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.  In 2018 I completed the Tahoe 200 in September followed by Arkansas Traveller 100 four weeks later for my Western States ticket.  This year, so far, I've completed the Western States 100 and have four more 100 milers planned to finish out the year.  Lord willing, I’ve got plenty of miles left in me and many adventures left to run!

Tahoe City - Photo by @howiesternphoto / @rokisphoto