have always believed in the expression that out of bad comes good, but I am also famous for saying that if I couldn’t run I would be a mess. That last statement was tested when my beautiful Border Collie hit my leg at full speed. When the MRI results came back and I told my husband it said I had a torn meniscus and a baker’s cyst I swear he turned pale because he knows how much I love to run. All he said was, “Oh.” I think we were both surprised by what happened in the coming months. Here are some of the positives that happened while rehabbing.

· I had a different ultra-experience. I had an ultra-marathon scheduled shortly after the MRI and because my orthopedist decided I did not need surgery, he told me I could walk the ultra, but when I felt the knee getting angry I needed to stop. The ultra was run by a wonderful family, and I had gotten to know them during the ultra the year before. The difference this year was I wasn’t really concerned with how many miles I could cover. I only wanted to do my best, and since I was only walking some of the family walked with me and filled me in on all their news. I also made a few new connections with runners who were also walking. I took more breaks than usual and sat while I ate and drank. I have a friend who loves to run 100-mile races, and he told me that if I gave my body a chance to recover with rest breaks, I could go further. I only made it 28 miles before I knew I needed to stop because the knee was indeed angry.

· I observed more of what was around me. My husband and I went to Paris for our fortieth anniversary. I was a French teacher, I lived in France, and I have visited there often. One of my favorite things to do in the morning is to run in the Luxembourg Gardens. My husband loves to walk, so he was excited that we would be able to do that together. As we wandered through the garden I saw quite a few things I had never noticed on my runs. I noticed they have bee hives, the vineyards there are for apple and pear wines, and they offer gardening classes. My husband was fascinated by all the statues and had questions about the art and history behind them. He loved the French lifestyle that he saw through the people in the gardens. We stopped and talked with teachers and students doing a treasure hunt, and we sat and watched a bocce game. Taking things a little slower helped me to see more.

· I saw races from a different view. In the early days of rehabbing, I couldn’t run at all, but I still wanted to do the races with my friends, so I went to the back and walked. I have always said that the best race stories are in the back of the back. This is where you find people with grit. They might be struggling with something, but they are going to come out and exercise anyways.

· I felt the power of a positive attitude. There were a few setbacks where I became frustrated because I wasn’t healing as fast as I wanted, but I tried to stay positive. It helped when another friend who was also injured said to me, “ It’s o.k. Jen. We are going to come back stronger.” On the days when I started to feel down, I kept repeating that.

· I needed reminding that I need to take care of all the parts. Everything in our body has an effect on the whole, so it’s important to take care of the whole machine, not only the part that’s broken. I know that is different for everyone, but for me, strength training and stretching helped. (Also lots of KT tape!)

· Less can be more. I am an over exerciser mostly because I love to be outside, but too much exercise can take a toll and at 64 my machine probably needs more rest. I can achieve fitness at 20 miles a week instead of the 40 I was doing and throw in some cross-training to help.

· I should mix up my fitness routine. I have always thought if I didn’t run then I didn’t exercise, but the injury helped me to cross-train more and I realize that by doing that I can strengthen different muscles.

I am about 90% recovered now after six months. I can run five miles without any knee support and feel stronger daily. I am even more grateful for the gift of running, and I know my injury taught me valuable lessons.

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