After six long months of recovering from a double bunionectomy, I was finally given the go-ahead to run again!
I returned to my running club, Run Walk for Life in Milnerton, bursting with excitement to see all my fellow runners, walkers and friends. Hugging and chatting was the order of the day and I was delighted with the warm welcome I received.
Heading out on the road had me feeling a tad nervous for it would be the first time I would attempt to run after a long lay-off. Countless thoughts overwhelmed me – would I be able to run without any pain, would my feet be able to sustain the impact, was I going to be so unfit I wasn’t going to manage a minute of jogging!
Our Coach, Anne Műller accompanied me on the road and we started off walking for a while and then jogged for a bit, very slow at first, getting the grip of placing one foot in front of the other and attempting not to over-exert myself. I stopped to take a walk and I could already feel how flustered and unfit I was. We continued in this fashion for about four kilometres. My left knee started wobbling every time I attempted to run and this upset me somewhat and played on my mind. We managed to finish our walk/run in thirty-nine minutes and although I was glad to be on the road again, it felt like an anti-climax.
Travelling home I felt rather despondent. My first day wasn’t what I expected at all. I started having all sorts of crazy thoughts that my knees were acting up and I would need to take time off again. But that would be ridiculous – there’s no way I was going to consider that! I cannot possibly let a little knee pain derail my efforts of returning to a sport I adore and missed terribly.
As luck would have it, I picked up the latest issue of Runners World and my eyes fell on the segment “essential guide to strong knees”. I greedily read the advice, attempting to identify my problem, scrutinizing the exercises I could follow to strengthen my knees. I rummaged through my running accessories and found my trusted patellar knee strap I would use on my next run. Yip, the next time I get on the road again, I will be equipped and ready for any knee pain – yeah bring it on baby!
On my second day of running, I was hyped up and ready to tackle the road. It was a breath-taking evening, a warm summer breeze caressing the air, the magnificent mountain show casing its natural beauty, the sky beaming with blazing streaks beckoning the sunset. We were running along the Milnerton Waterfront route that meanders along the serene lagoon, merging with the pristine beach.
Hitting the road, I chose to run on my own. I always tend to run better left to my own devices and I didn’t want to hold anyone back. I started off with a gentle walk and then as I turned the corner, began a slow trot. At first the left knee wobbled and caused slight discomfort, but soon the patellar strap worked its magic and held it firmly in place and I was able to run pain-free for quite a distance.
That’s when I felt it – the familiar rush of belonging, returning to a lover I missed far too much, a singing in my soul, my breath taken away but not completely stolen, endorphins rushing to my brain and a runner’s high of note!
Oh how I’ve missed you running, all the sacrifice, all the pain I endured, all the lost runs, all the races I had to forego was forgotten. I’m back and I’m here to stay!