I could figure out exactly which day it was in September, 2013, that I threw a roundhouse kick and felt my meniscus pop and tear. But I’d rather not relive that moment, and instead share that yesterday I was able to run for the first time since then.*
I’ve been in physical therapy once a week since about November, and my PT has promised me since day one that they’d have me up and running soon enough. And after almost three straight months of doing hip strengthening exercises every single day, yesterday was the big day.
I was allowed 4 minutes of walking followed by 1 minute of running, with no more than 4 minutes of running total. The temperature spiked all the way up to 36 degrees, which after the recent polar vortex, felt amazing and warm, as if the birds were singing and snow was melting in dripping puddles from the trees, and we should all be frolicking naked the whole day long. Ahem.
Anyway. That got weird. But it felt nice out. So Josh and I went out and I started my stopwatch, and we walked for 4 minutes, and then it was time to see how the knee was going to work.
It felt… strange. The first minute of running was painful. It felt like my knee was grinding on bone and my IT band (my most recent** source of pain) was tugging at the kneecap, making it feel like it was going to explode. But, in a reversal from all the PT advice I’d received up until now, my physical therapist told me this week I could start working through the pain as there’s a bit of scar tissue that needs to be worked out of the joint, and I’m able to hop and skip like a champ in the PT gym. Not to mention, balance one-legged on a Bosu ball, which I challenge all of you to try with two healthy knees.
Anyway, it was hard. And scary. I so don’t want to hurt myself again. But then all of a sudden, 60 seconds were up, and we walked again. The second minute of running was much more comfortable. Surely the scar tissue had worked itself out in one minute of running! I was like a gazelle again, and I could almost pretend we were out for a nice mild winter day’s 4 miler.
My watch beeped and we walked again. The third minute of running (let’s be real, we’re talking a gentle jog for all of these) was achy again. Popping, tight, crunching. I was positive I’d never be able to run again. No more triathlons. No more road races. No more anything but swimming.
And then, of course, minute four felt great.
My overall conclusion? I have no idea. But I’m glad to have had the chance to at least be back out there. I’m discouraged that things are so sore, but hopeful that this is just scar tissue breaking up, as my PT has told me. And I’m doing my hip strengthening exercises every day without fail. Are you?
Special bonus one-off: I did my first 100 m*** freestyle in 1:10 this past week. Rock.
*By which I mean since that day I did a 25 mile brick after the meniscus tear because I didn’t know that I tore it.
**Also a relatively ancient source of pain. I was hit right in the IT band (on the same knee, of course) more than ten years ago by a 55 or 60 mph pitch when I was playing softball in college, which I’m sure has contributed to my current knee woes.
***Actually 80m because our gym’s pool is a shorty. Still, though: fast.