From a running perspective the whole of 2017 has been a frustration due to my left knee torn cartilage which started sometime in January and has taken until 5th December to be operated on.
The injury has restricted my training which in turn has affected my performances during marathon races. I’ve found it painful to run downhill, run fast or negotiate turns. The more I’ve done of these the more it has aggravated my knee and then forced me to reduce me training or forced me have to rest. As the year has progressed, my running times have slowed and I failed to complete the whole of the Brathay 10 marathons in 10 days challenge. This was a huge disappointment to me but my knee was progressively getting more sore each day and I knew it would have been questionable whether I could have even walked the course should I have tried to complete the whole 10 days. As I knew I could run the whole event and the rest of my body was coping well it made it so disappointing to have to pull out, even though I knew the decision was without question the right one.
On 26th June I had an MRI scan on the knee, shortly followed up with a meeting with the consultant. He explained I had worn cartilage behind my knee cap and early arthritis. He did mention a small tear in the cartilage but said it was typical in a man of my age, that it wouldn’t be the problem and he wasn’t interested in operating on it. This left me hanging without direction for me and my running for the first time ever. Did I have to find a new hobby and form of exercise? I bought a road bicycle and gave it a go, I quite enjoyed it in the summer sunshine but it just wasn’t the same as running.
July came along and with that the Lakeland 50 (a 50 mile race across the Lake District). For some time I had wrote off all prospects of running this race which I had entered the previous year but with only 2 days to go before the event I changed my mind an decided to give it a go. Even if it was to jog and walk round the course then I would enjoy a day out in the Lakes, an area I’m so fond of. As it turned out I completed the course in 12 and a half hours coming in the top third of the finishers, making it the running highlight of my year. It just goes to show that sometimes it is worth having a go rather than giving up before you try.
As the summer months passed and my physio appointments and exercises weren’t making any difference to my condition I kept pondering on the consultant’s diagnoses. I was finding it hard, to not just accept but also believe. In many ways my problem was very similar to the torn cartilage I’d have a few years ago in my other knee and I felt it was the tear spotted in my MRI scan that was the problem even though dismissed by the consultant.
I felt I needed a second opinion and my physio put me in contact with a consultant who was a sports knee injury specialist. In the middle of October I got to meet him and go over my MRI scan. His opinion was my pain was coming from where the MRI scan showed the tear so he felt it was worth operating on the tear and it should remove my pain. It was agreed to go ahead with surgery.
After my second opinion I felt like my running carer wasn’t all over and I had a chance again. I adopted a more positive mind set through October and November while I waited for my operation and enjoyed my running within the limitations set by my knee injury. Although my times weren’t great it was lovely to be running a few marathons still at a reasonable pace, enjoying the events and seeing friends.
I pushed the pace a bit at Chester marathon but didn’t quite manage a sub 3 hours 30 minutes, showing how reduced training was affecting my times. I had a lovely run at Snowdon, I ran comfortably within myself and enjoyed it all the way round, seeing lots of friends. I rather enjoyed doing aeroplanes up the Nant Peris pass with Neil and Sally!
There was no way I could have completed the 5 days of Hell of a Hill this year but enjoyed turning up to run 1 day and see Phil, Melissa and their team. Lastly was Kirkstall Abbey marathon in Leeds, a winter favourite of mine. Again lots of friends to see, I spent time in the good company of Jonathan for a couple of laps whilst having another steady paced run so as not to overly push things.
It was then taper time for the operation.
Finally the 5th December came round and my operation. I just hope the operation has been a success, only time will tell and I’ll have to be patient. I live in hope with the consultant seeming very positive about how the operation went and the general condition of my knee. He was very informative and reassuring, even showed me a video of the operation on his IPad and left me with some photos of the inside my knee from before and after the operation.
So here’s to 2018, let’s hope I can complete a Brathay 10 in 10 and produce some much improved performances.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and all the best for 2018, let’s see you all having some great running performances and produce some shiny PB’s!