 23, 2012

I can run!

There was a time, not too many years ago when I believed my running life was over.

X-Rays revealed significant arthritis in my left knee.  My orthopaedic surgeon told me there was nothing he could do except knee replacement surgery.  I could run as long as I wanted to, but he assured me that my running was going to be over quite soon and a knee replacement was in my future.  His advice was to put that off as long as I possibly could.

Long story short I did quit running . . . for about 10 years before I found my own miracle cure.  No surgery or medicine and I was able to run again.  And run I did!

Not fast . . . but I completed a ton of marathons and a whole bunch of ultras.  Two cartilage knee surgeries (one on my left knee and one on my right) didn't even really slow me down.  My only personal running goal left is to finish a 100 mile run.  Three attempts and three failures . . . well . . . let's don't call them failures.  Just unsuccessful attempts.  A failure would be to not try.

And I've tried.

My October hip surgery has been a difficult challenge.  And the story had not finished.

But I have hit a plateau in my comeback and progress is not detectable right now.  That may start to change tomorrow.  Or next week.  Or next month,  Or maybe next year.  Or maybe not at all.

And that's what I've been thinking a lot about in the last two weeks.  What if 4-6 miles is my new limit?  What if I don't progress any further?

It's not that pain starts building and it's the pain that limits my distance.  No . . . it's something really strange.  My hip seems to 'tighten up' and loose strength.  I know that doesn't make much sense.  And you would thing I would just run through that.  But it is very limiting.  And I'm having a really hard time getting through this.  To the point where I have started to consider the possibility that this could be as good as it gets!  There may well not be a successful 100 mile finish.  There may not be another marathon . . . nor even a 10 miles in my future.

Now understand . . . I'm not giving up!  And I honestly don't want a single comment about this post.  I just wanted to share with you what is going on in my 'unusual' mind!  My hip doctor has warned me this may be a six month recovery and I'm only 3 months in!  Well ahead of were he thought I would be by this time!  So the story if far from over!

There is a part of me that is not sad at all about this possibility of limited running!  Honestly there is even some relief there!  Right now when I think about all the work needed to even have an honest 100 mile attempt the mountain seems almost too high.  A significant part of me is not disappointed to think I may not have to go through this.

4-6 miles a run is PLENTY to continue a healthy, active life.  And maybe my active life could even be extended by NOT attempting these longer distances.  It's not bad to do a 4-6 mile run every other day.

Quite frankly, in the middle of my 10-year hiatus when I thought I had arthritis, I would have done a 'double back-flip' to run just 2 miles every other day.  So . . . to be able to run 4-6 miles is a gift I'm seriously happy to have received!

But let me say this again.  I'm not giving up yet.  I'm just saying that if I do have to give up . . . I'm okay with it.  Just as long as no one puts "But he never could finish a 100 miler!" on my gravestone!  Hey . . . come to think of it, I'm going to be cremated anyway, so that's just not going to happen anyway!

Seriously . . . no comments please.

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Littleton, North Carolina
World's Slowest Runner . . . well, at least in contention for the honor. Just your average "below average" runner.