Deciding to not drown in a lake of tears due to my recent injury, I decided to go ahead and get an MRI done at the request of my doctor, and with some encouragement from running friends. Did I want to get one? No. Did I know it would help in the end? Yes. It took me two weeks to work up the nerve to actually schedule one.
It isn't getting an MRI done that made me feel uneasy. I had one done in high school, and it ended up helping doctors realize what my foot problem was. However, this one seems far more important to me. I scheduled my appointment for early afternoon, thinking I could motivate myself all morning about all of the positive things this was going to do for me.
I got to the office and filled out some paperwork. On the paper, it asked about conditions, previous surgeries, and some other stuff. I had to check "yes" to two boxes - the "do you have diabetes?" box and "do you wear an insulin pump?" box. I must admit that I was incredibly surprised that the insulin pump question was on the form. It made me happy to see it on there knowing times have changed for the better.
Having an MRI done is like being put in a spaceship. You get put on a board and then they put medical pieces of cloth (I am 100% sure they are not cloth, but I don't know what they actually are) around the area for the MRI. For me, that was my left knee. Then they slide you into the spaceship contraption and tell you not to move. They also gave me earplugs to wear for "all of the noise." Before the MRI started, the guy that set it up told me that I could fall asleep if I wanted to, too. I thought to myself how the hell would I sleep if you gave me earplugs for such loud noises?
I tried my hardest not to move, but it seemed like every time I thought of not moving I wanted to move more. The noises were not too loud, and I didn't wear the earplugs. I also didn't fall asleep. Throughout the 30 minutes of MRI, all I could think of was this song. Between me singing Starships in my head and feeling like I was going to get launched into space in the near future, I thought about running and life.
I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes I do not completely understand the reason at the time, but will see value in it later on. The last time I was "seriously" injured was almost exactly 3 years ago when I had a stress fracture. At that point in my life, running had become my life. It was what I did everyday, no matter what. I became obsessed with it, and made poor choices because of it. Reflecting on that experience, running had taken over too much of my life. After the stress fracture healed, I still continued to work out, just not to the extent as before.
The following summer I found out I had basically no iron in my blood. This led me to change some aspects of my diet and eat a more balanced diet. Life was going well, training was great, and I got to run a few half marathons and two full marathons. I obtained goals that I didn't think were possible.
Then my knee issue came up. It is easy to say "why me?" in instances like this. Why was I born with a misaligned kneecap? Why am I having pain when I run, an activity that brings me such great joy? Will I ever run again...because the doctor made it seem like that would never happen?
While laying in the spaceship getting the MRI done, I realized that this is just one test. It will show me what the cartilage is like in my knee. It does not define me. It gives me information, and that is all. It does not say "you will no longer be a good runner or win an award or run a marathon or a half ever again." Maybe this all happened because running had taken up too much of my life again.
At that moment, I decided that I would run a fall half marathon. I don't know what kind of training I'll do for it, or what my time will be. But those things really do not matter in the grand scheme of things. I'm running to prove to myself that I can. I'll smile through the entire 13.1 mile journey and love every second of it, no matter what. Will it be hard and challenging? Perhaps. Will it bring me great joy? Yes. I'm not sure which fall half marathon I'll be running, but I'll guarantee you that I'll be running one for sure.