2012 has been an interesting year. It began with a hip injury that made me realize I had to confront the fact that I was getting older, my lifestyle had become less active, and I needed to take better care of myself. Once my hip injury had improved enough that I could take action, I committed to getting back in shape.
In February I decided to start this blog to track my progress. After one entry, I abandoned the blog but stuck with my journey towards fitness. By April I had improved my strength and endurance enough to enjoy hiking and skiing while vacationing in my former stomping grounds of Colorado. In May I began running and completed my first 5k in June, right after riding 33 miles on a heavy hybrid bike.
In July and August I added swimming to my routine and continued riding my bike. Due to heat and humidity, I wasn’t running so much. But I restarted this blog. The first several posts recapped the months that had elapsed since that first post in February and focused on preparation for my second ever (and first in more than a decade) triathlon – a women’s only sprint distance.
Then the real journey began. Right after the triathlon I tore the ligaments in my ankle after falling down the steps of my front stoop while programming my iPhone. So much for running, biking and even swimming. In fact, I had to limit even walking for the first several weeks.
Once my ankle was strong enough to try running, my opposite knee began causing me a great deal of discomfort. Walking up and down stairs was painful and I was frequently woken during the night by knee pain. What was thought to be a meniscus tear turned out to be a 3.2cm cyst growing in the joint. It was pushing my knee cap out of alignment and putting pressure on the back of my knee. Two weeks ago I had surgery to remove it.
The last few months have been challenging. I’ve had to adjust my goals and expectations. My original plan was to work my way up to a 10k race on December 1st and to continue swimming and cycling. Instead, I’ve had to focus on back to back healing and physical therapy for two injuries. There have been times of frustration and discouragement. My aerobic fitness has declined. But my overall outlook is good.
I made a commitment to become an athlete again and I haven’t abandoned that commitment. Athletes get injured. Injuries take time to heal. They are temporary setbacks, not permanent situations. If taken care of properly, they offer a chance to come back stronger than ever. They are an opportunity to reexamine and adjust goals and expectations. They are a reminder that patience and perseverance are part of any journey.
2012’s journey has had its ups and downs and sometimes I’ve taken two steps forward and one step back – or even one step forward and two steps back. But in the end, I am stronger and in better shape (even with injuries) at the end of 2012 than I was at the beginning. It’s been a good year to become an athlete again.