Rehab after I ruptured my ACL and MCL just sucked. I tried to think of a nicer adjective, but truthfully “sucked” is the best, and it goes straight downhill from there. I couldn’t bend my knee. I couldn’t sit on the ground (if I expected to get up). I couldn’t get easily into most cars without wincing. The couldn’ts were just icing on the “never” cake. I can never run again. I can never play basketball. I can never play tennis. That’s what the doctor told me, because I guess that’s what people want to do. He forgot to say: I can never roller skate. I can never horse around in a bouncy house, and the worst… I can probably never dance… not really.
At the gym I was limited to the hand bike. That awful thing I used to joke that I wanted to try – well here I was, and it was all I could do. It seemed like gym life was a sea of that and lateral pull downs, and every day I started off by rocking my leg back and forth on the recumbent bike – unable to make a complete turn. And I needed Jay; I just needed him to be home.
When I think about the gym, there are only a handful of things I love: strength training, dead lifts, and rowing. Ok fine, I also love anything that involves a med ball or a slam ball. Ok, I may have a pet name for one med ball, “Fat Dyna.” Ok, I may be almost embarrassed to admit that. Rowing and dead lifts were out of the question, and I couldn’t get near Fat Dyna. So, I did what I could do, and I got gradually stronger, but the victories were small.
I’d stare at the rower while trying to complete a circle with the pedal on the bike – back and forth and back and forth – day after day, week after week…
I remember asking if I could use the rower. No, your knee isn’t strong enough, yet.
Then one day I didn’t ask. I got on the rower, and I rowed, and then I cried. Such a simple thing. Such a small thing.
Today, on Christmas Eve, I rowed a half marathon – 21,120 meters in under two hours.
How do I feel? Let me tell you without mincing words.
I am a bad ass mother fucker. I am strong. I am a force of nature. I am unstoppable. I am the storm. And hands down, I have the world’s best trainer with whom I couldn’t have done this without.