The Longest Week: Rest, Ice, Recovery

I’m not seriously injured!

Rather, it’s a good old-fashioned knee sprain.

I’m recovering well! The most difficult part is not putting on my running shoes.

It’s been six days since my last run.

I made it to Quick Care Sunday morning when it opened at 9 a.m. I was second in line at the door. They even did x-rays! I wasn’t expecting that, but it made me feel like they were being very official.  Lucky for me, my primary doctor was working. Because I stopped running activity, iced and elevated it immediately, he said I was in good condition.

He told me I need a week’s rest from running. And that no, I couldn’t do that 5k next week.

My Dad told me he didn’t think it was necessary to actually go to the doctor. But thank goodness I made my own decision. I am flabbergasted by people who for some reason are proud of never visiting a doctor. No matter how bad they feel, they will do everything to avoid it. They pride themselves on just working through it– but really, it’s just a heavy case of denial. And then they end up worse-off because by the time they are forced into medical attention, the problem is really bad. And that costs considerably more money, and maybe time off work.

Specifically, I wanted my doctor to set limits for me. To tell me what’s reasonable to expect and what’s not wise. I’m proud that I addressed it right away and followed protocol. I haven’t needed to miss any work, and I’m fine.

The night before I made it to Quick Care, I was so worried I couldn’t sleep.

Now that anxiety is gone and I can just resume my life.

When you face things, you can solve them and move past them.

I accept that my body has limitations. I respect and trust the judgment of my doctor.

I’m shocked how much I miss my runs already! I’m counting the days.

I told Eleise, my running partner, that I’m out of commission this week. She was bummed but understanding.

I’m going to wait a full week, just to be safe. I’ll get to a 5k later, after a bit more training.

I feel no pain. I haven’t used a wrap on my knee since yesterday and feel I’ll be okay without it. Icing it helps the most.

I’m going to start from scratch when I resume activity next Monday night. Back to 1 mile, then working up.

Just glad I didn’t ignore the pain and keep going.

Sometimes ya just gotta slow down and go back to start!

A Serious Runner?

“You look like such a serious runner!”

That’s what Eleise said last time we ran, on Wednesday. It was a quick one.

I loved hearing that!

And now it seems I’m dealing with my first injury. Which both makes me feel like a hardcore athlete and also anxious.

I JUST started! Coming up on a month. Just when I’m starting to get good.

It was Friday night that I strolled into Barnes & Noble and my left leg twisted. I felt a little pop and then my left knee buckled backward. Intense pain. I felt very unsteady and the only way to alleviate it was to stand in place on my right leg, gripping a display table. I pulled my left leg up behind me, holding it in place. I tried to walk and was unsteady. I got a few steps, then it happened again.

“I am way too young for this,” I thought.

Dejection. Then annoyance– what had I done wrong? I’ve been so careful not to push too hard as I’m starting out.  I’ve tried to be consistent with my distances but also not aggressive about beating my times and extending my runs just because I feel optimistic.

I’ve been trying to run smarter, not harder. Maybe I’ll get lucky. Maybe it’ll clear it up on its own.

I was there to meet someone, so I didn’t go home. The pain lessened.

But I asked a few friends and was told to get it checked ASAP.

Because of work I couldn’t go yesterday– and calling off was not an option. Today isn’t either. Monday it is.

As per instructions given I used rest, ice, compression and elevation. It seems to be working.

I’ve always been quite resilient and healed quickly. I always always go to the doctor, just to be safe.

I’m still young.

So I’m going in first thing Monday morning.

I feel optimistic. I felt no pain today with the wrap. But when I unwound it tonight, the tenderness at the back of my knee was definitely there. But it’s not a throbbing pain. It seems fine now, hours later.

Already, I miss running. It’s become something I look forward to, part of my routine.

I hope it’s minor and won’t take more than a week or two– worst case scenario– to heal. That’s what I’ve been told to expect.

Also sadly, yesterday, just hours before it happened– a new friend invited me to join her, her husband and a mutual friend in a 5k in a few weeks. It would be my first!

I want to go. If I can at least walk it. Too soon?

I have no idea. I can only pray.

I want to recover and grow as a runner.

Maybe God’s telling me to slow down?

