Well according to the Orthopedic surgeon I saw on Wednesday, "The problem with competitive people is that they like to run, regardless.."
I felt it was inappropriate to laugh. I really wanted to. The snot rockets were close to being launched. I could feel the hysterical laughing building.
This guy did not understand me at all...
Yes, I was consistently asking when I could run again. Yes, I did break myself running head-long, unbidden down a 20% down-hill ascent like a lunatic. Yes, I think I did mention I had some new running shoes coming in the post. Yes, I did keep mentioning that I had this race I really need to be in at the end of September.
However, all I could do was nod at his assumptions. Hold in the uncontrollable laughter. Put on a serious face and pretend that I was this "typical runner". I had to, because.. well if they knew the truth - this is not how a 30 *cough* someone should act.
So why was I SO eager to run in September. Was it to be first? Was it to impress people? Did I want the accolades Me? Heck No.
I am a mediocre runner at best. Okay, I am not back of the pack, but I am not the front. I am not dedicated, I am not strong-minded enough to be any better. I always wonder how good I would be if I actually DID train. Then the thought lapses as I realise that sort of notion requires effort and organisation.
So why was I pestering the surgeon about when I could run again? Two reasons.
Firstly, I LOVE running. I get excited about it. Even now, when I know I can't run for another 4 weeks at least, I am not sad, just excited to get back to it. The thought of running that first half mile - well I feel like a 6 year old who has just eaten Thanksgiving turkey and realised that the next holiday is Christmas. I am planning it in my head - just looking forward to the joy I'll get. I won't care if it's roads or slow or well.. just 5 minutes. I just want to get back there. I don't need to - I just want to.
Secondly, I have been given a fantastic opportunity to run the New York Barefoot Run in September; with no real expense to myself (Thanks Merrell). This may be the first weekend I can run and I want to experience it all. I want to meet all of my friends (old, new and currently non-existant), go to all of the clinics, try out new things and most importantly meet people who don't think I am a local freak. I also get to see (although meet and talk is optimistic) some of the big players in barefoot and minimalist running. Do you think I can go to an event like that and NOT run? It's like taking a kid with braces to a candy store and telling them everything is off the menu. So yes, I want to know when it's safe to run.
I have no idea where these "other" pre-conceptions come about. [ Note: Okay, re-reading the first couple of paragraphs, I can see why the Doctors were confused]. In the last few weeks Doctors have called me athletic and competitive... as if I take this stuff seriously. They mention Sports Doctors and Surgeons. They look knowingly at me, yet fail to see. I am a middle-age (ish) woman, who has a normal BMI and a tummy that my son lovingly calls "a comfy pillow". I am not fast, I am not elite, I do not run exceedingly long distances in stupidly quick times. I am and never will be a Boston/Western States graduate.
It's just that people seem to see me as competitive because surely that is the only reason you do something. Running, is still not seen as something you do for fun. The goal is still seen as the end and the numbers but not the journey. You are not allowed to run because you love the kid-like feeling it gives you. I am old enough to know better. Life is serious; exercise is serious; running is serious. (Apparently).
So, I laughed inwardly and let the Doctors place their label. Secretly I knew inside the real reason I was pestering to run. The reason we all should have in our hearts when we think of running...
I am being taken on a free-trip to a race to see super cool people, I get free beer, I can hang out with my super-hip friends and I am liable to make such a fool of myself when people realise I am NOT what they expected, that I am unlikely to be invited back. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, of course I don't want to let a little thing like a broken knee mess things up.
Is there honestly any other reason? ;)