Six Months to Boston (minus two days)

Hi everyone, and welcome to the first post in my newest venture into the blogosphere – my training efforts for the 2011 Boston Marathon!  I know, I know, everyone and their mother (and sister, and friend, …) has her own blog relating to her healthy lifestyle (or food, nutrition, diet, exercise, racing etc), but I’m super excited to start my own.  What makes my story different, you may ask?  Well, I will tell you!

1)      I have had three knee surgeries (ACL, ACL, and a meniscus/cartilage arthroscopic cleanout) on my right knee

2)      I have been advised by my orthopedic surgeon to consider the potential lasting effects of high-impact activities on my joint health (i.e. don’t run a lot)

3)      I still intend to run Boston Marathon in 2011 but will train in the LEAST IMPACT way possible to minimize additional damage to my cartilage

I have a lot of dRaMa to share with any of you interested readers regarding my past athletic endeavors, injuries, exercising, and current health, but I want to tell you a brief story.  After getting my THIRD knee surgery in April of this year (2010), I felt great and was optimistic about healing quickly, since the arthroscopy was nothing compared to my previous ACL reconstruction (using my own patella tendon if you are interested).  Unfortunately, the scope had shown my doctor that I in fact have several areas of severe cartilage degradation in my knee.  One area was missing a thumbprint-sized chunk of cartilage altogether (medial area), and another showed some degradation (where my kneecap tracked over the cartilage).  This was in addition to a small tear of the meniscus which was visible in the MRI, prior to the surgery.  The concern is that if the meniscus further deteriorates at the point where the chunk of cartilage was missing, then I would have “bone-on-bone” action and therefore … ARTHRITIS.  UGH! 

When my doctor told me this, and advised that I switch to swimming and biking (as much as I could tolerate), I broke down in tears.  My sister and I had just run a BQ time (barely) at Disney Marathon in January, and had hopes to run Boston in 2011. 

While acknowledging the unfortunate reality that I needed to reduce impact on my joints, I had to seek out others who might be in my situation.  Perhaps I could find suggestions of others with bad knees and how they worked around their injuries but continued to pursue their athletic goals.  What I found was a lot of conflicting information and advice, and not a lot of encouragement.

The reality is that we, as a whole, are playing more sports, staying active longer, and living to ripe old ages as compared with our grandparents and great grandparents.  How can we keep up the active lifestyle that we prefer, while also preserving our bodies?  These questions are part of why I have decided to document my journey…my path to Boston 2011.  My hope is that others like me – injured perhaps but not wanting to throw in the towel – may find this useful and also may contribute advice and suggestions! 

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4 comments

  1. Hey girl! Know we have not talked in awhile but I was excited when I saw this. I myself am planning on running a full marathon in February (Rock N Roll in New Orleans) and am training for a half marathon right now that is set for December. Now I have only torn my ACL in one knee and meniscus in the other and partially tore my ACL in my last college game, I feel like we can sort of relate. My body says I should settle down but my love for food says I cannot:) So I am looking forward to seeing how your journey goes. Best of Luck Girl!!!!

  2. “only” torn your ACL in one knee – I know that once is ENOUGH! I’m so happy to hear from you and hope you post any suggestions you have from your own experience. I think my sister and I saw you running at the Turkey Trot in Suntree last year – but we rushed home for FOOD (specifically, about two giant wheels of baked brie – oh yes, my love for food is my main motivation as well)!!!!

  3. Megan – I am so proud of you!
    I would like to add for anyone reading this blog that my Megan has been and still is an incredible athlete. It was only because of her heart and motivation that I was able to keep up with her and qualify for Boston as well. And although I will not be running by her side as we had always planned, she will do an incredible job and make me proud yet again.

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