Please send a prayer for healing my way! Any advice, fellow running bloggers and readers?

Comment away!!

Where’s Mr. Miyagi? I wish he could do that hand-rubbing thing on *my* knee right about now!

Like Danielsan, I want back in the action.

A Restless Drive in the Cold

When I feel restless, I drive.

I like the back country roads around town. Reminds me of being home in Kansas– pure stars and no streetlights.

My feet were cold, the heat was blasting, and I drove around in the dark.

Sometimes loneliness is a beautiful thing. It feels good just to cry, to feel. To know you’re alive.

So many hate winter. But I see it as a time of rest, of quiet. Summer is manic in comparison. Everyone is outside, there are music festivals constantly. Tons of loud music. Traffic gets worse.

I listened to one track, over and over. I love doing that. And I drove for at least an hour. It was a song I won’t name.

But earlier I bought a copy of Rolling Stone, to read in my hands the article about Pope Francis. He makes me hopeful.

A friend in college who I’ve know lost touch with, Brad, once told me that “Everyone is uncomfortable, all of time.”

And isn’t that true? Aren’t we all awkward, just bumbling along, hoping to connect with others? Unsure of the pivotal decisions we make every day, leading with what we know and hoping for the best? Maybe some are unilaterally assured at all times. But I imagine this loneliness only gets worse the more you know, the more you have, the more power you accrue.

Today I’m glad I’m just one small person in this big world. There’s a lot I don’t know, but there’s a lot of people I can ask for help, too.

I bet I’m a lot less lonely than Pope Francis, or even God. I don’t have the responsibilities they do.

And it reminded me of one of my favorite 90’s songs, “One of Us,” by Joan Osborne.

Pope Francis just might be one of us. But we’re all out there underneath the same stars.

“The Year of Faith” Ends, but Mine Continues

I caught a late Mass tonight.

I’m lucky to live in a very Catholic town, where I can choose which time to go.

And I’m lucky that right now, I have the luxury of going to Mass. For many years, I didn’t– I always ended up having to work. And I have to say, I think missing it did effect me. It’s been a gift to have Sundays off for the last several months, so that I could go.

I think that’s helped me to grow in faith more than anything. I understand why it’s a day of “rest.”

My faith has been tested a lot this year, and I’ve doubted more than ever. But doubt is a normal part of your faith journey, as are moments of despair. Those are called “dark nights of the soul,” and hopefully they bring us closer to God if we turn to prayer.

By admitting that other traditions are valid, I’m not invalidating Catholicism. I’m merely acknowledging that there is more than one path for us to walk in the light.

As a Christian friend of mine once said, “God doesn’t mind which house you visit him in.”

I’ve personally visited him in several houses– attending services in different denominations.

But the one that always brings me the most peace is a Catholic Mass.

Tonight, there were two families seated behind me. One was a mother with three young children, and behind her, a father with two kids? I think two. I could hear the littlest girl, maybe about 3, chattering away and playing with books. It reminded me of myself– I used to be very hyper in Mass. My parents had a challenge! But her mother was patient with her– never scolding. At one point I glanced behind and she was holding the girl in her arms, upside down, nuzzling her face. The girl was laughing with joy. And I was glad for her, glad that she has a mother that embraces her spirit rather than tries to quiet her down out of embarrassment. During peace, I shook hands with most of them. A blonde girl with her father in the second pew behind me had on a bracelet that said, “Trust.”

I had a wonderful feeling of peace, of joy.

I don’t know if the decisions I make are “right,” or not. But all I can do is make them in good faith, pray for strength, and keep walking.

Trust. The foundation for everything we need, and every hopeful interaction and decision.

This year I’ve let God into my heart in a way I never dared previously– and I’ve learned more than I ever have previously. I’ve learned to let go, to forgive, to humble myself, and to love myself and others unconditionally. To ask for, and accept, help. To give it, without being asked.

I’ve still got a long way to go.

But I’m grateful to have this chance, and even the challenges.

I’m grateful for this blog. I’m grateful for my family.

To those who have been devoted, and tho those who support me and give space when needed.

I’m grateful for self-awareness.

I’m just grateful, every day.

And that, I think, is the true gift of faith.

