There are some activities at the Keyes homestead that require us to keep our pets safely inside – weed whacking or archery practice, for instance. Junie, our faithful cocker spaniel, takes great offense to this. With her chicken-nugget-sized brain, she cannot comprehend the danger and will thrust herself against the glass door, wailing like a banshee, certain that we are HAVING FUN WITHOUT HER.
That pretty much describes me these days, minus the snot streaks across the window. I’m watching happy athletes jog past my window and I can’t join them. I know how much they’re enjoying themselves. I’d give my life’s savings to be out there with them. But it is neither wise nor safe for me right now, thanks to an injury, or more accurately, a re-injury.
Back in July, I fell after a training session and strained my hamstring. For months, I dutifully followed all the advice of trainers, doctors, massage therapists, Runner’s World editors, WebMD ghostwriters and yoga instructors. It wasn’t getting better. In desperation, I went to the charming Dr. Grimm who, in addition to having the most awesome Hogwarts-worthy name, is an expert in orthopedics. X-rays revealed that a quarter-sized piece of bone had detached from my pelvis. Apparently this happened when I was a child. It lay dormant until the July fall, when, like Smaug, it awoke and began gnawing on my tendon.
The past few months have been filled with consultations, MRIs, cortisone shots and plenty of tears. I want to run. I live to run. It shapes my social life. It keeps my weight and blood pressure down. It relieves stress and clears the mental fog. It feeds my ego and helps me set goals. Not running these past months has been hellacious, not only for me, but for my family, especially during this terminal winter. They’ve been living with a feminine version of Jack Nicholson’s character in The Shining. All work and no play makes Teresa a dull girl, indeed.
Bottom line: Hamstring injuries are bad. They can end a running career. At my age (oh, how I HATE that expression), I don’t heal quickly. Surgery comes with risks and no guarantees. Running right now would be the equivalent of Junie playing fetch with the Lawn Jarts. The enjoyment would be fleeting and followed by lingering regret.
I’m not sure what comes next for me, but today, it’s not a run. To everything, there is a season. For many lucky people, this spring is the season for running. I truly am so happy for you! Be safe, set goals and have fun. Enjoy the journey. I’m with you all in spirit. And who knows? I just might catch up with you someday.
Greece native Teresa Benoit Keyes began running in 2006 and completed her first marathon at age 50. She lives in West Bloomfield with her family.