A Walk in the Woods

Today I was in that middle place, no man’s land. A place my Dad refers to as “between sixes and sevens”. I was feeling blue and it took a little while for me to unearth why because it was couched in denial. I’m still not embracing what appears to be a reality for me. The reality that my knees won’t carry me 26.2 miles across the finish line of the Boston Marathon. My family and I were at the Boston Marathon when the bombs went off. That horror has never left me. I’ll never forget going out for my first run after that experience. It was cathartic. I cried most of the run as I counted my blessings for my family and so many others we knew having escaped unharmed. I cried because I was running on legs that other victims no longer had. I was consumed with thoughts of running the Boston Marathon in 2014 as a show of strength and solidarity for Boston and the victims. What an honor that would be.

I had run a marathon before in 2001 so I know first hand what to expect in terms of training. It can be a long and lonely process. It takes a lot of time and self-motivation. But running for all those affected would be incredible inspiration. I started building up my mileage slowly and testing my body’s response. I have a history of weak and creaky knees so it took running an eight mile loop successfully to give me the confidence to declare to my husband I wanted to run the Boston Marathon. I was so excited. Unfortunately, a week later, on a measly three mile run my right knee started to hurt and hasn’t stopped. I rested and started physical therapy but a subsequent one mile run has underscored a systemic problem.

The truth is I desperately want to run and I’m holding out hope that physical therapy can prove miraculous. But the hard reality is five months of marathon training may do irreparable damage to knees I need for the rest of my life. It’s been a tough pill for me to swallow. I’m ready and willing. I’m healthy. I have the time to train and the resources to secure a bib number. Why can’t my knees get on board? Which brings me to that middle place of feeling sorry for myself.

My husband, who knows me better than I know myself, sent me and the dog on our way to some nearby trails. “Go. Take your time. I’ve got the kids.” he says to me.  He was so right. I spent an hour walking the dog in the woods on this gorgeous, New England fall day, cleared my head and counted my blessings. The day may have started in “sixes and sevens” but today’s walk in the woods was a perfect ten. Now that I’m re-centered, I’ll find something else to throw my energy into. I may not be running the marathon but I’ll be there supporting those who are.