Prior to my knee injury, I was just getting my “run” back after a solid two-year lay-off from anything other than a few miles here and there for fitness. I would say I was a couple weeks out of a solid 1:15 half. But I like trail runs, so let’s call that a 1:25.
Then my foot buried itself into thick artificial turf at a moment when I wanted to change direction. The plastic, bespeckled grass refused to relent. It was it or the innards of my knee. Now slightly three months beyond that instant, I still limp slightly and can only ride a bike. Holy shit I want to run again.
I was a strong runner in my youth. A sub-5:00 mile. Sub 2:00 800. I sprinted too. And like most relatively apathetic, middle-of-the-road high school kids, I didn’t work at it like I should have. I played soccer in college instead.
It’s tough to keep my condition in perspective. I’m not missing my leg, it’s not riddled with cancer, nor am I in a chair. I even refused a handicapped parking placard. It wouldn’t have been fair, I thought. Most people with my injuries (ACL/meniscus/PCL) are back at full strength in about nine months. But that medical precedent does nothing for me. I haven’t had trouble breathing since the injury—and I hate that.
My first steps forward in a jog will burn. My knee will creak as the scar tissue wrapped inside is slowly hacked away with each stride, like a stream bank being undercut by an aggressive spring thaw. My heart rate will spike in probably less than a mile and I’ll have to prop myself up on the sides of the treadmill as the perpetual track continues to whirr under me. I’ll have to catch my breath.
I can’t fucking wait.