Riding the Rollercoaster (without a seatbelt)

This is going to sound like a bad country song. “I been away for far too long, I just can’t seem to give you what you want….” yadda yadda. I have been away, and yes friends, I am sorry.

Truth be told, I have been riding the roller coaster of life. With my running, my health, my career, and my personal life.

The short run down goes a little something like this:

  • I completed the Goofy Challenge, and two weeks later completed the hardest race of my life. The Beast of Burden 50 Miler.
  • My combined injuries and laziness have put me about 30 pounds over my first marathon weight, which I consider to be my “happy” weight.
  • My asthma is back with a vengeance that probably has something to do with the above mentioned fact.
  • Dealt with a personal crisis that made me not want to leave the house for a solid week and had me bursting into tears at a moments notice.
  • My fiance is moving in with me and we have decided to wait a few more months before trying to buy a house.
  • We are however adopting a puppy who will be arriving this weekend or next.
  • I have been half-heartedly searching for a new full time job that will give me regular hours. Half hearted is true because by and large I do love my job. At the same time I have been taking on more freelance clients that I adore and push me to levels of stress I haven’t experienced since college.

So that is the short of it. I will be putting up recounts of what really happened during those hellish 16 hours in the snow and my encounter with the melting streets of Disney. After all I will have a bunch of time on my hands. For the first time in a long time I won’t be racing for a full two months. I have cancelled all my races for March and April in an effort to really focus on getting my goals laid out. I need to decide what I really want out of life, out of running, and out of my future.

Just two weeks after completing my 50 mile ultra, I started training again towards the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach in March. Wanting to do this race for almost 3 years now, I decided this was the year to do it. Geoff and I were going to travel and run it together (well, at the same time at least). Seeing as we only had a month to train and I was coming off a 50 miler I decided that my first long run was going to be an easy 10-12. I had starting running earlier that week and was eager to get back up to the higher miles I was more comfortable with. When you don’t warm up for 5 miles, anything below that feels like torture. I headed up to the hills with 90 of my closest friend from my running group. Heading down the first hill during the second mile I felt something snap in my knee. A pulling sensation finally turned into a sharp pain. I walked down the rest of the hill to the water stop. After chatting a bit and taking some water I tried to start running again. I nearly crumpled under the pain and immediately starting walking again.

I knew. Something was seriously wrong. But I wanted to keep going. I wanted to push through the pain. My former running partner’s words floated back to me on the wind “live to run another day……” Deb was suddenly in my head and practically screaming at me to go back. I turned off my music and silently walked up the frozen hill. Going back into the lodge I was frozen and sad. I faced the facts the whole way up that I had done something wrong. My body had finally let me know that I have limits and I needed to listen. Waiting for Geoff to finish his run I talked to some of the other runners as they came back. Most offered comic relief or condolences, along with wishes for a quick recovery. Some of them shared injury stories and of course urged me to a doctor. Taking it all in, I realized that I had done this to myself. Blame the hill, blame the shoes, blame the wind…..but I knew it was me. I had convinced myself that I could run anything at anytime as long as I could walk part of it. My head kept telling me over and over that I was a fool.

I left the lodge at Chestnut Ridge and had Geoff take me to immediate care. Two hours and one set of X-Rays later they confirmed nothing was broken except my spirit. Strapping me into a horrible knee immobilizing brace the nurse told me to make an appointment with UB Sports Medicine so they can find out how bad the damage is. MRIs would probably have to be done. She then provided me with a set of crutches and sent me on my way.

So here I sit, the same seat I have been sitting in all week. Butt in a chair, fingers on a laptop, trying to fill my time and catch up on all the back projects in my “when I have time for it” folder. Wednesday I visit the doctor. Hopefully, I find out if my Patella Tendon is ripped a little, or torn so much that I need surgery. More importantly I get to find out what my life will look like for the next few months.

Will it be a woman on her expanding bottom playing computer games? Will it be a woman blazing a new trail in a new environment? Will it be some crazy injured lady on a stationary bike?

I have so many races this year beyond April that are milestones for both myself and people I care about. My mother will be doing her first 10K and hopefully her first half marathon. Geoff and I will travel to the only other place I have called home for a brand new race. I will be with my aunt in her first half maraton. I have a new puppy that I want to train into a running dog.

I tend to measure my years since I have become a runner in the number of races completed and the new challenges I take on. 2013 has already been a year of amazing highs. Completing my first Ultra and the Goofy Challenge in the same month was incredible. But obviously it has been followed by a series of incredible lows. My only hope is for a quick recovery and some type of motivational epiphany that will set me on the right path. I have come to count on intuition and a type of “divine intervention” to get me through tough times like this. I can only hope that answers are coming…..either from a doctor or otherwise.

Run on my friends! I hope to be running again with you soon.

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