Struck Down but not Destroyed
I never considered myself a runner. I wrestled in high school and running was something we did for conditioning. Later in life, after being married and having three kids, I got back into martial arts and fell in love with Jiu-Jitsu. I did well at tournaments and enjoyed the competition and comradery. I would run on off days to keep my cardio up and my weight down for competition. While training with my instructor in 2009, I tried to muscle through a technique that bent my knee sideways and I felt/heard a POP in my right knee. It hurt. I saw white for a second. I sat aside for a bit and the pain subsided. So, I jumped back in and rolled on the mats for another hour and a half. I was in denial. For the next few weeks I would still train and run but something wasn’t right. My friend was a nurse practitioner and I went in to see her. She ordered an mri. The next day she called me and said, “STOP!” I asked her, “What are you talking about??” She said, “Stop everything. Stop running. Stop jiu-jitsu! You have a torn ACL!”
Great…….not good. So, I sought out a reputable knee doctor and scheduled ACL reconstruction. I had the surgery in December of 2009. I wanted a goal to rehab the knee. So, never having run any kind of race in my life, I put it out there that I wanted to run a marathon within a year! So, I busted my butt in physical therapy and ran as my knee allowed me to do so. In December of 2010, I ran my first race, a marathon, in 3 hours and 43 minutes wearing vibram five finger shoes! I realized that I really enjoyed this running stuff! So, I went back and raced the other distances (5k, 10k, half marathon). I loved it and was doing pretty well! I then started running other marathons and just wanted more. MORE MILES!
So, I started training for my first ultramarathon. Instead of setting my sights on a 50k, I went ahead and signed up for a 100 miler. In December of 2013, I ran my first ultramarathon at the Cajun Coyote 100 miler. It was tough! It’s a rooty course and I turned my ankle pretty bad around mile 40 and then around mile 60. It was swollen and funky, but I had a race to finish. I finished in 5th place with a time of 22 hours and 40 minutes! I loved it! Hurt so good! Since then, I’ve gone back and done some 50Ks, 50 milers, other 100 mile races, Boston, and even a 126.2 miler.
Then, in 2015, I destroyed that same knee AGAIN jumping on a stupid trampoline. This time I not only tore the repaired ACL, but I really did a number on the cartilage and meniscus too. I had surgery and went through rehab…again. Then I ended up having another surgery fo finish something up. I was afraid my running career would be over, but I kept plugging away and finally got my legs back. Since then, I’ve done three more 100s (placing 8th, 2nd, and winning the Prairie Spirit 100 with a 16:25:31 PR), run the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim-to-rim, and a bunch of marathons, 50ks and 50 milers. I just completed the Tahoe 200 this September followed by Arkansas Traveller 100 4 weeks later. Lord willing, I’ve got plenty of miles left in me and many adventures left to run!