“Thoughts of a Woman Who Loves to Run” by Jamie Ogura

These are the thoughts of a woman who loves to run.  I have been a runner for years participating in all kinds of races including 5K’s, 10K’s, ½ and full marathons.  Before the age of 60, it was mostly fun and easy.

Somewhere along the line my body slowed down and for lack of a better description - “broke down”.  I kept training myself harder and harder but I was spending more time injured, sore and discouraged.  My hard headed training plan left me with a severely torn hamstring. This was eventually resolved after PRP injection and 6-8 months of rest.  My back was aching and I needed a surgical procedure on my knee to clean up another mess. When I began running again the dream / goal of running another ½ marathon seemed foolish.  I love and crave being active but my choice of activities was no longer bringing joy.

I also have a few extra health challenges:

  1. A funky heart rhythm (bradycardia). 
  2. A very twisted spine (scoliosis).  
  3. An autoimmune disease, causing inflamed joints.  
  4. Three prior knee surgeries.  

Getting older is not for sissies.  

After my last knee surgery in January of 2019 I was depressed.  Between the fall of 2018 and February of 2019 I gained 35 pounds and was almost ready to throw in the towel with running, exercise and participating in many of the activities in the outdoors I have always looked forward to like hiking, kayaking, and running.

My luck began to change when in February 2019 my husband and I attended an open house at the LightSpeed Lift Movement Center in Duluth, MN.  The LightSpeed Lift Movement Center has seven treadmills equipped with a system that provides a lifting force of up to 40 pounds to reduce the impact forces on your joints while you are walking or running on a treadmill.  “What a relief,” my body told me, “let's get moving again!”

In March I met with Malcolm Macaulay, PT, and the associate trainer Bud Trnka to design a program that would allow me to exercise and move to build my body’s structure back and allow me to enjoy an active lifestyle, including running the Gary Bjorkland ½ Marathon in June!  

In all, the LightSpeed Lift system and the training team at the Movement Center is a combination I will incorporate into my future lifestyle.  Having the Lift made training through my health quirks possible and almost enjoyable. I lost 35 pounds and felt strong. I regained my love for running and the mental sanity that comes with that love.  Maybe next year I will run a full marathon again!

Here is my diary:

3/16/19:  Sat. 7am.  Weight 145.  2 ½ months after knee surgery.  Began floor exercises for leg strength and mobility with Malcolm.  Run/Walk on LightSpeed (LS) with 35#’s of Lift. 2 miles in 40’ @ 3-4 mph.  Iced knee after.

3/19: Floor exercise using foam roller and Gym Ball.  Added standing resistance band. Run/Walk on LS with 35#’s of Lift.  2 miles 38 min.

3/20: Floor and resistance band exercise with a formal routine guided by Bud.  Run/Walk on LS Treadmill (™) in 40’. Less ache after.

3/23: Floor ex warm-up then 2 miles on LS.  Knee felt tight and swollen after.

3/25: Sport cord exercises seem easier and more stable.  Knee tight but again walked/ran 2 miles with 35#’s Lift.

3/30: Knee tight and slightly swollen.  Malcolm put on Kinesio Tape to decrease pain and swelling.  Band and LS walk/run. 2.35 miles in 40 min.

4/3: Began doing squats using a Total Gym slide board for leg strength @ 50% of body weight.  Added 10’ on Elliptical trainer to my warm-up. Walk on Treadmill @ 5 and 15% incline without using the LS lift to challenge strength and cardio without as much knee impact.  I didn’t like it but my knee wasn’t as sore after.

4/4: Continue with floor work, Sport Cord, Total Gym and Elliptical for warm-up.  Run/Walk on LS with 35#’s of Lift no as painful.

4/5: Balance, rolling, squats and Elliptical.  Walked 2 miles. See the surgeon on Monday.

4/8: Dr. says the knee is looking good but gives me a cortisone shot to decrease swelling and inflammation.  Suggests some formal PT.

4/10: Dry Needling (DN) done before exercise to decrease pain and inflammation. KT tape applied to the medial joint.  Strength/balance and endurance better with tape on. Weight 131.

4/13-4/30:  Continued with training including 2-3 sessions of PT using DN, friction massage and assisted stretching.  My legs began to feel stronger and not as much morning pain and stiffness. Also began a summer job in a greenhouse that required lifting carrying then standing on a hard surface for 4-10 hours/day.  My knees feel stiff and I think most people would. Weight at 120 pounds - that feels good. My spirit sees some hope.

May: I continued training 3-5 X’s/week throughout May at the Movement Center alternating between the walking @ incline and running with LS Lift running.  My balance became very good. I was having minimal morning stiffness and became more confident that I would be able to complete the ½ marathon. On May 22 my weight is 117#’s.  Sleep is improving although with work there isn’t much time for it.

6/5: Still going to the Movement Center for strength, flexibility, and motivation.  My stride is much improved. I feel like a “Runner” not just a Survivor for the first time in years.  I’m enjoying hiking and kayaking with my husband again. Much easier to garden and keep up @ work.

6/19: I have gained so much back physically and mentally.  The LS system has trained me to run more efficiently and I’m not having pain after running.  My weight is now 114#’s. I’m looking and feeling happy. I CAN RUN

6/22:  Race Day!  Bring it on this Runner is Ready.  My nerves are a little bit more jittery than usual.  To be honest, the fact that I’ve had training help getting to the starting line by Team LightSpeed and that this help has actually given me my running life and legs back put some pressure on.  I really want to do well. Well, I did well! 20 minutes faster than last year. Smiling almost all the way. Ready to dance that night. All I can say is Thank-You for such wonderful guidance and encouragement.  

6/25: Recovery and Reflection;  It was a beautiful day for a race.  The sun was out, it was warmish but there was a great cool tailwind.  And the runner? I could feel a marked improvement in my stride and endurance throughout the race.  I admit being worried throughout that I’d get the stuffing knocked out of me like the previous year but as I got closer to the finish line and continued to feel strong with little pain my worry turned to smiles and I remembered how far I had come in 6 months of dedicated training.  I had done my work. I had trusted my coaches. LightSpeed Lift had given me back the joy of running. I felt even better after my post-race nap.

In all, the LightSpeed Lift system and the training team at the Movement Center is a combination I will incorporate into my future lifestyle.  Having the Lift made training through my health quirks possible and almost enjoyable. I lost 35 pounds and felt strong. I regained my love for running and the mental sanity that comes with that love.  Maybe next year I will run a full marathon again!