Running in 2011 – The Year of the Knee

The Knee of the Year! 🙂

This is the first time in a long time that I get to recap my running year and it feels good to look back and say that I have run again. However, there was one single thing that dominated my life this year – My Right Knee.

The pain leading up to surgery, recovering from surgery, my eventual return to running and how the knee continues to improve, really has been the one thing that has stolen the show all year-long.

I wish that the year had been more about running and racing than about that damn knee, but that is what 2012 will be about.

January to June 14

When 2011 started it sure as hell didn’t look like I would ever run again and it would be a question of when, not if I needed surgery and how bad the surgery would be – up to and including a possible knee replacement. The first prognosis was that dire. My Ortho had ordered no running when left him in September and I followed that advice – well most of the time.

In spite of the Doctor’s “orders” every so often, when I was out walking Bennie in the mornings, I would try to run a little ways to see if I could or not. I was hoping against hope that some miraculous event had occurred overnight and that my knee would suddenly be healed.

Unfortunately, the answer every time was a resounding NO – it just hurt too much to run and the pain while walking was progressively getting worse. By the end of March I was having such a difficult time just walking that I resorted to walking with a cane. About that time I finally figured out that the surgery would take place sooner and started the process to get it taken care of.

May 17th

This was the day that I dreaded and made the long walk into the Hospital, not knowing what would happen during the scheduled Arthroscopic Exploratory Surgery. At this point we didn’t know what the Surgeon would actually find as I went under I remember squeezing TheWife’s hand.

Fortunately when I came to, TheWife was right there and was smiling. The surgery had been successful and what had gone on was damaged cartilage not degenerative as they had first thought! I would keep my knee for a lot longer! Phew that was a big relief.

Recovery from the surgery, while it wasn’t easy, was not as bad as the pain I had been in for several months before the surgery. I pushed hard and PT told me I was crazy and I agreed, but kept pushing.

I wanted – no needed to run again. The Ortho was rather anti-running and told me not to even try until he saw me later in June.

June 15th to July 14

First Run – I ran a freaking 1/2 mile! I made it without stopping around Howard Circle.

I was a runnah again!

Let me tell you I was scared as hell before that run. I knew that it would hurt. It was stupid, but I had to do it. I had to know if I would be able to run again or not.

Oh yeah I basically retired on June 17th, which has allowed me to focus a lot more on my recovery and return to being a helluva lot more healthy.

The Doc saw me on June 26th and he gave me a ration of crap about starting to run again without his permission. He basically flat-out told me that I shouldn’t ever run again, do so would just re-injure all the work he had done.

I just smiled and told him, I was running and would continue to run. He gave me that look like you dare to disobey my orders that Doctors give you when you basically ignore what they “tell” you to do. That is a whole different rant though.

That is what I did – ignored his “orders” to not run.

My physical therapist was a lot more supportive, being a runner herself, but told me that I would probably at some point that summer have to shut it down to let things heal a bit more and that it would be 9 to 12 months before it would be healed as much as it was going to heal.

For the next month I ran 1-2 miles a day and walked a lot.  Too much it turned out, the knee wasn’t quite ready for what I wanted to do yet. I tried to come back too soon and I didn’t want to damage it in any way.

July 15th to August 15th

Shut it Down time. The more I ran the more the knee started to hurt and swell. I may be stubborn and stoopid, but I do know when to stop and give the body a bit more time to heal up.  During that time I needed to let the knee heal up a little more and did a lot of walking, stretching and band work – only an occasional short run to check things out.

August 15th to October 15th

Started running every other day 1-2 miles. I purposely didn’t wear a watch or keep a log of what I was doing. That way I wouldn’t be competing with myself to do better than the day or week before. It worked. I have no idea of how much or how fast I ran during that period, but I know that the knee started to feel better and I was running. I added a few runs in the log here or there, but not too many.

