My Running Come Back by Jenny Nielsen

In December 2018 my knee was bothering me. I went to the doctor and I started with physiotherapy (PT). It helped a little bit. Did an MRI but my knee looked awesome. It ended up to be runner's knee. I just needed to keep strengthening the muscles in the legs.

I walked and biked until February when I started running again. I did keep up with Pound Fit while I was injured. Pound Fit is for everyone. I modified a lot. Of course I rested when I needed to. While I was injured I learned more about my body and how to listen to it. Take more rest days, bike and walk if I needed to.

February 2019 I started running again. I wanted to run the Wisconsin Half Marathon in 2019 but knew I would not prepare in time. So I ended up running the 5K that day instead. In the summer I felt strong enough to run the No Frills Half Marathon in Minocqua, Wisconsin in September 2019. It was my come back half marathon.

I finished the No Frills Half Marathon in September 2019 in 3 hours and 19 Minutes. My worst half marathon time ever. I was not mad about it because it was hard to finish. I had many emotions from excitement to nervousness and frustration. I wanted to give up so badly but I knew the only direction was towards the finish line. There was a lady running the marathon who passed me and was cheering me on to keep going. Closer to the end of the race two guys ran past me and said, "Keep going". I started running again and them cheering me on helped me to finish the race.

The best part of the race was seeing my mom, brother, niece and nephews at the finish line. It was really cute - the boys were trying to keep up with me to the finish line. I had tears in my eyes of excitement. Even writing this made me tear up a little bit. It was an amazing feeling finishing.

September 28th or 29th I ran the Great Pumpkin Run at Swan's Pumpkin Farm. It rained the night before. The course was along the hayride route so it was super muddy. Before the race I was super nervous knowing it was going to be muddy. I was super tired from little sleep that night - or should I say morning. I worked a 12 hour shift until 4 AM.

I had second thoughts. Why I am doing this? Why did I come? It was the toughest race ever. Mid-course while picking up my right leg to take another step my toes slipped in the mud. I tried running on and off to get to the finish. It was really hard to keep going. But I kept trying. Finally I got to the finish line with a sore knee and a tired body.

That day at work I was struggling to walk the buildings. At 8 PM the supervisor was having a hard time deciding whether or not to send me to a lot and I asked if I could stay until my shifted ended. He was happy to keep me there since I had told them about my knee. I had to walk the lot every half hour and by 12 AM or even 12:30 AM they let me sit there since I could not do much walking. I got off at 2:30 AM because they needed me until they could get someone to relieve me. I was down talking to my boss since he was still there. He let me come into work from 8 PM until 4 AM the next day, to keep me off my knee until my day off.

I made an appointment with my orthopedic doctor for the next day or the day after. Once I got there they took an X-ray. Luckily, no bones were broken. The doctor came in to check it out and thought it was bruised bone. He had me on crutches and off my feet for two weeks. They were the toughest two weeks that I ever had to do. Took about a week or so to get used to the crutches. No running for at least two weeks.

By my next appointment my knee was still bothering me badly. They did an MRI, and then an EMG and could not find anything wrong. Finally we decided to do PT again. I went to PT for four weeks. The therapist found out that I was super tight. We strengthened the muscles, stretching and massaging them. If it did not get better after PT then it would be back to the MRI machine to see if I had a pinched nerve in my back.

PT helped a lot. My knee felt great. January 2020 I started running again. I only ran 10 miles in January. I was afraid that I could not get through the Disney Princess run weekend. I could not finish my training and get back at it for a month and a half. I had signed up for it a year before. I really wanted to run all three races: the 5K, the 10K and the half marathon. I was going to go to Disney World no matter WHAT. I would at least walk the 5K with my best friend.

The week of the Disney Princess run approached. My best friend and I spent the week at the parks. My knee was sore but nothing that I could not manage. We ran the 5k and my knee felt great. The 10K was fun. The half marathon was tough after being in the parks all week. I was so excited to finish the weekend. Again I cried while crossing the finish line. N0 one was there but my emotions were all over the place. I finished another comeback half marathon. OMG I just finished my first Disney run weekend.

I really did not have many local races to run in 2020 because they were all canceled. I did end up running virtual races all year. I did increase my miles by 10% each month until May. The second half of the year the miles did not come as easily. In November I only had a couple of miles. In December I ran zero miles. I can't wait to get back to running local races and get back to running. In January 2021 I snowshoed two to three miles each time I went out. I hope I can run the Door County Half Marathon locally in May 2021. I can't wait to see what my running and fitness journey will bring.

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