Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Happy Artery-versary To Me!

This is my one year anniversary of my patched up left external iliac artery! Technically it was "endofibrosis of the left external iliac artery with disabling left leg claudication" whereby I had a 50% documented decrease in blood pressure in the leg during exercise. Left unrepaired, I believe it would have been the end of my running. The fix was vein patch angioplasty using the great saphenous vein harvested from my left inner leg.

The physical scars have faded some, but they are still there and I guess always will be. I'm OK with that. They are an ever-present reminder to appreciate that healthy running was restored in one operation (thank you, Dr. Jesse Davidson) on April Fool's Day, 2014.

As tri pro and "sister in artery repair" Kelly Williamson wrote, "Life would be boring without any scars to show."

Like all the injuries I've had along the way, I would not change this one either. If I could undo it, I wouldn't. It would mean undoing the lessons learned, un-having beautiful times recovery walk-walk-walking the trails with my dog Trixie, and undoing the gratitude borne of facing the real fear that I might not run healthy ever again.

My friend Bryan said early on, that I'd look back at it as a "blip" and he was right.

But in EVERY run, there is always that moment that I remember back to the times that I due to the pain and congestion in the left leg. I can feel how I felt...beyond frustrated and driven to tears...and then just as quickly I feel the lightness of remembering I can let that go. I have let it go.

If you are fighting through an injury or a recovery right now, have faith, have patience, and know that the sport will be there when you are ready, whether that's in weeks, months, or years. It can be heartbreaking at the time, particularly when big races are missed, but so often we can look back and see how things ultimately worked out. I missed the Boston Marathon two years due to injury before I finally got there.

If you have a mystery injury, keep searching for answers, keep looking for the right medical professional to help. The key is getting in the right door with the right person, which I am thankful I found relatively quickly.

Wild (just a little).

Those are some words that symbolize the past year that I will carry into this race season, which starts in 10 days with the Olympic distance race at Belews Lake in NC.

I certainly prefer where I am this April 1 compared to last. No fooling! Happy April, all!