Have you seen your friends posting about running a 5k, half marathon, or even full marathon? I have. Each year summer rolls around, I notice a bunch of people getting their run on. I love being active so I love seeing others be active. But before I was “in shape” I didn’t particularly care to see all the running posts. I felt like running wasn’t for me, but good for them.
I wasn’t the only person that thought running wasn’t for me. Three years after my knee surgery I wanted to get my screws removed. It is strange knowing there are three foreign screws below my knee that don’t serve a purpose anymore. This is what brought me to my knee doctor. I told him that I was having a lot of pain (especially while running) in the screw region, and thought if I had them removed it could be better. He explained that wasn’t the case. He told me the pain was from having arthritis… Arthritis? I’m 21.
The doctor explained that I shouldn’t be running at all, it’s not good for people in my situation. My situation? You mean having two surgeries by the age of 18? Yeah, great, that sucks. Many people my age are running around, playing sports, and not concerned about arthritis! This wasn’t something I was willing to accept. I’m young, my body can heal quick. If I accept this arthritis now, I might as well be asking for knee replacements before I’m 40. No way.
While walking out of the doctors office, I was feeling pretty defeated. No running meant no spartan race. Charles recognized my emotions, looked at me and said, “We’re not going to believe a word he says. I know you can run.” So that’s exactly what we did. Although I believe doctors generally know best, I didn’t feel that mine knew what was best for my body. I’m not saying to distrust doctors, but be open and intuitive to what your body has to say.
I made a calendar from February to end of June. June 25th was my first Spartan race. Every three weeks I would very slowly increase a mile. First week I ran to the .50 mile mark. Second week I ran to the .75 mile mark. Third week I ran to the 1 mile mark. For example if I had made it to 3 miles, and my next three weeks I was working up to 4 miles; first week 3.5, second week 3.75, third week 4 miles. Each individual week I was running 3-5 days on my focused amount, while not focusing on my time.
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One of the most difficult things to experience was the pain in my calfs, shins, and knees. My doctor was right about one thing, running was going to hurt. I began to consistently roll out my muscles from hips down to my feet to alleviate the pain. This pressure point roller from Amazon saved me from injuries and unnecessary pain. I rolled my muscles before and after running. Because I did that simple muscle maintenance, I was able to run without pain after six months. Six months might seem long, but to me, it seemed unbelievable considering what the doctor said.
The other product that I swear by that helped me in my running experience was my Altra running shoes. These things are magic. They are zero drop platform and have a large toe box. This means they simulate barefoot running like we have evolved to do. When you run in Altras, you land ball of foot and toes first. The foot box helps the impact spread eveningly across the top of your foot and up through the calf instead of joints. This landing technique significantly helped my knee issues. The old way of landing was heavy, and Altra’s caused me to land light. This assisted me in being able to run long distances before feeling burned out.
I truly believe that I made a choice that day, to give up or to get up. I chose to face my challenge and find a solution. I am a runner, because I decided I was. If you are someone who doesn’t believe they can do something– I’m talking to you. I don’t have a question in my mind that -in you- is an ability to accomplish what you desire.
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