My daughter had her last gymnastics meet of her career at her state championship meet this weekend. She is a graduating senior and will be heading off to college next fall. Out of all the Level 7 gymnasts this year, there is 2 graduating sensors. Most girls don’t stick it out through high school since the 4hrs per day on top of high school and other things that take time away from the gym. On top of gymnastics, she maintains over a 3.8 GPA. We are very proud parents.
The Michigan-USAG (USA Gymnatics) recognizes graduating seniors during the state meet. They pulled her up on stage and read some details about her life in gymnastics and school like that fact that she started as a gymnast when she was 3 years old, she was 2nd at last year’s state meet, and her college plans for the fall. They gave her a plaque commemorating the event. When she sat back down with her fellow gymnasts/friends, 1 of them joked that she got an award for being old. This year she tied for 3rd on vault (her best event) and took 8th on Floor (her 2nd best event). She is an amazing kid. She is not the best gymnast but can do things 99.9% of people in the world can’t do, she keeps her grades up (and is frustrated when she doesn’t get A’s), she has a boyfriend and many friends. All in all she leads a fairly normal life but with extreme dedication to Gymnastics.
I intended to run quick 5k on Saturday but it was snowed out. We didn’t get a huge amount of snow but it was enough to make a run a bit dangerous. I went out Sunday at Lunch and it was cold but the snow was off the roads and the run felt good, in fact much better than expected. I did my first 7 mile run of the season. I was expecting to be slow, anything between 9-10 min/mile would have been good. I was expecting to be closer to 10 min/mile and to feel pretty sore afterwards. Not only did I felt great during and after the run, I was able to do the run in 9:05 min/mile . It was a really good running day, not that there is a bad day to run.
I ran the 5k at Shamrocks & Shenanigans on Sunday morning. It was fairly warm, 45F, for an early March run all things considered. I didn’t have to wear the multiple layers or the hat and gloves. The hands were a little chilly at the start but they warmed and felt good after about 1/2 mile. We got a shirt and a beer mug which beats the post race medal.
The local Irish pub was offering a post race beer but it just seems a little wrong to have a bear after only a 5k and at 10:00 in the morning. I stuck with the water and bagel.
I was asked questions about the race by someone in the parking lot. Not sure if she was a reporter for a local newspaper or a blog and not sure if my comments will be used, it was very unexpected and I was kind of stunned to be asked questions. I’m not a famous runner or person, just some who signed up for the race and was on his way home. She asked what I liked about the race and like an idiot I said, it was warm. and didn’t rain. I did add that I liked the downtown area and it was a good hilly course, but I’m sure she thought I was a moron. All in all it was a good run, a nice way to start a Sunday morning. The more I go down there, the more I like downtown Ann Arbor area.
Waiting for the Shamrocks and Shenanigans 5k to start, you can see the University of Michigan Stadium in the distance. We would run right up to the entrance and back.
Today is the 1-year anniversary of my 3rd arthroscopic knee surgery. I tore the meniscus in the fall of 2011 and tried to rest and rehab my way out of surgery. After the MRI, it became clear that I needed surgery to repair. I was walking the next day and running again within a month. I ran the Detroit Free Press Marathon a little over 7 months after the surgery. The run didn’t go according to plan but I finished which was the primary goal for a first marathon. It was probably too big a goal for such a short time after the surgery but I thought I could handle it. I had a really good 22-mile training run a few weeks before and everything went fine. I tore the Meniscus in my left knee mostly likely while running Dances with Dirt which was an unplanned, and untrained for, race. A friend asked me just 2 days before the race to fill in for an injured team mate on his relay team. It sounded like fun, it was an absolute blast, but I hadn’t done any trail running for several months. I can’t say for sure that is when the injury happened, although it is the only thing that makes sense, but my knee started hurting within a couple of weeks and continued to get worse. After a couple of months of therapy to try to prevent the need for surgery and an MRI, it was determined that I needed surgery.
It was my 3rd surgery on the same knee but was unrelated to the other surgeries. The first surgery was to remove a bone chip over 1 inch in diameter. It turns out that this chip also had all the cartilage from the upper bone in the knee joint. The missing this cartilage would leave me in pain if I walked or ran for more than 10-15 minutes at a time. This caused me to avoid exercise due to the pain. More than 10 years later, I started having a new pain in the back of the knee. The doctor said it was just another bone chip and was no big deal to remove but he noticed the missing cartilage and told me of a procedure , microfracture, that would likely solve the pain issues. Unfortunately, this meant 6 weeks on crutches after the surgery because as the doctor explained it, the new cartilage would be like new grass grown from seeds. If you walk on it too soon, it will die due to not being strong enough. This new cartilage would need to strengthen before I could walk on it. After 6 weeks on crutches, I could barely walk on the leg without falling over due to muscle loss. I lost 2 inches in diameter in my calf during this time. After several months of therapy and then a follow up round of therapy 8 months later, I was pain free for the first time in close to 20 years.
I started running a couple of years later because some friends convinced me I could run a half marathon even though I had never run more than 3 miles in my life and hadn’t done that in 10+ years. I thought they were crazy but 1 of these friends had never been a runner and had lost a large amount of weight and done the half marathon. I started running in February and successfully ran a half marathon, 13.1 miles, in just over 2 hours in September of that same year. I was quite amazed and before I realized it, I was addicted to the running. I completed my last half marathon in 1:54:43, 8:45 min/mile pace just 1 year later. 2 years after that, skipped a year due to the knee injury, I ran the full marathon.
3 surgeries and several scars later the knee is in pretty good shape, maybe a little weaker than the other knee but still as pain free as the “good knee”.