I am still unsure what the situation is with my knee. The swelling has pretty much died down, but as the physiotherapist moves and pulls, it is apparent there is SOMETHING going on. I have an orthopeadic appointment next week but what they say and what my outcome is, I can't hazard to guess. As I sit here in my knee brace, drinking coffee with my leg proped up, I think, I will be up and running in no time. However, once the painkillers die off or if my knee twists I am suddenly reminded, that... ummm... maybe I won't.
This kind of uncertainty has lead me to examine what is my next course of action and how I would feel if I had more bad news than good. In thinking about the next few months I have discovered aspects of myself and my life which are as welcomed as they are surprising.
I have been in this situation before. Over two years ago I was in a leg cast, but in a completely different place mentally. I was a new runner and I had just been told that perhaps it wasn't a good thing that I was running because no-one get's stress fractures in their heel from running 10 miles a week. I was structurally NOT able to run. Try Swimming instead.
Last time I was in a cast I was also in a state of depression. My Son wasn't coping well with school and had to be removed and I couldn't understand why. I felt isolated as my family was far away and my social group was so small. My husband was busy with work and then to cap it all, my only outlet for any physical release had been taken away from me. I literally felt as if my world had ended.
As people may know from me, you never say "Don't" to me. If you tell me I can't do something then I will go all out and prove you wrong. It's a trait I am quite proud of -as I found out after taking 3 courses of applied economic statistics in college after only taking intermediate maths in high school. It is a trait I wish my 6 year old hadn't inherited. I am now beginning to realise why my parent's used to do a LOT of "counting to 10" when I was a kid.
So I went out and I came across barefoot running and decided that I wouldn't lose anything by trying it out. What I gained was so much more than the ability to run again. That summer of hanging out in the Runners World on-line forum forged virtual friendships that are as important to me as the ones I have in real-life. The kooky crowd of mis-fits helped me in more ways than just finding a way to run.
I am marvelling about how 2 years of barefoot running and hanging out with the right crowd has altered how I feel about my mishap.
I am probably seen more as a runner now than I ever was 2 years ago. In fact the ER doctor even said "athlete". I am quite glad I wasn't drinking coffee at the time because he would have been showered with it. I know he was being nice, but really? I did have to chuckle, I barely count myself as a runner. Running IS more of my life than it was last time I was injured. I have more to lose this time. Shouldn't I be more concerned about my outcome? Because frankly I'm not.
What I have learnt over the last couple of years has taught me that with every setback there are infinite possibilities. Barefoot running has taught me to embrace everything; embrace the challenges, embrace every opportunity presented to you. Embrace the comments and strange looks, embrace the new and different. Barefoot running has shown me that patience and looking inside yourself has more rewards and benefits than looking to others or tools. Others will not solve your problems. You have it within yourself to overcome everything life sets before you.
I have also learnt NOT to take myself or life too seriously. My running lately has not been about goals and times, but about having fun - running smiley. Does it mean that because running is not part of my life at the moment, that I still can't do this. Of course not Running smiley is just an extension of living smiley. I enjoy running for what it is not what I can get out of it. I enjoy life for what it is and not the arbitary measures people usually assign to life; job description, pay, bonuses, houses, cars, gadgets. I can hop with a smile on my face just as easily as I can run.
I am also aware that things in life happen for a reason. As it was mentioned in the Steve Jobs speech which Jason Robillard posted a while back. Life is a series of dots (connections) we just have to accept that they WILL join up, even if we can't see it now. I know there is a reason for where I am at the moment sporting a very cute, grey leg brace with black velcro strap accents; just because i can't see that reason, doesn't mean I should negate it.
I suppose I just find it ironic, that when I saw running as a tool to feeling better - when I was running less but relying on it MORE - a little setback felt like 'world's end". However, now as I am older (it happens to us all) and supposedly wiser, that running although it is more a part of who am I, is less of a crutch (crutch get it? Hardy Har har). A setback is just an interesting problem I have to sort out. Running won't fix my problems; it is not a magic trick I pull out to make my life perfect. I fix my problems; running is a just a part of me. I can't see the dots at the moment, but I know that one of the dots out there is Running and I will somehow get there. I am just happy to go with the flow and let life take me there.