Saturday, June 29, 2024

I'm not Djokovic, but...

This is quite an unexpected connection to my running journey. To be honest, I’m not a big fan of that tennis GOAT. While I played tennis and enjoyed it as a kid, I must prefer the simplicity of running, an activity you can do without much setting, anywhere and whenever you want. As for Djokovic, his arrogance has always been troubling to me and that went through the roof with the way he handled the COVID restrictions with so much disdain. So, what is that connection in the title? After erring for a few months about what to do with my knee, tossed around between those saying that meniscus heal by themselves, that surgery is overrated, I finally saw a specialist in Paris early June, the day after he and his colleague worked on… Djokovic’s meniscus! When you see framed jersey of famed soccer players in the waiting room (e.g., Mbappé, Giroud), you know you are in good hands. (Photo credit @DjokerNole.)


The arthroscopy is scheduled for July 1 and mostly aims at taking away a piece of cartilage which is floating around in my joint. This is the source of painful and quick inflammation anytime I’m trying to jog, at least I’m glad that there is a mechanical explanation and a sensible plan to get rid of it. I only wish I had gotten the MRI and diagnosis the next day of my injury, but I’m not Djokovic… And I wasn’t into spending tens of thousands of dollars which that would have costed in the US…


With the prospect of returning to running a few weeks after the surgery, I’ve been more motivated to invest into cardio and strength training again: rowing machine, 50 to 100-mile bike rides, high intensity elliptical sessions, hamstring curl and leg press. Quite motivated because, as the surgeon stated, I must have lost a lot of muscle with months off running. As opposed to Djokovic who got surgery a couple of days after his injury, with his incredible will to get back to top competition at Wimbledon and the Olympics weeks later!

However, what I don’t know yet is what the knee will allow me to do, running wise. What is left of my running journey and career. How the knee will hold on uneven trails for instance. What I know for knowing me too well is that I will most likely keep thinking and, most probably, even overthinking about it.

In another form of serendipity, I ran, figuratively speaking, into the famous Brian Pilcher in the SFO lounge on my way to Paris. Brian holds 3 M60-64 American Records for 25K, 30K and the marathon mark (2:42:42) all set during the same event at the 2016 BOA Chicago. He also holds the M65-69 12, 15 and 10K records. A pinched nerve in the hamstring prevents him from training enough to keep racing aggressively though, now. It is so hard to accept that we aren’t unbreakable machines…

With that, hopefully more good news in a few weeks, and opportunities to see some of you at races or on the trails again!

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