Working Through the Pain

Three weeks have passed since I last shared with you my story. I have been working through the pain and nursing a very sore and stubborn knee injury caused by my intense training regime for The New York City Marathon . . . And created by inescapable arthritis which has slowly and, very ruthlessly, “worked on” my knees. I have struggled with #whatsnext . . . #whyme . . . #whynow.

For three weeks my knee has ached and my running and training routine have both suffered. Yes, the physical pain has at times been almost unbearable but, in reality, the emotional pain created from my intense fear of not being physically able to participate in The New York City Marathon has been far worse.

Running was in the beginning my way of dealing with and conquering a lingering weight problem, then it became my best, most healthy habit that I could not do without, and now it has become the inspiration that fuels the fire of my spirit. The canopy of foliage along the all too familiar running trails near my home have become my ornate, vaulted cathedral ceilings pressed ever so slightly against the celestial ceilings and clouds which follow me along my runs.

Running elevates my spirit — for three, five, fifteen, eighteen, and twenty miles I run away from one Cindy and run toward another Cindy — one free of worry, fear, apprehension, and doubt. I rediscover Me — the Cindy inside — and I rediscover with every run why I love her, cherish her, and need to nurture her. She is #whatsnext; she is my #onestepmore.

The first week I tried desperately to work through the pain in my right knee and even tried to pretend that it wasn’t really there. It had to be “in my head” — this was not happening to me. It couldn’t — not now! The New York City Marathon is November 5th, and I had to extend my long runs in preparation to participate in the race. Nothing could hold me back and get in my way of achieving my dream of running through the five boroughs of New York in that sea of running humanity.

The previous weekend I had done quite well on my long run — 16 miles strong and happy! So, I laced up and eagerly headed out my front door to enter the cathedral of my spiritual awakening — awe inspiring Nature — perpetually beautiful in her splendor and absolute in her power. A sore knee was not keeping me out of this race.

Along my regular running route, taking a mental inventory of my knee, and it was getting a bit tender to say the least. And, I was joined by another on my running route — Murphy. Yes, Murphy — he’s famous! He’s the same Murphy of “Murphy’s Law” fame and infamy. He popped out of nowhere and joined me step for step, and stride for stride on my twelve mile run today. He was an uninvited participate. I so desperately wanted to run away from him, but I couldn’t. I was going to have to painfully limp it home.

I did not want to go the doctors because I was afraid of what she might tell me. I didn’t want to hear, “You need to rest.” I especially did not want to hear that there was a possibility that it wouldn’t get better before The New York City Marathon. However, there is that moment when the pain becomes so unbearable desperation sets in and you will do what you said you wouldn’t do. Being stubborn about it was just stupid and could be potentially permanently damaging to my knee. Working through the pain at this point was not what was going to help get me closer to November 5th. My family doctor checked my knees, confirmed that “Cindy, you have arthritis in both knees,” gave me a prescription for steroids and an anti-inflammatory medicine. This was a bitter sweet moment for me — I had confirmation of my greatest fear, but this answer could lead me to finding a way to continue training for the marathon. I could still make my dream come true; however, I now knew it wasn’t going to get easier.

Still searching for answers, help, and relief, I turned to a Doctor of Chiropractic, a Stretch Coach, and a Massage Therapist who each have aligned me, stretched me, and massaged me into a Gumby Cindy. Still on my journey to “fixing my knee,” my chiropractor convinced me to try cryotherapy — stand in a chamber filled with Liquid Nitrogen for three minutes. It guarantees the rapid reduction in inflammation in joints and tissues. For me, it also was a rapid reduction in body temperature that made me a Cindy Popsicle.

Cindy the Frozen Human Pretzel — well stretched, massaged, and heavily medicated – was ready to run. I could not stand another day without running — it was time to do, not think about doing.

Three weeks had passed, and I had to run. Every treatment protocol provided temporary relief as well as emphasized the fact that I had arthritis in my knees. Without my daily run, I was becoming more discouraged with each passing day. I cannot accept that I may not be able to participate in the marathon — “Failure is not an option” — I had to do whatever possible to keep my dream alive.

So, on Sunday I couldn’t stand it anymore. Not knowing and not being able to run was killing me. I had to know, so I could move forward. I went to an Orthopedic Urgent Care because I couldn’t stand not knowing and things weren’t getting better. Of course, there was a two hour wait, so that was how I spent most of my Sunday waiting to find out my fate.

No big surprises from the Orthopedist — I have arthritis in my knees. He gave me a shot of cortisone in my knee to provide me some relief. Now knowing what is wrong and knowing what I need to do to take care of it makes it easier. I can now move forward. I am no longer in the “swirl.” I may not like the answer, but at least now I know what I am dealing with. It’s time to run — toward everything and away from nothing!

Ironically, we do the same things in our business life. We recognize the aches, pains, and rough spots, and we hope and pray that they will resolve themselves on their own — “If we don’t stare at it, it will go away.” And, to admit there is an issue or a problem means that we know we have a problem which means we know we have to take action, have to work on fixing the issue or the problem, and that just means more time lost more effort wasted, and more work done without financial compensation. Time is money, and losing time is a loss of money. However, it is a fundamental issue of Quantity and Quality. We can have so much, and have so little at the same time. There is always going to be pain, but we have to work on the pain in order to work through the pain.

As a runner, I go back to a saying I heard once, “Pain is just weakness leaving the body.” It’s a tough, hard core statement meant to inspire and steel the nerves; however, honestly, that twinge of pain is a very real signal that something in the system is wrong and demands immediate attention. For me the demands of attention focus my demand for intention, and intention is the key to make my personal and professional dreams come true.

Each of us has suffered, endured, and surmounted our moments working on the pain and working through the pain. I continue working on the pain as I train for The New York City Marathon. November 5th looms large on the horizon, and I am excited!

My participation in The New York City Marathon on November 5th will be because of the diligent efforts of the physicians, therapists, and trainers who have worked on me and with me, the kind words of encouragement and the prayers of my friends and family, and my belief that I am meant to do this.

I am always seeking stories of personal triumph and overcoming difficult odds and circumstances. If you have a story to share, please do. I would love to hear from you and hear your story.

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