The (Running) Addict

Hi, my name is Karen. And I am a runner.

Well, technically right now I am a recovering runner.....it's been close to three weeks. Three weeks since I took a run that was of any significance. Three weeks since I finished my marathon. Two weeks since I did that short 4 miles that would significantly alter my reality.

You see, two weeks ago, after resting from my marathon for almost 5 whole days (I know, crazy right?!), I jumped back on my treadmill and started running again. The first run was a gentle 3 miles. It felt tired and sluggish so I took the next day off. At a week post marathon I got back on the horse and did a 4 mile run that seemed fantastic: good pace, energetic, almost perfect. I only stopped because I knew, from all my reading and perhaps a little experience, that you had to ease your way back into post-race running.

The next morning something was off. It was as if I had partaken just a bit too much. My left knee was tight and painful. It felt like the tips of my quads were singed, like the quadriceps tendon had been stretched past its snapping point. I did not panic. I simply stretched and iced and took another day off.

And then another. And another. And then it became apparent that something was wrong. Every time I tried to run, I was fine for about a quarter mile and then the tightness, the pain, the burning arrived like that time of evening when out of nowhere the mosquitoes appear and there's simply nothing that can stop them from tearing into you.

What's a runner to do if they can't run? What meaning does this life have if the very reason for breathing no longer exists? (Ok, maybe that's a little dramatic but really, that's sort of how it felt.) What am I if not a runner? (That's a rhetorical question y'all! Be nice!)

So, I did what any good Dory would do: Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, whatcha gonna do, you're gonna swim, swim, swim....

And when I realized that my knee hurt to even kick softly in the water, and I was using a pool buoy to hold up my legs, I realized it was time to see the doctor. (Ok, and to be honest, my brother had to scare me into it.)

A friend of mine works at one of the Orthopedic clinics here and got me in quickly with a doctor who is an Ironman Triathlete. In other words, I could trust her. She's been there and done that (times like a million). She checked me over, felt around, felt nothing. She told me that basically I had what was called IRS (my term, not hers): The dreaded Impatient Runners Syndrome. I needed more rest, more time. Just keep swimming, she said. And call back in a week if it isn't improving.

Ok. So, two days ago I set the goal of swimming a mile straight. (Something had to keep my fitness level up.) After nine laps (50-yards each), Kurt interrupted me to tell me he was leaving. What did I do? I started over. 42 laps later, I had done over a mile of freestyle, got out of the pool limping and started thinking maybe I needed to set loftier goals. Maybe instead of doing a triathlon one day (a goal that I only just recently took to)  I should set out to do an Ironman. (Who does that? Crazies, that's who.)

One problem, I can't run. I did everything the doctor said, including cross-training, grass running trials, and loading up on anti-inflammatories (kinda wishing I had thought of that one myself, duh!). It's been a week. I am going nuts, just ask Kurt. I am shaky, jittery, restless.....I can't sit still long enough to write and sleeping is becoming increasingly more difficult. Withdraw stinks.

So, today is the day; the day I call and say, "Okay, I give up. Let's scan this baby and see what I am up against." I am praying it is only more IRS accompanied by a little WQS (Wimpy Quad Syndrome) compounded by my nuttiness.

I will surely keep you posted......and no, I don't know how you got so lucky. Just savor it. :)

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