Every day this week, I have assessed, “Is today the day I run farther?” Not today. My cold has really lingered. I’ve been awake at night coughing. One night I woke up feeling like I had swallowed glass. Last night, my chest felt constricted. It’s been a huge bummer. However, I’ve still been able to run my mile every day. Yesterday was absolutely gorgeous outside. I ran over my lunch break and I wanted to keep running so bad but I knew I would pay for it later so I stopped myself just after 1.25 miles. My heart rate was more elevated than usual so I’m glad I didn’t push it but I walked a bit farther to enjoy the sunshine. On Wednesday, I ran at sunrise and it was absolutely stunning.
It reminded me of the early morning runs I used to take before school with my running buddy. I miss him. The beginning of the run felt amazing. I thought maybe it was the day to run farther. As I passed the half mile mark, I realized, “Not today.” I know I will get back to where I was before I injured my knee once I start feeling better but waiting has never been my forte. Until then, I will do what I can to enjoy my 1 mile runs.
I’ve had a sore throat the past few days. It’s hard to hold myself back from running farther when my knee is just starting to feel better. I know I will just get more sick if I push myself too hard though. I ran a mile after work on Friday, a mile and a half around a small town in west central Illinois during my daughter’s scholastic bowl tournament yesterday and then another mile around my neighborhood today. Yesterday’s run really caused me to reflect on the poverty and disrepair of rural America. It makes me sad. I wish we weren’t a society that valued new and shiny so much. I wish we wanted to keep older homes and factories from falling apart. I feel like there are creative solutions for these issues but I haven’t been able to come up with any of those solutions yet. Rural America is aging and unwell and not many people seem interested in taking care of it in it’s old age. It makes me sad.
This week has been busy. However, my knee is continuing to improve so I was able to run more than a mile without pain! I’m hoping to have the time to do that again soon. Maybe I will this weekend. I ran just under 2 miles on Wednesday morning before work. I was able to leave my immediate neighborhood while running, which was the first time in almost 4 weeks. I was rewarded with witnessing seven swans a-swimming. I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing that in real life. I’ve been singing about it every December for probably 35 years now and will no longer need to imagine what that might look like. I wish I had taken a picture so I could share the experience. I have managed to squeeze in a mile run every other day this week to keep the streak alive. This week has been much more enjoyable without constant knee pain. I’m even starting to think about doing yoga again. These are exciting times.
I got a pair of rollerblades over the weekend. Someone healing from a fall that occurred while running probably shouldn’t strap a set of wheels to their feet but here we are. I did buy the set of pads that my daughter claims make me look “lame”. She has been learning to rollerblade for the past few weeks so I decided to join her. I did enjoy rollerblading as a teenager but apparently that was too long ago for my brain to believe that they aren’t trying to kill me. The pads help. I honestly thought it might be a good way to get more physical exercise without jarring my knee joint as much. I didn’t expect there to be such a large relearning curve. So far the only extra physical exercise I’ve gotten has been an increase in heart rate due to anxiety. I am reading The Places That Scare You by Pema Chödrön. It turns out that every place scares me when I’m wearing rollerblades. I’m hoping the book can help get me through the fear. I have been consistently running my daily mile to keep my streak alive. It still feels like a chore but I can tell my knee is getting better. My pace has gotten back to my pre-injury state but I’m just running significantly fewer miles. I know I’ll get back to where I was but I’m just not super patient. Maybe Pema’s book can help me with that too.
Healing is boring. Painful and boring. I feel like I don’t have much to write about. I ran a mile today. My knee hurts. Repeat. It’s certainly getting better but I look forward to the day when I don’t think about it anymore. I also look forward to running multiple miles again. I feel chained to a half mile perimeter around my house. I hope my investment in recovery is rewarded with complete healing as the weather gets warmer. In other news, I got to see Mr. B today! I wish we had been able to run but it was good to see him even for a few minutes. I had even forgotten that it was his honorary birthday since he was born on February 29th. I wish I had remembered ahead of time and taken him something nice. Maybe next time I visit my old town, I can take him something nice and we can go for a run. I miss my running buddy!!
I finally went to the doctor on Thursday. In the best stroke of serindipity, the doctor at prompt care happened to be a runner! He was so understanding of my desire to keep running through the injury and supportive of my fear around causing long term damage. He took X-rays and they were clear, which was a huge relief. He also had me add a wrap for support. I hadn’t even considered a wrap because I imagined that compressing a bruise would be a bad idea but the wrap feels so good. He said to keep up with rest, ice, compression, and elevating when possible (r.i.c.e.). He did say it will likely continue to take longer to heal if I’m running but that a slow mile is probably the best approach if I’m going to choose to run. He said that the numbness at the main sight of impact may continue but that running isn’t likely causing any permanent damage. So, I have continued with my daily slow miles and the streak continues!
My healing process has been a series of steps forward and steps backward. My hope at this point is that I’m taking more steps forward than backward but some days I’m not sure. I’ve continued to run a slow mile daily to keep the streak alive but I might need to visit a doctor soon to be sure I’m not preventing the injury from healing correctly. I really tried to stay off my feet over the weekend and I felt like I really did a good job resting my knee. I got a little over excited by the progress though and tried to run 2 miles on Monday morning. I stopped running after 1.5 miles but I still walked on the treadmill. I didn’t really think about how much walking and standing I do at work. My knee was really swollen by the end of the day. I was feeling quite a bit of pressure and aching. I started getting pretty worried. Then, after talking to my sisters, I realized how much I had pushed myself and I really backed off on Tuesday. Last night was better with the swelling, pressure, and aching. I didn’t sleep well last night though and today my knee felt worse. Tonight there appears to be new bruising, which is concerning. It’s hard to see it in the picture but my knee cap is more bruised and the bruise below my knee is worse. I might have to turn this one over to a trusted professional. I have a lot of anxiety about the possibility of ending my streak though. My sister reminded me that I need to consider which is more important, my streak or my health. I just hope I don’t have to choose between the two.