Doctor: I see from your file that you are having issues with your right knee. How are you doing?
Me: It feels better, but it just doesn't feel right. I can walk now without pain, and I can do a little running as long as I wear this bulky knee brace.
Doctor: You can run now? How far did you run last week?
Me: I was only able to run 15 miles.
Doctor: 15 miles? Do you realize that there are tons of people your age that couldn't run 15 miles without a knee injury?
Me: (looking down--a little embarrassed) Ya, but it just doesn't feel right.
Doctor: I understand. So, when did you injure your knee?
Me: March 9th.
Doctor: (typing info in the computer and talking under his breath) March 9, 2014...
Me: No, not 2014...2015.
Doctor: (taking a calming breath) Soooo, you injured your knee less than a month ago...
Me: (In my head I am calculating because this can't be right--it has been FOREVER since I injured myself, right? Today is April 6, I injured myself March 9...damn, it has been less than a month)
Doctor: ...less than a month ago and in this time the pain has improved and you ran 15 miles last week?
Me: (looking down and mumbling) But only 15 miles...
Doctor: Hmm! (long pause while he tries to be patient with me and not insult me) Hmm!
I share this actual embarrassing experience because I think we all have times where we are not only impatient with allowing our bodies to heal after we break them down, but we also focus on the negatives more than we should. It amazes me how hard some of us are on ourselves. Why is it that we forget how far we have come, but we are laser-focused on what we perceive as failures?
I know I am not the only one, because even today, one of my running inspirations is beating himself up on social media because his times on his 50-mile races are getting slower rather than faster. He is frustrated with his body and how fatigued he feels lately. He is amazing, but he is doing exactly what I am doing with my knee injury. His laser-focus on his time is making it difficult for him to remember the number of 50-mile and 100-mile races he has been able to complete.
I know exactly how he feels. He has set a goal for himself, and he knows those goals are in jeopardy. I had my eye on completing the 100-miler at Nanny Goat, and this knee injury has made this larger goal an impossibility at this point. It feels bad. It feels like a failure. It makes it difficult to remember all the progress I have made and skews my perspective on my accomplishments. Failure feels bad, but I need to remember that I have not failed, yet.
I think we lose a sense of perspective when we are frustrated with our inability to control our bodies despite our most focused efforts. What I need to keep reminding myself is that I need to take this "failure" as an opportunity to improve. How can I train smarter? How can I find the balance between making sure I run enough miles to be ready, and not running so many miles that I break my body down? How do I eat the right foods to make sure I get the nutrition I need to run and heal my muscles during this process? And finally, how can I be kind to myself when reaching for the stars lands me on my face every once in a while?
This week I was given the opportunity to possibly train with another one of my ultra-marathon inspirations. He ran me to my very first full marathon finish, and being able to train with him would be an amazing opportunity. The odds are small that I will be chosen as the one to get his individualized guidance, but I feel that if I don't attempt to seize this opportunity, I will regret not giving it my all. If you have the time, would you please go the the link below and check out all the candidates to be the Zero to 100 Mile Hero? I am candidate #2 near the bottom of the page, but this will give you the opportunity to check out the 13 other very worthy people that are competing to have Ed Ettinghausen train them to finish a 100-mile ultra marathon. Voting closes today, Wednesday, April 8th at 11:59pm. Thanks in advance for your support!
Zero to 100 Mile Hero