She Runs with Winged Feet

She Runs with Winged Feet
...the life and adventures of a runner

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Running is Going to Take You Down

New blog, first post! Woo! And because my life is about 85% irony and 15% insanity, I can't even write about me running; because I can't actually run right this minute. For the last 2 months (see also: AMAZING running weather) I haven't been able to run.

I tore a ligament in my knee (MCL for anyone keeping track) and now I'm wearing a flashy Robocop brace that looks weird and doesn't even help me fight crime. I'm also supposed to be doing physical therapy because my quads have decided to abandon the fight and wither and atrophy and all that jazz. Note: physical therapy is tedious and horrible, and physical theraPISTS will only laugh uproariously when you tell them that they're horrible people. Apparently they hear this sort of thing a lot. Settle down, Marquis de Sade, I don't need to do that many reps of your pain-game exercises.

So this post is about Not Running, mainly. Again, start a running blog, can't run = irony for anyone not totally clear on the concept (which would be just about 95% of the people I see using the term ironic and/or irony).

Here is the bitter, cold, heartless truth of running. You WILL get injured. But Sammo, you say, full of hope and shining dreams of your next 5k, 10k, halfsie marathon, "I stretch and train properly and run and have a chart and shoes with just the right mileage on them." "I'll never get hurt," you continue, as you sip your recovery drink and lounge in your Dri-fit wear. Your middle name should be Hubris! Hubris! I once announced how lucky I had been to dodge the knee problems that plagued other ladies I know. Wow, we have the same wider hips, I'm just such a lucky, luck girl and my knees are fiiiiiine.

Challenge accepted, replied the Universe. My knee pain was annoying at first, but being the stalwart runner I am, I thought that doing some lengthy trail runs up and down hills in the woods would help. Note: I cannot emphasize enough how much it did NOT help. Oh the runs themselves went okay, just the usual thunderous echo of my Asics pounding the beaten down trail dirt, and the laborious wheeze of my inhalations. Then I found I needed to ice-ice-baby my knee. Stiff as an octogenarian's joints I tell you.

I decided to stop running and give it a bit. Probably just irritated something, no big deal, I thought it my silly optimistic head. Then we went on vacation and walked miles and miles looking at touristy things and wandering hither and yon in search of not-too-diabetic sweet tea. My knee was possibly literally on fire. I mean that sucker was flaaaaamingly irritated. I spent half the vaca propping my knee up and icing it whenever I could find any vaguely chilly product.

Time for a doctor you say? Why sure 'nuff! Said doctor is a damned miracle worker, bet your ass. My husband has been given a decade of joint usage by this surgeon's blessed hands. The doc ordered up an MRI and it showed...a tear. An angry, unhappy little tear.

"It's weird, but for whatever reason, women have a tough time healing from this injury." Oh, good. Good news. I'm a woman, and I'm a shit healer anyway, and now I have a magical injury that women (average ones I assume, and not even shit healers) linger with? Cool story Dr. bro, tell it again.

Then I got my Robocop brace and here we are. I'm braced up and doing random quad stretches and exercises to support all my...supportive stuff. Then I'm trying to motivate my own damnable ligament to do its job and heal, for the love of Jesus. It isn't taking me up on the offer. It's still annoyed and I can feel the injury if I move the wrong way and I guess they should probably put me in the Ortho Surgeon medical book for "And here is a rare, stupid thing that only a few people ever get."

You say the word "rare" involving a medical thing, and I'm your gal. Rare reaction that is in the fine print? That's me, alllllll day long.

So I'm rare like steak in a French restaurant, and my ligament is doing it's best "I don't wannnnna heal" thing and my trails are growing cold and sad without me. I'm being the world's biggest not running baby, and refuse to listen to almost all of my ipod running playlist because then I want to punch my knee in the face, but it's my face and that would be a whole situation.

The bottom line is: you may have been down with an injury, or you're going down - there is no in between. I don't care who you are, even if you're some running phenom freaking Kenyan. You're going to be tired one day and roll your ankle on a curb. You're going to trip over a root on a trail, or spaz out trying to avoid a snake (that happened last spring), or see your ex and make a mad dash into the trees - but you ARE going down.

Running is a demanding mistress. You're just the poor sap who is destined to Facebook stalk her. Maybe she'll love you here and there; but make no mistake, you love her WAY more than she loves you. In fact, you might be in an abusive relationship already, just like I am with Running.

Eventually you'll be the poor shmuck doing 3 sets of 10 leg lifts because you pulled or tore or broke something. Doesn't matter that you have shoes fit for you at some fancy running store. Doesn't matter that you warm up religiously and make sure you're training right. None of it matters.

It's like motorcycles, of which my love affair is the stuff of legend. My god in heaven, for the right Suzuki Hyabusa I would launch a thousand ships! (Come on, you know you dig that mythology reference. Quality work, that's what I do, folks.) Much like motorcycles, there are two types of riders: those who have gone down and those who are going down. Have I been down? Yep. I was just lucky that it was in a parking lot, and once on my driveway/yard when we came in too hot. We know people who have gone down HARD.

Do I still love bikes? YES. You just have to be willing to take the risks for the rewards and know which one outweighs the other.

I'm not trying to be all Debbie Downer! Make no mistake, the second my dirty, dirty MCL pulls itself together, you'll find me right back on my trails, huffing along and run-dancing to all the righteous rock songs in my playlist.

If you're a runner, that's the thing: it owns you - like heroin but without all the nodding and early death.

You've seen friends wearing weird wraps and sleeves and gadgets and new shoes and orthotics... but none of you; NONE of you are hanging up the shoes for the couch. True story: I told the lady before my MRI that maybe I should stay on the couch because it's less dicey. She said that the injuries you get from being out of shape and sedentary are worse than the ones you get from being active. (Couch hammy pull? Potato-chip-dippers wrist?)

Is she right? Well y'all, I'm banking on it. I plan to be out there, soon, running until I pull/tear/strain my next pull-able/tear-able/strain-able body part. If you're part of the insane, masochistic, nutty Runner's Family, you'll be out there, too. See you mothers in PT!

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