Graduated half an hour ago! I can’t believe it! It wasn’t pretty and it was very sweaty but I did it!
I have been a bit of a lurker and not really posted but I have tried to reply and offer encouragement to others in the last few weeks. I think one of the reasons I haven’t posted is that initially I wasn’t sure I would complete and posting almost felt like tempting fate.
By my reckoning, this journey started about twenty weeks ago during a cold and wet January. I made a very public declaration that I was embarking on the programme, (don’t ask!) I’d never run, I was always the fat one at the back of the field at school. I started, full of enthusiasm, aged 47 and 3 stone overweight. Two weeks in my knees went, foolishly I ran through the pain making matters far worse. I couldn’t walk, let alone run.
I was gutted and at that point joined this forum, sheepishly looking for words of wisdom and reassurance that everything would be alright because the thing was, I’d loved the two weeks I’d done and to not be able to finish what I’d started was unthinkable. Who knew?? I loved running! I felt so low. Four weeks on the IC followed along with naproxen, muscular skeletal assessment and an urgent physio referral, (everyone I met on my little NHS journey was so supportive and committed to getting my knees right again!) Various medical opinions were offered: cartilage damage, bursitis, long standing bio mechanical imbalance and just the fact my knees needed time to catch up with what the rest of my body was trying to do - I think this is the most likely explanation. 25 years on the couch. Foolishly I’d thought the step aerobics I’d done 3 times a week when I was 20 would stand me in good stead!!
After 2 weeks on the IC I probably did the single best thing I could have done, I started the NHS knee strengthening exercises I’d found a link for on this forum. I did them every single day for two weeks and at the end of the four weeks on the IC I went out fast walking several times, gradually building some strength up. I took inspiration from all your stories and successes.
I started again, picking up at the start of week 2, by the end of week four I was back on IC, I was terrified it really was over for me but this time, I was only out for a week, I recovered far quicker.
I honestly haven’t looked back since; I haven’t needed to repeat a run but that hasn’t meant it’s been easy, even tonight’s run was a struggle in the heat, (in all honesty, I preferred running in the cold, wet January conditions). My knees whinge and complain slightly every few days and need a bit of TLC, but hey, who doesn’t?? Sometimes I need to take two rest days, but that’s fine with me. My first physio appointment came through in week 4, I had 3 sessions but felt like a fraud because I was doing so well on my own. At week 7, I asked to be discharged and I was, feeling a little bit anxious that things could still go wrong. They didn’t though and I continue to do the knee strengthening exercises after every single run, I’m not taking any chances.
So, tonight I graduated! I have amazed myself. I could not have done it without you all though which is why I’m posting now, there have been so many runs where I have thought of your names and your posts, particularly those at a similar stage to me, (is this getting weird?? Do I sound like a stalker now??)
I don’t think I’ve ever been so determined to do something in my life. I can’t remember getting up in the morning and leaving the house without a full face of make up and a blow dry since I was 14 but this is what the program has made me do, the desire to go out and run, (before it got too hot!) has been so strong.
During my time on the IC, I was so fed up and so worried I would never recover, but I did, I took as much advice as I could and my knees got better, my knees stepped up to the plate. They did it, I did it. If I did it, so can you. Yes, you can. Listen to your body and if your really are starting as a couch potato like I was, don’t expect too much too soon, strength may need building up gradually. It’s a cliche but it really is a marathon, not a sprint.
Apologies that this post is like War and Peace. I’m really hoping I haven’t broken some sort of record for the longest post ever! I just had to get it off my chest now. If this post reassures just one person who is currently struggling I will be happy. I’m already happy, I graduated and who knows where my knees will take me now. 🥂