A few Saturdays ago my friend Angie came over for our weekly meal prep date. Yes, we have pretty much replaced “going out” with “working out” these days, and our “girls night in” includes cutting, steaming, and filling about 30 Gladware containers for the week ahead. Anyway, we were talking about our schedule for the week and she mentioned she was doing the Fiesta 10k that next Saturday. I made the mistake of saying “oh man I wonder if registration is still open…” to which she promptly discovered that YES it still was. I tried to back out – thinking I must be losing my absolute MIND – but Angie promised she would stay with me the entire route. She said we would do it “just for fun” and to say we’ve finished and not worry about the time… a few minutes of convincing and the next thing I knew, I was signed up to run a 10k… with six days notice.
I went out running the next day in the neighborhood and PR’d for a 5k. I felt relieved – maybe I won’t die Saturday. Then the crazy of the week began and I didn’t have time to run any of the rest of the days of the week. I went to Angie’s ReFit class on Thursday night… and twisted.my.freaking.knee. Something I literally haven’t done since The Teen was a toddler. I went for a lunge and I went one way – and my knee went the other. I felt it the moment it happened, and knew I was hurt. It felt just exactly the way it felt many years ago on that football field when I tore my ACL. It was not as painful as that was, but the popping sensation was the same, and I was crushed. I limped off to the side, gathered my things, and headed home before class was over, trying to hide the tears.
Friday I rested, but there was still pain. I got a stabilizing brace for my knee, and prayed I would be ok for the run Saturday. My family was upset with me for even doing the run still – worried I would do permanent damage to my knee. But I had set my mind to do it, and I just knew in my heart that I could, and that I would be ok. Angie stayed with me Friday night so she wouldn’t have to get up quite as early on Saturday. We got our race packets, got our stuff all set up while I was limping around, and as we called it a night we just gave each other a knowing look – praying my knee would hold out for the entire route.
Saturday morning we got up before dawn, picked up another friend, and drove to the race. It was a perfectly beautiful morning and I prayed for strength as I watched the sun rise over the water. To say that I was nervous is the understatement of year. Every step I took I felt that twinge in my knee – even with the brace on. I met up with all of my friends for about a million pictures, and then we took our places in line to begin. I, of course, took my spot in the back – where I expected to stay. (But surprisingly didn’t)
We took off and just as promised – Angie stayed right by my side every step. In fact, we stayed IN step the entire thing. I am not sure if it was by accident or if maybe it is a subconscious throw back to my color guard days, but in the 20-some-odd pictures that people had of Angie and I running – we were exactly in step in every one of them. I know it was agonizing for her to stay with me – she easily would have completed this run long before I did, but she stayed with me… the whole time. We laughed, we cussed, we ran, we walked, we sang, we complained, we flirted with the water boys… it was an amazing 6.2 miles.
I am both elated and proud to say that I completed my very first 10k – complete with twisted knee and zero training. It proved that even with setbacks, if you keep your eye on the goal, you can complete absolutely anything you set your mind to. It also proved that something can happen that you do not expect – I literally haven’t had knee pain in years – but it does not have to derail you from your goals. You CHOOSE what you let derail you and what you push through. It also proved that having someone by your side can sometimes make all the difference.
As they say, I have been “bitten by the running bug” and I am already planning for my next run. Who knows – maybe I will do a half marathon next year. Even though my time wasn’t pretty – talk about setting the bar really low for a time to beat lol – it felt great to just FINISH. There was something about that little medal – that I of course wore the whole rest of the day – that made me feel more accomplished than I had in months. THAT alone was worth the pain.