I Always Strive to be Top 10%

It has been a while since I have been on my blog, 7 months exactly. A couple reasons why is because I just was not participating in many races and after a series of events I decided not to do Ironman Oceanside and just figured no one would be interested in anything I was saying (still might be true but that is not stopping me!).

Some of you may know that last year I had a pretty big injury (jaw break) and was out of the game for a bit. In the last few months, I would say that I really was beginning to feel like myself.  I picked up the intensity of my workouts, my weekly mileage and was maintaining 7:00 min miles on my recovery runs with a low level of effort.  I decided to sign up for the Chicago Marathon in October this year to try and reach my (B) goal: 2:45 and A goal: (2:40) I set for myself last year.  In addition, I had signed up for a couple of local races and the San Diego Rock and Roll in June.

Fast forward 11 months from my jaw break…another setback strikes…

My best friends talked me into playing in their sand volleyball league every Monday night which is an absolute BLAST. We see a couple of months into our season and during one of our games I went up for a hit and when I landed all my weight was on my left knee and it buckled backward. I heard the dreaded POP!  I calmly said, “Oh, crap my knee.” (Insert side story: I tore my left ACL and meniscus playing basketball in high school). Our team called a mini timeout and the girls were asking me if I was okay.  I just remember thinking that it did not feel right.  I was not experiencing an intense amount of pain, the swelling was minimal and I could still bear weight on it which kept me hopeful. But it did feel pretty unstable, weak and loose.  The game had to go on so we finished playing.  When I got home I did the RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevate) method for the next couple of days.

Initially, I thought that it could be a bad case of hyperextension. After googling it I decided I was dying.  Just kidding, but googling injuries is a sure way to scare the crap out of yourself.  The article I had read was informative but it did mention in some cases that torn ligaments were common.  The following day I scheduled an appointment with my high school Orthopedic Surgeon for him to evaluate.  This is when my Mom knew it was serious.

I could only stand taking about 4 days off from running. My Mom and I had flown out to visit my family in Alaska for my nephews 1st birthday!  I went to a beautiful park just down the road from them called Kincaid Park (pictured below).

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I was planning on taking it easy, about 6 miles or so.  I started running and within the first ½ mile by knee popped out.  I ignored it like all good runners do and another ½ mile later it happened again and again and again all throughout my four miles that I managed to get through.  I was not in any significant pain but there was some swelling in my knee.

After my run my brother took me to this beautiful sports shop called Skinny Ravens Sports (track from shop pictured below) to get a knee brace. We still had hope that I would be able to snowboard while I was there (good one right).  I actually made an adult like decision that snowboarding was probably not the best thing I could do.  At this point I would say that I began feeling a little depressed for a few reasons.  First, because I could not run in beautiful Alaska and second because I knew that if I tore my ACL again I would not be able to participate in any races until the end of this year.

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From the first time around I remember my Doctor performing a series of test one which was called the Lachman Test. That night I looked up a video on YouTube and against my boyfriends will I made him try and do the test on me.  It was pretty freaking hilarious! We could not really figure out how to do the test but we got a good laugh out of trying.  When my appointment with my Ortho finally arrived 11 days after the injury he performed the test and immediately said I tore my ACL and possibly my meniscus.  I tried keeping it together as he went into detail about what our options were the tears just started rolling down my face.  I did not want to believe it, I mean I had a 5k the next morning and the Sabino Sunset 7.4 miler the next evening and I signed up for the Chicago Marathon just a couple weeks ago. I had big plans for these legs and surgery was not one of them!  I asked him how common it is for people to re-tear their ACLs and he said 10%.  Lucky me, right? I laughed and said I always strive to be at least the top 10% in all I do…maybe more like 1%.

My Surgeon, being a collegiate athlete himself understands the athletes mind and knows that we have the patience of a Mayfly’s life (24 hours long) when it comes to injuries. He scheduled me for surgery the next week. We went over the options of the different types of ways he could reconstruct the ACL and we decided on using my Patella Tendon because we already used my Hamstring 10 years ago.  The typical recovery time until a full return to is 5-6 months for using the Patella.  One major side effect can be a lifetime of what is known as runner’s knee/patella tendonitis. Hopefully, through diligent physical therapy that will not be a problem. I do have a pretty gnarly scar though!

No, my surgeon was not drunk but the incision looks so crazy because I previously had the surgery done they had to use the same incision for parts of it.

This week I have been resting and recovering at home and there have been some moments of true sadness. Especially recently, no thanks to Facebook’s ‘looking back today’ for reminding me of the unforgettable Boston Marathon trip last year.  Now days the only marathon I am doing is on Netflix.  In all seriousness I truly believe that everything happens for a reason.  Although I am still searching for this reason, I know that through physical therapy, spin classes and swimming it will all make me a stronger athlete until I can run again.  I will be eager to hit the pavement and I will have a new perspective on never taking the miles for granted.  Hopefully, God willing I will be able to participate in the Tucson half marathon by December.

I truly feel extremely blessed for my family and friends who have been my caretakers and my rays of sunshine and I just don’t know what I do without you all!

I wanted to share some beautiful pictures from Alaska including the cutest nephew in the world!