Everything was looking up. I was going to get back into shape. I was already making progress. Then, just as I was starting to go to the gym very regularly, it happened.
I was walking to class, carrying an exam I was planning to give, and it was cold. I had parked my car in the usual spot. When I use a parking lot on a regular basis, I like to develop a pattern as to where I park the car, so when I go to find it later in the day, I can use the same pattern to find the car. This usually requires that I opt for a location farther away from the entrance than average. Doing so also gives me the opportunity to walk farther. Many people forget that getting to take a walk is a good thing, and even when they go to the gym to get exercise will spend some effort trying to get a parking place near the entrance way. I don’t do that.
Anyway, the parking lot was very slippery and icy, so I walked very carefully from the car across the tundra-like lot to the sidewalk, which was perfectly dry and clean. At that point, I sped up my pace, and suddenly was flying in the air. I had hit a patch of black ice. I came down directly on my right knee, and this impact with Earth severed the tendon that connects my quadriceps to my lower leg. The tendon and the distal end of my patella were broken, with the tendon severed cleanly and the patella mushed into a million tiny pieces, like that memoir. The rest of my knee cap was now somewhere up on my thigh, and my leg would not respond to the usual commands.
I’ve chronicled the subsequent events elsewhere. Briefly, there was an ambulance, there was surgery, there was some more surgery, and there was a long period of recovery, still in process. I still can’t kneel on a hard surface for any period of time without paying for that later, for example. My knee always hurts a little, though I can easily ignore it. Every week it looks different. Most recently, some of the swelling went down and now I can see and feel patches of scar tissue that were previously buried beneath the swelling.
Unable to engage in much activity over the course of many months, my muscle mass went way down, and my fat content went way up, so I actually became a person you would not describe as fit if you were describing me to someone else.
Starting a few months ago, I re-started those stints of exercise, which went beyond the required physical therapy, and more recently, that effort has become sustained. I rarely talk openly about my goals, and I won’t go into detail here, but I’ve got a plan that brings me up to about July 1st and which is progressing nicely. My routine today involves one and a half to two hours at the gym, five miles on the treadmill and the rest lifting, with the occasional shorter stint on the treadmill and more lifting, as needed. I do this five times a week. As the weather changes that will be supplemented with other things like, for instance, walking rather than driving to the gym, biking, etc.
I had injured my shoulder at the same time I injured my knee (it’s complicated) and that injury had kept me from doing certain things at the gym. Now, that is pretty much over. I can do everything. I’m leg pressing just over 500 pounds (30 reps) and I’m on a steep upward trend in increasing that and other weights. I don’t run.
And … all my pants don’t fit. Well, the ones in the closet that I had put away fit again. Suddenly, a whole new wardrobe! Which, for me, is three pairs of pants.