Nooooooooo...it's not that kind of story.
The day after I ran Atlantic City, I had the notion to run the Dallas White Rock Marathon on Sunday, December 5th. My friend and her husband were registered for it and I thought it'd be fun to travel along with them.
Yes, I realize that was only one month and 18 days removed from marathon #6.
What can I say? I wanted to get back at it.
Truly, I do not think my motives for taking on this task were pure. It was more like my brain saying, "we can do better, Cyndi Lou...we can do better than 3:48 in Atlantic City...we can still try to improve our seeding at Boston...you have until February 2011 to submit a faster time than your Vermont City BQ..."
My running brain equates to the bully that always shamed you into forking over your milk money. Gets me every time.
So, I ran the idea by my running coach. He's been in the biz for almost two decades, so nothing really phased him. He basically told me that if I was motivated to run in the cold and dark that, yes, we could do it.
Then, the surgery happened.
And I was in the knee immobilizer for a week.
Wait, did I forget to tell you about the surgery???
Forgive the random storytelling. Let me catch you up.
In August, I had gone to the dermatologist to have a sketchy looking mole on my left thigh looked at. It was maybe the size of a pencil eraser...maybe a little bigger. It had JUST started to change and struck fear into the hearts of my loved ones, who implored me to have it checked. The doc examined it and agreed that, yes, it needed to be removed. He numbed the area, shaved it right off in the office, checked my body for other potentially "suspicious looking" marks, and sent me on my way.
About a week later, one of his associates called to tell me that the biopsy reported my lesion as "severely atypical". In other words, it was close to being a melanoma. She told me it would be necessary to see a plastic surgeon, so they could remove a greater surface area, as a safety precaution. I consulted with the "there's more to my practice than fake boobs" guy, explaining to him that I was running a marathon in October and hoped we could have the surgery after I ran the race. He didn't think it was crucial enough to address beforehand, so we scheduled the procedure for three days after I ran AC. In addition, he let me know I would need to wear a knee immobilizer for 7-10 days afterwards because the skin was very tight around the area he would be stitching. Not to gross you out, but flexion/extension of the knee could pop the stitches. Since I was going to be on the reverse taper anyway, I didn't think it would be a big, hairy deal.
On October 20th, I had the procedure.
I walked into the office like a perfectly normal person. I had even done a "welcome back" five mile run with a friend of mine that morning.
Forty five minutes later, I walked out like I had just had reconstructive surgery on my left leg.
You should have seen the size of this knee immobilizer.
It went from the inside of my left thigh down to mid calf. In addition, it was fitted with metal bars on the sides and the back to, you guessed it, keep me from bending my knee. Because of this, I had to walk "peg leg", like I was dragging one. You should have seen me trying to get in my car. It took me five minutes to figure out how to hoist myself up and into the driver's seat without bending my left leg.
Try it sometime. I guarantee...you won't like it.
Once I made it home, I had to also figure out how to EXIT the car without bending my leg. It was like recreating the wheel, for crying out loud. Quite frankly, it all seemed to be a bit excessive. All of that for this:
"That" warranted wearing this cumbersome contraption. ALL the time.
I could only remove it to shower.
I had to sleep with it on and everything.
But, I figured, eh, how bad could it be?
I could probably use a week off from running anyway.
Once I limped into the house, I got myself on the couch and stayed there for the rest of the afternoon. I had to be at work bright and early the next day, but since I had already gotten the entering and exiting of the automobile down, I figured it would be no big deal.
I work 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday.
That's eight hours.
Eight hours of:
What did you do to your leg???
Did you do that running???
OMG, did that happen at your MARATHON???
Compared to the endless barrage, getting in and out of the car was a piece of cake.
But, after telling the story to over 200 people, I figured the rest of the week I was sentenced to wear this thing wouldn't be so bad.
And I did fine with the "no running thing".
That was day four. Day four of nothing. No running, no spinning, no walking outdoors for active recovery after a long run.
Sunday morning, deciding I was well enough, I asked my husband if he would assist me in removing my own stitches. Needless to say, my idea wasn't well received. Horrified by my suggestion, he left the room, refusing to entertain the notion of playing doctor. And here I thought all men loved to play doctor.
Goes to show you how much I know.
Later on that day, my best buds, John and Ted, came over for food, football and fun. And to see how the cripple (me) was getting on. They arrived fresh and sweaty from a 15 mile trail run and were all jacked up on endorphins.
I hated them.
Maybe I'm overstating it just a little bit. I heart John and Ted. But, at that moment, I was as green with envy as Kermit the Frog. And if Cyndi can't have any fun, well, then, no one else should be able to play either.
Logically, I knew it was only a week. Lots of people take a week off all the time. It's not like I was never going to be able to run again. I was just indulging in some good old fashioned self-pity. That was the soup du jour for me and I was not about to turn that frown upside down.
Thankfully, John and Ted heart me back and didn't seem too put off by my sulking and moodiness.
Monday and Tuesday came before I knew it and I could see the finish line. I was going to get the stitches out late Wednesday morning. Tuesday afternoon, I decided to take the brace off. I was sick and tired of wearing that big, bulky thing. Besides, I thought I could use some practice in learning how to walk like a normal person again.
Boy, was I right.
For the first 2-3 hours after I removed the brace, I WAS WALKING EXACTLY THE SAME. It was as if it was still on. Note to self: neuromuscular adaptation occurs in six days.
The next day, I showed up for my appointment. After waiting an hour to be seen (no, I'm not kidding), the doc looked at my leg and seemed to be pleased with his work. The stitches came out easily. The first words out of my mouth were:
"So, can I run now??"
He looked up at me, sighed, and said, "how about waiting until tomorrow?"
Truth be told, I was just so bleeping happy I could walk and engage in frivolous amounts of knee flexion and extension like everybody else. I didn't really mind waiting until Thursday to run. Besides, I had to go to work anyway.
Thursday came, and I got my butt back out for a run. Nothing like "easing back" into it. I ran 6.3 miles. The next day, another 6.3. And the day after that? A nice 9 miler with my friend, Christina.
I was back to prepping for Dallas. I figured I would just pick up where I left off.
Business as usual. Right?