The Journey Back

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My legs are sore. Yes, that is right ladies and gentlemen, my legs are sore. Do you care to know why my legs are sore? Well, it is because today marked the second day that I went for a run over five miles since being diagnosed with patellofemural pain syndrome.

My first run came on Saturday. I was excited to get back out there and simply fall into the thing that I love so ardently, but I was afraid. I was afraid that it would hurt and that I would be woefully out of shape and unable to run. Luckily, only one of those things was true.

I am distinctly aware that long distance running is what I was made for. I will never be a sprinter and I will never, ever be satisfied at the end of two miles. I need to run, and sustain that run for at least five miles in order to subject myself to the high that I get from it. I can’t stop, and that was the case on Saturday as well.

At first all I felt was pain. All I felt was a severe and excruciating pain in my knee that engulfed me in wracking sobs and total fear. The fear that I would never run again was almost too much. I couldn’t breathe thinking about never running again, I couldn’t entertain that thought while also struggling with the pain in my knee.

After mile one I had to stop. Between the pain and fear I had to stop. So I did. I sat on a bench next to the Charles River and I sobbed. I called my dad but he wasn’t home, so then I sobbed some more. Then I stood up. This wasn’t me. This wasn’t going to define me. So I started walking. Then I started running and 6.8 miles later I was back at my front door and I had done it. I had overcome the pain and the fear and I was back in my stride.

I finally felt like myself again and it was such a beautiful and wonderful thing that I couldn’t help but smile. I was me again, I was a running again and even though I was slower than before, my journey back to who I am had begun.

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