Say hi to my college friend, Becky. I feel confident in saying I don’t think either of us was much of a runner back in our Chatham days. I asked Becky to write for this series, because I wanted her to share the really long recovery journey she’s endured since a knee injury. Just thinking about it makes me twitchy. Becky’s on the road to recovery and will rock the run this year.
Sometimes you do not think about why you run until you can’t.
My name is Becky and I am runner who is making her comeback from a nasty right knee injury that sidelined me on July 11, 2011.
That fateful day on the boardwalk, I tripped after a hot and humid 5 miler while on vacation. I did not fall. I caught myself because falling would equal embarrassment in front of a group of people I would never see again.
The moral of the story is—let yourself fall. I tore my meniscus and badly sprained my MCL. The meniscus tear never showed up on the MRI but a cloudy area nicknamed the “jelly donut” by my doc did. The course of treatment was experimental Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections that help ligaments heal faster and have worked for Hines and Troy from the Steelers. That ought to be reason enough to do them since I am from Pittsburgh, right? My doc is the Pirates’ doc and was very in favor of PRP since I have a stubborn healing knee.
I had an exploratory arthroscopy and PRP injections surgery on September 29. My doc did repair a meniscus tear not visible on the MRI and remove a fair amount of arthritis. I am 39 and should not have this much arthritis in my knee. The jelly donut is still cozy in my medial meniscus and injected with PRP.
PT and fluid complications were part of the fun in October as my recovery slowly began. I had my knee drained while reading chapter 21 of “Run With Me: An Accidental Runner and the Power of Poo.” I got to read about Jen’s first half marathon and how hard it was for her while my doc was pulling fluid out of my knee with a cartoon-sized needle. The comfort of another runner’s journey was a big help that day.
Jealously of others…
Just before my injury, my husband “I will never run unless something is chasing me” began running. I was proud of him. Seth is fast. He runs with good form. Seth has even given in to my need to dress him like a real runner in moisture wicking technical gear and not a hobo runner (dirty old cotton t-shirt and basketball shorts). Watching Seth’s times improve was hard. It was even harder when he ran the Pittsburgh Great Race 10K with my bib (the race always sells out) that I was training for at the time of my injury. At least I got a PR out of it to beat next year.
My friend Shelly, a new runner, had a great first 5 K. My running street teammate from RunKeeper ran that 10K we were training for and her first half marathon in her home state of Missouri. Seth and my pal Sara ran a 5K I was to run with them in August.
Watching others have success is difficult; especially when you are an overachiever like me. I was happy for them but the green-eyed monster was right there the entire time. I was jealous that my friends could do what I couldn’t- run.
Questions from the peanut gallery…
Why do you want to run again?
Will the injury end your running career?
Didn’t you know running is bad for your knees?
Oh, the non-runners in my life, I wanted to strangle them with my shoelaces. I defended my right to run by telling them tripping while walking is not a running related accident. I will vehemently defend my fellow runners to the end that running is not bad for us; tripping is.
January 2012: The Start of My Comeback!
I am able to start training again slowly after 159 days. I will heed the words of my PT and doc with rest days, slow mileage increases, icing after a run and cross training. The first song on my comeback playlist is “Broken Bottles” by Silversun Pickups. I run because I want to run.
My new comeback mantra*:
I will not relive this
I will not relive it
*The final verses of “Broken Bottles” by Silversun Pickups