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You know how bloggers apologize for taking a break? Stuff like: “One month without a post” or “I bet you were wondering what happened to me.” The reader’s response: ‘I had no idea you were gone.’ Which is probably the same sentiment anyone who reads this is going to have. And maybe my own forthcoming explanation is an attempt to sublimate some writer’s guilt, but I thought you deserved an excuse for my absence:

I’ve been out of commission for the past month or so. Here’s how the proverbial shiz went down. I was in a hurry one morning, and I tried to squeeze in a quick run before going to work. I must have taken those first couple of miles too fast, because by mile five I was breaking down. A new kind of pain dug its teeth into my knee and wouldn’t let go. I had to do that weird looking one-stiff-leg-run walk thing. Not very cool looking.

I didn’t let it bother me at first. I just stretched a bit when I got home — probably not a good idea — and went about my day… The pain got worse at work. It radiated outward from an area just south of the back of knee like a reactor meltdown. Chernobyl was happening in my leg. Stairs were the worst.

Fast forward three days. I’d made a few more ill-fated running attempts, each one more excruciating than the previous. I decided to do the unthinkable: rest for a few days.

That didn’t work either.

After whining to my wife about it for a week or so, medical advice seemed the obvious next step. I saw a nurse practitioner. She recommended an MRI.

If you’ve never had one, let me break it down for you: big cold sterile room, intimidating beige barrel with a digital display on the front, earplugs, and positively no reading material.

It’s like lying under a train for 60 minutes. Loud arrhythmic noises for an extended period of time. And the guy operating the thing is in a different room talking to you from behind a glass partition through a Hardee’s Intercom — which makes you feel real safe.

Anyway, an hour or so after crawling into that infernal contraption, I left the hospital with a CD-ROM and no instructions from anyone on what to do next.

I took it back to the nurse practitioner’s office. She wasn’t there of course.

Long story short, the torn ligament in my leg healed after an extended period of rest, and I was able to start running again.

I’d like to think I’ve learned something from this experience, but I can’t say I have. Other than I’m not fond of MRIs. Once again, I ignored the virtues that get most people through this kind of predicament (patience being one) and wound up grumpy. Wait a minute; is that learning?

But alas, I’m happy again. Don’t let my complaining fool you. I’m thrilled to be back out there.

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