They say that inspiration can come from the most unexpected places, and for me, it arrived in the form of my friends who are now ultra trail runners. In 2019, I experienced a debilitating injury—a torn meniscus—that left me unable to run. The pain and frustration were overwhelming, but the resilience of my friends and their passion for ultra trail races ignited a spark within me. It was the motivation I needed to make my comeback and rediscover the joy of running. In this blog, I’ll share my journey of overcoming adversity and returning to the world of running.
The Injury That Almost Ended My Running Journey
In 2019, I was an enthusiastic runner, logging miles, enjoying the thrill of races, working towards a single goal, and savoring the freedom that running offered. However, a sudden twist of fate altered my course. I tore my meniscus during the training for my first marathon and couldn’t come back from the break I took from recovering. It felt like my world in fitness had crumbled and I was in complete denial. Surgery was never an option for me so I sought after alternatives from visits to the chiropractor, prolozone shots (highly recommend) from a holistic doctor in Salt Lake, to stretching, and strange knee strengthening exercises.
The Long Road to Recovery
The road to recovery was far from easy especially because I was in denial about the injury for a little too long. Rehabilitation involved DIY physiotherapy, and strengthening exercises that I could have been more on it about and still do today and probably will forever. I often felt frustrated and demoralized, wondering if I’d ever regain the freedom to run as I once had. I felt good when I would start a run, confident, but after running under a mile a sharp debilitating pain would stop me in my tracks. Zach supported and encouraged me, finding and working with me on strange knee exercises. Their relentless determination inspired me, and I knew that if they could tackle the grueling world of ultra trail running, I could conquer my own challenges.
The Turning Point
As my recovery progressed, I set my sights on a goal: running a trail race with my friends. I never saw myself as a trail runner but I think I was just scared to hurt myself again. Seeing and cheering on 3 of my friends complete a 50 mile race, two of my friends train for a 30 mile race, another complete the Grand Canyon, and the spark long distance running gives Zach was precisely what I needed to motivate myself to get back into running. I took my first steps back onto the trails, cautiously and with great care, I was able to run 2 miles for the first time in 3 years.
The Joy of Running, Rekindled
The initial runs were short and slow, still are, as I focus on rebuilding my strength and ensuring that my meniscus could handle the impact. Over time, my confidence grew, and so did my mileage. With each pain-free mile, my love for running was rekindled. The feeling of wind in my hair, the rhythm of my footsteps, and the beauty of the trails around me became a source of immense joy and solace.
Building Towards Ultra Trail Aspirations
My friends continue to serve as a source of inspiration and mentorship, sharing their experiences, knowledge, and insights about ultra trail races. The allure of these challenging races, with their breathtaking landscapes and the ultimate test of endurance, became irresistible. I know that to participate in an ultra trail race, I will need to continue building my stamina, mastering technical trails, and honing my mental strength.
My journey isn’t without its setbacks, but I persevere, learning from each experience and never losing sight of my ultimate goal. As I log more miles and gain more confidence, I find myself gradually closing the gap between where I was and where I aspired to be.
Overcoming Challenges, On and Off the Trails
My journey to recovery and rekindling my love for running taught me valuable lessons that extended beyond the trails. I learned the importance of patience, resilience, and setting realistic goals. The support and camaraderie of my friends were instrumental in my journey, and I discovered the incredible power of the running community.
My story of overcoming a torn meniscus injury and reigniting my passion for running, with the dream of tackling ultra trail races, serves as a testament to the power of determination, support, and inspiration. It’s a reminder that even in the face of adversity, one can find new purpose and redefine their limits. If you’re on a similar journey, remember that with patience, perseverance, and the right support system, you can overcome any obstacle and chase your running dreams. So lace up your shoes and hit the trails. Your own journey of self-discovery and transformation might be just a few steps away.