Sure, staying in shape is tough: you’ve got to get up early sometimes to get runs in, you don’t get much down time, you have to watch your diet constantly. But you know what is harder than staying in shape???? GETTING BACK IN SHAPE!!! Or getting in shape to begin with.
This picture pretty much sums up where I am in my life right now. I’m having trouble running more than a mile at a time. I have to sit and die after. I stop to walk all the time. I am fighting for a sub 11 minute mile. But you know what? I’M DOING IT, and that is more than many other people can say. I can also say that through this process, I’ve learned that it doesn’t really matter how fast I am or what other people think- all that matters is that I am actively doing something I love. I’m doing this FOR MYSELF- not for anyone else. I have something to prove to ME!
Here’s my story:
I was in great shape. I was running multiple marathons a season, getting an easy three miles in a day, was happy with my 8 minute/mile pace. I was happy! I was feeling as though I was getting somewhere with my training. I felt satisfied. I was very concerned about what others thought about my accomplishments. Was I fast enough? Was that run good enough? I felt like I constantly had something to prove. Through these feelings, I got better and better.
I was super busy during the fall and didn’t have a whole lot of time to train. I pushed myself through a marathon. Bad idea. I ended up hurting my knee. I went to the doctor and he shot me up a few times and said it was okay. I attempted to run RnR New Orleans the next week. OMG BAD IDEA.
This completely threw me for a loop. Was I ever going to run again? Did I even want to try? Was it worth it? I knew I never wanted to go through the pain of having knee problems ever again, as it was miserable and not something that I want to experience again. I had my surgery in July of 2016. I spent two weeks sitting on my chaise lounge watching marathons of Botched. I wobbled around. It hurt. I couldn’t straighten my knee all the way and I couldn’t bend it all the way. I felt like I was a million years old.
I tried to run way too soon. I was six weeks after and I felt good. NOTE: NEVER ATTEMPT SOMETHING LIKE THAT WHEN COMING OFF AN INJURY JUST BECAUSE YOU THINK YOU CAN. Everyone told me “Mel, take your time. Don’t rush!” But of course, I know better. Duh. So I pushed myself when I shouldn’t have and instead of taking steps forward, I took multiple steps back.
So I went on a couple of jogs and I felt like my knee was going to fall off. It would swell and I would cry and I’d be popping anti-inflammatory pills like candy. Clearly this was not a good idea, so I made the decision to be nice to my body and STOP. All together. No more running.
I focused on the things that I could do. I walked. I danced. I stretched and stretched and stretched. I came to terms with the fact that I may never run again. The problem was that I was still going to cheer on my husband at all of his races and I just MISSED the starting line (and more so, the FINISH line) so so so much. People who aren’t runners will never understand the absolute joy of crossing the finish line. They will never understand what a finish line can do for your self esteem and your self confidence. They won’t understand the mental fortitude it took to get there. It turns into an absolute craving that you MUST go back to.
I went back.
I ran the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day. That was 4 months after my surgery. I took it slow and finished without much pain in my knee, but I just didn’t feel 1000%. I took another break for a few weeks to make sure my knee was good, then I decided to jump into and sign up for my first half marathon since surgery- the Amazing Half Marathon in Baton Rouge.
My race is coming up in March and I am so excited. I have decided that I don’t care AT ALL about my pace. If I need to walk, I’ll walk. If I need to stretch out my leg- I’ll do it. If I need to pull out, then so be it. But I’m doing it. I will persevere and get to the end and have another amazing finish line experience.
I have a 26.2 sticker on my car. I am determined that this sticker is not just representative of my past, but also of my future. I WILL be able to get back to where I was. I may not be as fast or as competitive, but I will be a part of it. I love racing and no matter what part of the pack I’m in, I want to live it!
Are you coming back from some injury?? Or are you just getting back into shape? Or in shape for the first time?? Tell me about it in the comments!