"Every morning you rise, I want you to remember this: There are amazing things to be a part of, and fight for, and feel, because the world will unlock hundreds of doors when you give this day all the courage, love, and intensity you can."
This year has been a whirlwind. New house. New job. New roommates. Summitting Kilimanjaro. Malaria. A meniscus tear. Impending major knee surgery. Wait, no major knee surgery. Artificial cartilage. But the biggest realization of them all: My running has a finite end. There is an end date. And it is sooner rather than later.
Let's back up. So I came home from Kili knowing that maybe something was off. But I shrugged it off. Ran some races. Felt an odd twinge, but kept on going. I completed the first five weeks of marathon training before I acquiesced that something was definitely wrong. It certainly was not normal for me to run 0.62 miles and want to quit. That wasn't who I was as a runner. So, I made an appointment with my knee surgeon, walked into the office, heard I likely had a torn meniscus, got fast-tracked, took care of things at work so I could be operated on the following week, and then everything came to a screeching halt. My knee injury wasn't as simple as "just" a torn meniscus. I was a perfect candidate for a full knee replacement ...at the ripe old age of 27. In that moment I could hear my knee surgeon talking, but I couldn't quite understand what he was saying. I was active. I was young. How could this be happening?
Since I couldn't receive a knee replacement (yet), he had a back-up plan: artificial cartilage. After WEEKS of back-and-forth with the manufacturer, insurance, and the doctor's office, I finally got my artificial cartilage and so far, it's been quite successful (granted, it's been 3 weeks today...). I'll know for sure after 5 more weeks, but I'm cautiously optimistic that this has taken.
But what does all this mean? Well, as my surgeon very diplomatically told me, my running career is rapidly coming to a close, much sooner than I wanted it to. I think I'm still coming to terms with that. While 7 years seems like a long way off, it really isn't. I still had plans, plans to run JFK, to somehow qualify for Boston, to figure out my fourth comeback from injury. And I guess I can. But in the back of my mind, I can hear a clock ticking, knowing that the end is in sight. As I continue to grapple with that, in the meantime, I'll continue to put one foot in front of the other, step by step, mile by mile.