So, the Big Race was yesterday. These are my thoughts about it today.
Last April I was told to quit running long distances. Because of my knees; they can't handle it anymore. And last May I went (one week after this decree) and ran the Big Race. And then did not run a step for a month because of the Great Knee Rebellion of 2009. The rebellion where I could not bend or straighten my leg, or put weight on it, and my knee was the size of a cantaloupe. For about a month. And I was sad and weepy. And then I spend the rest of 2009 learning how to run again.
This year, I'm still supposed to not be running long distances. And this year I know what happens when I try to run like I used to run. And this year I re-learned how to run. And now I'm learning how to train again. And so, I went and ran the Big Race.
I knew what I was getting in to. I knew what could potentially happen. I trained and mentally prepared to run a slow race, and to back off if anything (a.k.a knee) started to hurt or do weird things. The spoken goal was just simply to run. (There were unspoken goals, too. There always are.)
Maybe it was the freakishly cold and windy weather. Maybe is was the fact that, as I crossed over the starting line, Bono's voice rang out over the PA system (Desiiiiiiiiiiiire!) (And I am so not making that up). Maybe it's that Erin was sending me good vibes. I don't know. But it was something.
I ran. I kept the pace comfortable. I backed off when it hurt or got weird (which was only twice and very, very, very briefly). I blew kisses to The Bricks (because if I'd gotten down to kiss them, I would not have gotten back up again). I looked around and saw 30,000 other runners of all shapes, sizes and paces, smiling and laughing and running.
I finished 10 minutes slower than last year (which was already slower than I cared for). But when I finished, I was walking (mostly) normally. I was happy. I was smiling. I was proud.
Today, my knee is functioning relatively well. It's the size of a relatively normal knee. I still ache and creak, but I'm not going to be incapacitated for a month. I'll be running again by mid-week.
Because that's what I do. For the fun and the challenge and the peace and the blessing and the joy. And for me.