Do they call today “Black” Friday because it makes my soul a black pit of disappointment and frustration? Because that’s what it feels like.
Many Americans spent today in shopping centers, but many others chose to #OptOutside and spend their time adventuring. I was one of the latter, and while it was a beautiful day and a perfect opportunity to enjoy some sunshine and trails, part of me feels that it would have been better spent on the couch – heck, maybe it would have been better standing on an escalator at the mall.
You see, after all this time (it’s been a year and a half since it started bothering me and a year and three weeks since I pushed through the marathon), my left knee hurt. And not just a hint of pain or a tiny twinge – It was undeniable, something’s-wrong kind of pain.
After all of the excitement I’ve been feeling lately and the expectations I just set for myself in my last post, I was looking forward to a hike today.
The hike was led by a friend who wanted to explore some areas off trail. We live near an area that was purchased in the 1960s and 70s by the federal government to build a dam. The dam was never built, but the area has been retained as parkland, and most of the houses and properties that were purchased have lain vacant or were bulldozed, leaving paths in the woods leading to empty lots that are being reclaimed by nature. The plan was to go off trail to explore some of these long-lost and forgotten communities. I didn’t know that ahead of time, and I would have preferred to stay on trail to protect my knee, but I went along anyway.
Some parts of the forest were clear, but we did a bit of bushwhacking, and it was hard to land squarely without twisting or torquing my knee on rocks and branches under the leaves. I felt the knee twinge about 3 miles into the hike, so I put on a brace that I had brought in my pack. Luckily we came across a woods road soon after that, which was a much better surface for walking. From there, we connected back with the maintained trail.
I haven’t done a hike longer than 5 miles since I’ve been resting the knee, so maybe I was pushing it with this hike. By mile 5 or 6, but I felt that the brace was uncomfortable and might be compressing too much, so I took it off. Within another mile, I felt the pain spread from the inner side of the knee to the whole knee. It reminded me of the pain I had during the marathon, although not as bad. I limped a little, shook the leg out, slowed the pace, and luckily it felt a little better. I finished soon after, feeling a lot more frustrated than I ever imagined I would.
I’ve spent all of this time resting my knee and thought that I was ready to start exercising again, but it turns out that I can’t even go for a hike.
I believe that over the past couple of months I have been able to start running successfully because the new stride I have been practicing does not irritate the injury. Today’s hike shows that the injury is still there, though, whatever it is. So it’s back to the doctor I will have to go. I’ll try a second opinion, just in case another doctor can identify what it is without having to go in with a scope.
I’m frustrated because I feel like I’m back to the beginning when I should be in the middle of things, but I can’t deny that I have so much to be thankful for in life. Despite this frustration, I am blessed with general good health, the best husband, two sweet adventure dogs, a good job, and great friends and family. This annoyance with the knee will get resolved one way or another.
They say that it’s about the journey and not the destination, so if my destination is a healthy knee, at least there are positives along the way, like this mossy log from today’s hike.