In 1998 I had to have knee surgery. The doctor was going to operate so I could continue in martial arts and my healthier living goals.
I woke up for him to tell me “sorry, you can’t run, or bike, or do martial arts.”
I was a non-believer in my drug induced state and asked him to repeat himself. Which he did. I said “but why? You said this would fix it.” He said, and I remember this very clearly “your knees are degenerating and I can’t fix that.”
I was not one to question authority. Wasn’t in my nature. But I didn’t want to believe him and I said “are they going to degenerate just by walking”. He said “yes”. I said “then why can’t I bike, or run or do martial arts, if just walking is going to do that then how’s the other stuff going to make it worse?”
He shrugged. Which really, quite frankly, pissed me off. He’s looking at a blob of a mess on a gurney. He didn’t care what he was telling me. He didn’t know what he was sentencing me to. He said “go ahead and do what you want. Call me if you need me.”
I never called him again.
I have to admit, I believed the “you can’t run” part. Because until then I couldn’t run. After that surgery it did take a long time to heal. It took a very long time to be able to pedal a bike. But during that time I started to picture myself as capable. Which is funny, because up until then I did not think I was capable of much. But those were my self doubts. By golly and by damn don’t you tell me I can’t do something.
Finally, after many, many months I could ride a bike. I remember the thrill when I rode 2 miles. Without stopping. Elation like you can not imagine. Those 2 miles started off a love affair with doing. I rode those 2 miles and wanted more. I kept going.
During all of that time I still wanted to run. I dreamed of it. Literally. No “Chariots of Fire” kind of dream. Just dreams where I was running. Casually. Enjoying it. No races. No winning. Just running. Those dreams have been sporadic through out my entire life.
Last fall I started to try and run again. And I did! I even made it up to 3 miles. Within my first 5 runs. It took me almost fifty minutes. Which to some is a crawl. But to me I was flying. And after I started that plodding of a run? I haven’t had a dream about running since. After my fifth run I got to the house, told Husband “my knee feels like it has to pop or crack or something”. That progressed in to barely being able to walk. And yet another surgery. But this surgeon, not of nay sayer fame, told me I would be able to run after surgery. And after surgery he advised me on when to start, how to start, and told me to see the therapist for more information. He didn’t even want me to do therapy because I was already doing what I needed to do. He wanted me to have the therapist talk to me about running. So I did. Surgery in December. Started running again in January.
No pushing. No over running. No over training. Run. Rest. Bike. Alternate my exercise.
There is a black belt physical fitness test that all black belts must strive for during their test preparation. Run 3 miles in 24 minutes. Or ride 10 miles in 40 minutes. I could not run 3 miles in 24 minutes. That is something I don’t question. I can ride the 10 miles in 40 minutes every day. The miles I ride fill me with fuel to do everything else. I’ve kept that fitness ability so it’s unfair to say it is a challenge. Though I do give myself credit for putting in the effort to not lose that, that does in its self meet a self imposed challenge. My Master Instructor has a brilliant idea regarding a new challenge.
Instead of biking, or creating a more difficult biking challenge. Just run.
Run your best.
Run my best? My best is now 47 minutes. I know that’s not “best” enough.
But the first run after he told me to run my best, and get better I ran it in 37 minutes. Three whole miles in 37 minutes! What! That’s just crazy talk!!
Soon it was 36, 34, then miracle of miracle it was 33. Two weeks after hitting 33 I hit 32.30. I was feeling good about that, but guess I wanted better.
Today was my last timed run for this test period. I so badly wanted to break 30. But I kept telling myself not to expect a two and a half minute improvement in one week of training.
Be happy if you break 32!!! Cutting 31 seconds in a week’s training is pretty good. Right? Please someone, some runner people, confirm this. Because that’s what my realistic goal was. Of course my unrealistic goal was to beat 30. But that was just a dream. And I wasn’t dreaming about running any more. I am running.
Husband gets set to run with me and be my time keeper. We run. And run. And run. Why is it when a clock is chasing you the run seems longer?
I ran out the alley. Across the covered bridge. Past the frolicking deer, five of them. I even passed another runner, a first. I kept thinking “I will break 32! I will I will!”
And I did.
Here is the time clocked on Husband’s phone.
My “PR”. Personal Record. Personal Best. It’s not black belt time. But it is time to put away for good my self doubts. It is time I believe in my work and my attempts and efforts.
I can dream. I can run.
It’s not about being the best at something. It’s about being the best of me.