If you’ve stopped by my blog and read some of my posts, you’ll know I’m a runner. Or should I say I ‘WAS’ a runner.
Running has been great for me in so many ways and quite a big part of my life on and off over the years. At school I was never a runner. I hated cross country (and still do). Cross country was the sort of running you did at school in the 1970s. I didn’t like PE generally either. And as for walking …. I’d rather get the bus than walk. But as I got older running seemed to appeal, so I thought I’d give it a try. And I liked it.
During relationship break ups running has helped me to focus, when my Mum died running was my solace and it kept me going, and along the way I’ve lost weight, got fitter and won quite a few medals for half marathons and 10k races – not that I’ve actually ‘won’ anything as I was never that fast. But I finished what I started, sometimes quite easily, other times with pain and discomfort. But I ran races and finished. At times I even surprised myself. I can’t say I was ever the most confident runner, but my partner, Mark, always said I was a better runner than I gave myself credit for and I sought some confidence in that.
But over the last year or so I began to feel more discomfort and quite a bit of pain a day or so after a run. My knees squelched and clicked more loudly as I walked up the stairs, and I knew something was wrong. In November last year, having put off going to the Doctor, I finally made an appointment to find out what I really already knew. After a visit to the walk-in xray department at the local hospital, I was told I had osteoarthritis in both knees and some bone damage to my right knee. The prognosis was not good. Too young for knee replacements and not severe enough anyway. So, I was told take up to 8 paracetomol each day and if necessary get a prescription for stronger medication, lose a little weight and avoid running at all costs! Avoid running?!? No! This is not what I wanted to hear. But it’s what I knew was right.
To be honest I did wallow for a few days, partly for the loss of my running and partly because of the pain in my knees and partly because I surely wasn’t this old! Only old people get osteoarthritis surely! So I did some research and found that more women than men get osteoarthritis AND the onset is at around 50+, and I was 50 last year. So this was it. It was true. I have to accept I HAVE osteoarthritis.
So, I had to get on with it. Time to stop wallowing and be positive. How could I fill the gap I’d created by not running? I had, with my partner Mark who is a runner taking on crazy, bonkers challenges (more about him later), started going swimming once a week. I’ve still to increase this to twice a week but planning to. And I started walking. In fact, I started walking and I started a walking section of the running club Mark and I started in 2013. I’m in good company too as there are 3 of us (all women) out of the group with osteoarthritis and as we do our weekly Wednesday walk, we talk about our aches and pains, but we also talk about how much the walking is helping.
Every cloud and all that …