Wednesday, December 02, 2009

30 Minutes

Well, almost 9 years ago when I broke both of my tibial plateaux 8 months after having a baby, I heard a nurse in the hallway talking about me say, "well, she'll never run again." I was barely mobile for the year after before I had the tibial plateau transplant and then refractured my one tibia/fibula 7 months into my 1 year of non-weightbearing, permanently (so far) altering my flexibility (my foot still can't touch my bum). I was afraid the nurse was right.

It was hard to think of. I had never been a long distance runner but I had once been rather fast. I was on my high school track team as a sprinter for the 100m and a high jumper. In fact, the day before my accident I had been giving Kaetlyn and Drew sprinting tips in the front yard. In 1999 I had done the Outward Bound Women of Courage program. To prepare for the 7 day course, I was supposed to be able to run for 30 minutes and they sent along a running program to gradually get there. I did it. And it was quite something for me. I don't really like running like that but I do like challenging myself and I like the feeling of have being able to do it. I didn't really want to accept never running again. I can still remember the feeling of running races barefoot in the grass in Fort George Park (in highschool, I ran in my socks) - that feeling of flying.

On my 43rd birthday, supported by a good friend, I went to Polson track and ran around the oval in short segments. It was hard to run. My body couldn't remember how to do it. I had to consciously think about each stride. It was hard to trust my right leg. And I could barely breathe - I was so badly out of shape.

This fall I decided that it was time to push myself. There is just nothing like jogging that gives my heart, lungs and legs the same work out. I have biked long distances, up big hills but it is still not the same. I tried at first a running program I found on But it just didn't work. I dug out my Outward Bound instructions, inspired by my sister, Laura, who is also doing something that challenges her. (you were my inspiration, Laura! Although what you did was probably harder!)

I really wasn't sure I could do it. But I started. The first day I ran 30 seconds and walked 4.5 minutes X 6. Two days later I ran for 1 minute and walked for 4 X 6. Something happened on this run. It clicked. My body remembered how to jog. I stopped thinking about my stride and fell into a rhythm. Nevertheless, I wasn't sure how far I would get. Maybe it would snow and I wouldn't be able to. Maybe I really couldn't do this any more.

On Monday I ran for 4.5 minutes and walked for 30 seconds X 6. I ran for 27 minutes. The next time I was supposed to run for 30 minutes without stopping. That was today. It was below 0 today but warmer than forecasted. I decided to go after lunch about 3pm. I decided it would be okay if I could only run 15 minutes and then stop and walk for a minute and run for another 15 minutes. But I didn't need to. I ran. I ran for 30 minutes without stopping. I can hardly believe it. I DID IT!!

And my knee? It is okay. It doesn't even hurt. I know that my ankle does compensate a bit for it and I suspect it might be because I have my own meniscus. Near the end of my run, I run by my physiotherapist and I want to shout, "Kees! Look at me! I'm doing it!" It spurs me on to finish.

Anyways, yay me!


beetlemack said...

yay!! that's great!

Laura said...

that's so awesome andrea! i love the feeling of overcoming and being victorious over a challenge. good for you!

ps. i have all my original knee parts and still can't touch my foot to my bum...unless i kneel of course

Andrea said...

Well, I can't kneel other than kneeling tall, if you know what I mean.

las cosas de mi vida said...

Wow... impressive!!!I didn't know that story... you are so strong! I never htought that I would run so I said to my trainer to never put me in the trailmill, but one I decided that I would, why not? I tried it and went out of breath after 4 minutes...but I got to loooove it, and could run for half hour without stopping. I think running is addictive!

Sarah-Lynn said...

woo hoo! Andrea, that's awesome. There's such a satisfaction with feeling your body change and to be able to do things you once couldn't. Lots of people can't run for 30 mins straight, let alone someone who's been through what you've been through with your leg and everything. said...

that is awesome, Andrea! yay! I know what you mean about the feeling of running bare foot in a field. I love that too.

sheila said...

Yea, you! Nice story, Andrea.

My word verifications is BLESS!