It’s a Downhill Battle

This week was a busy week – a trip to DC, a scintillating CPR/first aid class, and a few runs. One of those runs included a mini-milestone, one that I think merits mention.

The week started with a trip to DC. I love running in DC – it’s probably my favorite running location. My friend/coach and I were there for a work thing, so we got to run together on my favorite route on the Mall. Yay!

It was a busy few days, but I felt inspired by the work and had a great time with some colleagues who are really friends. I got home and had a nice, easy run with my local running friend. It felt like summer.

Saturday I had to sit through a 6 hour first aid and CPR class. It was hideously boring. I have taken the same class 4 previous times, so I was bored to death. What’s worse is that the instructor was a retired stay at home mom who had never done CPR, performed first aid of any kind, couldn’t look at the fake blood on the video, and admitted she taught the class “to get out of the house”. Sigh. At least I’m official for another two years.

Now, on to the milestone. This may be a little one, but I was super excited about it. (!) I ran down a hill! That’s right my friends, I ran all the way down a hill made up of zillions of rocks. More accurately, I ran down a ravine-like, rocky incline. This is a big deal.

Since I tore my ACL, I have lost pretty much all proprioception in my right leg. I still have a really hard time determining where my leg is in the air. The ACL serves an important nerve function in the knee and is the main nerve path that tells the brain where your knee is in space and where your lower leg is relative to the thigh. Without an ACL, this nerve function is lost. The faux-CL is great, but it doesn’t have any nerves.  This means I can’t feel my leg’s location in space. I feel its position when it hits the ground, and my foot sends the information about my leg position back to my brain. This makes it a problem on every down hill path. Because the ground is further away on the downhill, I often slap my foot on the ground, trip, or shuffle along because I just have no idea what my foot placement will be until my foot actually touches the ground. I have been working on learning how to “feel” the path with my good leg and use that information to place my right foot. This is harder than it seems like it would be. I can’t get my two legs to match in position without looking at them and I can’t run a technical trail while looking at my legs. So, this particular downhill on my usual Sunday route has been my nemesis. It’s highly technical, all rocks, and decently steep. And, today, I conquered it. I ran all the way down. I wasn’t going very fast, and, I must admit, there were some girlish squeals, but I did it. That’s right – I ran downhill. Hooray! The downhill battle continues, but today I won.