October 31st

I had run up to 3 miles a day for a couple of weeks and felt good, so I decided to start timing and logging my runs again. The knee wasn’t 100% but it was doing really great, so it was time to go to the next level.

November 5th

I also decided that I was going to keep my running log in a blog, to create a sense of public accountability. So I created “A Veteran Runner” and later changed it to “A Veteran Runnah” in honor of being a native Maineiac, for many of us who do not pronounce “er” at the end of many words and instead have an “ah” sound :-).


I ran a lot more than I have in a long time ending up with 82.6 miles for the month with a runs up to 6.0 miles.  I was settling into a 9:00 to 10:00 per mile pace for most runs and was enjoying what I was doing immensely.

After talking with a lot of people I decided that I was going to put my Running Log on my “One Foot In Reality” Blog instead of having a separate running blog. Fairly quickly running related posts took over as the primary focus of “One Foot In Reality” and by the end of November I needed to decide whether to change the focus of “OFIR” to running or use “A Veteran Runnah” for running related blogging.

At the same time I began to get connected with the online Running and Fitness communities on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook. It is a community that I was missing, after having been a part of the #edchat, #spedchat community for so long and the #runchat #fitblog #runnerds #runners all were passionate about running and fitness.

December 1st

I decided 3 days before December began to start using “A Veteran Runnah” as my running blog and had to get it ready to go live in that short amount of time. I figured that my blog stats would take a huge hit as a result of doing that. I really didn’t think AVR would take off like it has, but in the course of a month “A Veteran Runnah” has taken over as my primary blog.

I have even gone to using @VetRunnah as my primary Twitter handle, it just seems right for me and if I have a “Brand” that would be it. Although I have only been posting to “A Veteran Runnah” since December 1st (I did import old running related posts from “OFIR”), it definitely is my most successful blog in that short amount of time.

December 10th

I was selected to be a FitFluential Ambassador, which will give me opportunities to look into other streams of income that were not available to me before. That in addition to meeting a lot of really great people who are passionate about fitness and more than a couple of runners has made being a part of FitFluential a really great experience – Thank you Kelly and Danielle.

December 12th

I made a video of me running and saw how badly my running form sucked (ask me how I really feel about that video). As a result of that video, I really started to focus on correcting my penguin running style that I had developed over the years. As part of this form correction I have read Chi Running and watched a bunch of videos from them, PRS and others on how to improve my form.

Changing something you have done for several years is hard as hell, but I strongly believe that it will be worth it in the end and help to cut the number running related aches/pains and injuries. So that has been a big focus the last 2 weeks of December.

Bad JuJu

I did get caught up in trying a running streak and pushing too far/fast and had to back off a bit in mid December, sometimes I just get caught up in what I think I can do versus what I should be doing :-).


No I didn’t run any races in 2011, 2010, 2009 or 2008. That will change in 2012.

Final Stats

I knew that I forgot to put something in here.  Here are my final 2011 Stats. The one I am the most proud of is the 26 pounds that I lost – basically since 6/17/11 when I retired.  The other one that jumps out at me was the 100 miles for December, I honestly didn’t think that I would get that many miles until March or April, so I am a lot ahead of schedule.

The reality is that

being able to run again was very important to me. During this forced layoff I discovered that Running is a part of who I am and what I am. When I wasn’t able to run for such a long time because of the knee – I learned how much I really missed it.

I have created a new blog with a focus that I am very passionate about and found a community of wonderfully supportive people who want to help you succeed in your goals and kick you in the ass when you need it.

Yes I made mistakes in my return to running, but at the same time the things I did were more of the testing to see what I could do, versus the stoopid kind where you keep going even after you know you should be stopping.

Looking back

The first part of 2011 was pretty rough, but the last couple of months have been pretty damn good. I am glad that 2011 is ending, because 2012 has so much to look forward to – both in my running and the other parts of my life.

I do want to say thank you and I love you to TheWife, without her support a lot of this year would have been a damn site more difficult.

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