On December 1st, my knee surgery "celebrated" its two year anniversary. The hope, as is the hope with any surgery, was that I would be good as new upon completion. Oh well, so much for hope in that particular area. You see, when you have run for more than 52 years, there are plenty of milestone type moments. Some are great, some only good, some not so much. PRs and great races or workouts land in the GREAT column (had some wonderful moments there), DNFs and DNSs land in the not so much side. This surgery was a significant not so much.
My knee's not terrible, mind you, it's just not good. I can still run, but the slow pace and complete lack of being able to go longer distances has dampened my spirits far more than moving up yet another age group might (and for some reason that continues to happen - Father time). And while my racing has been limited to when my mind is racing, each run is still a gift, still a moment to be savored.
Two things: the moment, and savoring. In his awesome book Athletic Excellence, Jim Loehr wrote: "When
I say that my focus is the MOMENT, I guess what I’m really saying is that I
savor the moment. Every moment of every performance is something to be totally
experienced and totally enjoyed. I simply seize the moment for what it is and,
whenever I do that, I begin immediately to experience a sense of calm, strength
and energy that continues to amaze me."
Since the day in1982, when Loehr first enlightened me about the moment at a Track clinic in Phoenix, I have adopted the moment as my place to be. It is in the moment where all the good stuff sits: love, empathy, self-awareness, joy. Sometimes, however, the moment is not so hot, sometimes downright shitty.
So what then? Loehr had an answer for that too. "Don’t misunderstand, the feelings don’t always
come, and I still lose them sometimes and can’t get them back. Even when I go to the moment, they can be a
little stubborn. To help things along, I’ll start acting “as if” they were
there and often that’s enough to get the feelings going again. As soon as that
happens, I start becoming a performer again. I used to think those feelings came only when I
played well. I really had it backwards. I played well because I got the
feelings, and believe me there’s a big difference."
So, in the middle of this huge knee slump, in the middle of discomfort ranging from a pinch feeling to flat-out no support pain, I choose the moment. I choose to enjoy each opportunity to do this thing I love even though some of the "outcomes" are different. I choose to be, as Loehr masterfully wrote: "right here, right now, loving every minute of it."