I used to be a fairly decent athlete. By “fairly decent,” I mean that I could step on pretty much any field/court and not embarrass myself. I was rarely the best person out there, but I could usually keep from falling over. Most of that stopped when I tore my ACL around my 20th birthday. While I’m sure the Navy doctor that performed the surgery had the best intentions, things never really healed up to the pre-injury status. I was forced to formally announce my retirement from basketball a few years ago because it felt like the joint in my right knee had been replaced with broken glass. It wasn’t pleasant.
Even during my younger days, I wasn’t much of a long distance runner, and while I’ve managed to stay in shape over the years, I’ve done it mostly without running or only running shorter distance. Recently, however, I’ve had the urge to attempt a marathon. Maybe this is a feeling that all men have when they dive fully into their 30s, but it’s been on my mind for the past few months.
While the thought of all that running makes me cringe, the eventual knee pain wasn’t the thing that was holding me up. It was just hard for me to justify taking the hour or so each day away from my family to do the training required. I’m already gone most of the day for work, and if I start getting up any earlier than I already do, I may as well just not go to bed.
Then, last week, something interesting happened. My wife came to me and asked me what I thought about maybe training for a half-marathon with her. This blew me away for a few reasons. First, I haven’t mentioned my desires with her, so this was completely unsolicited. Second, she hates running even more than I do. I wiped the look of surprise off my face and then said that I thought it would be a great idea and I would be more than happy to do it.
Here’s the conversation that I imagine happened between the ligaments and tendons in my right knee while my wife and I were talking:
ACL: “Wait! What did she just ask?”
Patella Tendon: “I think she just expressed interest in running distances of at least 13 miles!”
Quad Tendon: “Wow! That really came out of nowhere didn’t it?”
MCL: “It’s a good thing that he would never actually agree to something like that.”
Patella Tendon: “DID HE JUST SAY THAT HE THOUGHT IT WAS A GREAT IDEA? There’s no way I heard that right.”
ACL: “THIS IS HORRIBLE! I can’t believe he’s going to do that. This is the end of everything. How could he do this to us?” <sobbing uncontrollably>
Quad Tendon: “Everybody calm down a little bit. Maybe it won’t be that bad.”
ACL: “That’s easy for you to say! You’re not held together with screws, silly putty, and a paper clip!”
MCL: “You know what? I think ACL is probably right. This could really hurt one or all of us.”
Patella Tendon: “I agree. This could be really bad.”
Quad Tendon: “In that case, maybe one of us should sacrifice themselves right now for the greater good. If one of us popped apart going up the stairs, there’s no way that the rest of us would have to go through all the pain of running long distances.”
MCL: “Great idea!”
Patella Tendon: “Brilliant!”
ACL: “Good idea……..Hey, why is everyone looking at me?”
We haven’t set a day to start training yet because CinC HOUSE has had a pretty bad cough for the last week or so, but it’s definitely going to happen. It’s probably a good time to start buying stock in Motrin and ice packs.