“You can make the most of the distance — first you need endurance; first you've got to last.” —Neil Peart, “Marathon”
Maybe it was only a second or two, but either way, the ground came fast. I fell forward to my left at about six miles per hour, tried to break my fall with my left hand, rolled hard across my left shoulder and upper back, did an awkward somersault and then sprung upright on my feet like a cat dropped from a rooftop.
"You've got to be kidding," I thought as I checked out the damage -- scratched and bloody hands, arms and legs. I could also feel throbbing pains in my shoulder and upper back.
But no knee pain in either leg, so I finished my run, much to the chagrin of the Mama when I returned home beat up and bleeding.
The week following my fall I kept thinking about the half-inch elevated crack I tripped over. Just a half-freakin' inch. What an uncoordinated doofus. Mercy me, I'd never do that again.
Yet, exactly one week later, I hit another crack during another run and flew, nearly replicating the exact fall and roll up to the left, just as beat up and bloodied as before.
But still no knee pain in either leg, although Amy threatened to take my running away.
Life went on and fortunately so did running, three times a week, four to five miles a clip. I'd been running since the early 2000's, before I had even quit smoking, and had even started running a couple of 10K's per year (the Santa Cruz 10K and the Wharf to Wharf), finally reaching a personal best of 8.5-minute miles just a few months ago.
That was the middle of June to early July. In early August the MRI revealed the secret "for reals" confirming my meniscal tear, which then lead to a orthopedic consult and surgery just this week. All in between I continued to cross-train to keep up my cardio, knowing full well the knee wasn't getting any better.
I was never really worried about the surgery once I knew it was inevitable, even though Amy and I debated where I should have it done and by whom, until she and her fellow physical therapists convinced me.
I got to watch the entire arthroscopic procedure -- from the cleaning out loose cartilage to trimming my torn meniscus to draining the Baker's cyst to drilling holes in the head of my femur in order to draw blood and eventually create scar tissue.
And in the end that's what I fear most: being physically inactive and unhealthy like my parents were before they passed away, although that was due to chronic and terminal illnesses, something I'm grateful I'm quite a ways from at this point.
Every mile I ran before my injury was a mile run for my life, my wife and my children -- and even more so my mental well-being, which of course affects everything I do for them and me and every mindful decision along the way. And for me, a healthy mentality fuels the writing I so love to do. Sedentary dark spirals on smack, not so much.
Fight back I will, even if that means limiting any future running and sticking to lower-impact workouts to keep both knees alive (and my head on straight), because keeping up with the B-hive is my moral imperative.