After Mass: On Religion, Love, and the Gift of Faith

During Mass today, I realized what it’s about. Why I go.

Why we put up with all the idiosyncrasies of religion– the demands, the divisiveness.

We do it to be part of something bigger than ourselves. To share our lives in the midst of chaos and find a still point.

We do it to admit, “I need help. I can’t do do this alone.”

Admitting we need help is the hardest thing for most humans to do. We want to be self-reliant, we want to be okay, no matter what.

I love my church, because during peace, people walk around with open arms. They shake your hand, look you in the eye, smile.

My parents are local, and I enjoy seeing them. However, I don’t have siblings, and my family lives out of state. So I do feel lonely at times.

But in this church, I get hugs, just like I do with my family. And although there are still a lot of things I’m figuring out about my life, this church makes me feel anchored. Singing songs of praise makes me feel anchored. We spend the week busy, scrambling to get things done– we deserve to rest and just be thankful for what God has given us! To stand with others and testify that yes, we’re glad to be standing here, together. The services in my church usually run two hours– and I love that! At other churches, they are usually only 45 minutes to an hour, and everyone usually rushes right out after Holy Communion, and barely talks at all if they do stay. People in this church linger. A few times a month, they head into the parish hall for coffee. There’s no rush, they want to meet you, get to know you.

That makes me feel so happy. It’s just a simple church– and that’s why I like it. It’s not high-falutin’, it’s not about artifice.

It’s just about love, service, and appreciation.

Knowing that a family is depending on me to bring them Holy Communion anchors me.

I know that I can’t live my life alone, and that I’m never alone.

I’m learning that God is more than Bible verses and dogma. It’s more than prayer and Confession.

God is truly very basic.

God is a secure feeling of love.

God is a warmth in your heart that says, “Go ahead, you don’t have to be scared. I’m with you.”

God is the absolute confirmation that all you are, and all you haven’t been– is enough, because you’re doing the best you can.

And mostly, God is feeling so overwhelmed with that truth that all you want to do is share it with others.

And not by conversion– but by acceptance. By example. By trusting.

Be kind. Forgive. Help, with no expectations or conditions.

I feel God with me today. It’s an incredible lightness, to help us float through the storm.

We don’t need to know where we’re going or why– only that we’re on the right path.

The Beauty of Solitude: Celebrating My Nerdiness

It’s Friday night a little past 10 p.m., and I’m at home.

I love it!

It’s funny, how much I’ve changed in the last decade.

A ton!

I used to be so hyper-social that I went out constantly. I loved it. I also loved calling people up and talking their ears off.

I always laugh when I remember one phone conversation with a former college friend.

She had told me, “Amee, I need to get off the phone soon.”

About 20 minutes ago. I was still going! No sign of stopping. I could really be a motor-mouth.

She realized I couldn’t be stopped, and just yelled, “I’m hanging up on you!”

I couldn’t stop laughing, because she knew me so well and I couldn’t even be offended by it.

Hey, sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do. I tell that story all the time, because it’s hilarious.

When you’re besties, you have the freedom to do stuff like that without worrying.

The funny thing is, it seems I’ve grown out of this. Now I don’t talk nearly as much.

I more often choose to stay in, especially on weekend nights.

I make plans, not very often. I’ve largely avoided crowded gatherings and parties this year.

I sometimes make exceptions, and often when I do it’s spur-of-the-moment.

Sometimes I feel rested enough, and other times I don’t. Rest is vital to me.

When I was younger, I’d go to parties just because I RSVP’d, whether I felt up to it or not.

Now I’ve realized that you’ve gotta make your own health you’re first priority. And if you have to cancel, people may be disappointed, but they usually understand. I’ve become more of an introvert. I like to read, write, and spend time alone. I can be quite social and also talk to a bunch of people, but not for long periods of time. I get exhausted from all that talking! Then I need some alone time to recharge.

I enjoy my friends, but I don’t need to see them as often. We can sustain our friendships quite well by phone and facebook. A lot of my other friends are nerds like me, so they get it. I love communicating by written word and e-mail, too.

So when I do make plans with people, they know they’re dang special! Because I do it on a choosy basis these days.

And that’s all good with me.