First and foremost, happy Veterans Day to all who have served and continue to serve. All Americans are fortunate to be protected by the greatest armed forces this planet has ever known.
Below are pictures of the veterans of whom I am most proud on this day and every day.
My dad, Joe, served in the Army Air Corps during World War II, and survived the blitzkrieg of London. He passed away in 2007.
Sadly, he never had the opportunity to see his grandson, my son, Logan, serve his country as a United States Marine. Logan is pictured below, over the left shoulder of the Marine Corps Commandant.
After achieving the rank of a corporal, Logan was honorably discharged and is now pursuing his Bachelor's degree in education at Penn State University.
Around this time yesterday, I experienced the first surgery of my life, an arthroscopic procedure to remove a torn meniscus from my left knee.
Having run more than 125,000 miles during my 39-year career, I consider myself fortunate. Now, despite what naysayers may tell you and I, my knee did not "wear out" from running; rather, torn hamstring tendons in the same leg, suffered in May of 2013, caused me to alter my gait, placing more stress on the medial side of the knee.
After an MRI revealed the torn meniscus in September, I tried a conservative approach to rehabilitation, but to no avail.
Yesterday, under the capable hands of orthopedic surgeon Doctor John Martin, of Reading, Pennsylvania, I underwent the procedure.
According to the doctor, the knee is otherwise healthy, the bad cartilage, which looks like crab meat, is gone, and the road to recovery has begun.
My physical therapy will be conducted by me. Unlike much of the general population, there is little chance that a runner will shirk his or her rehabilitation. On the contrary, our greatest danger is that we may do too much. Therefore, I have vowed to myself and my wife (who has threatened me if I do otherwise) that I will take things slowly, so I have dubbed my return to running health and sanity as a "Conservative Comeback."
After a recovery room stand-up routine, no doubt induced by my first-ever dose of anesthesia, I left the surgical facility to return home. Despite a warning of potential anesthesia-induced nausea, I felt ravenous, and proceeded to devour a Wawa hoagie after I tossed the unnecessary crutches and entered the comfort of my living room.
If you are from the Philadelphia area, you know what I'm talking about when I tell you about Wawa. Their convenience stores, in my estimation are the first-rate, and their hoagies are delicious..
Before I left the surgical facility, I was given a pain pill, so my afternoon and evening was pain-free, and despite some stiffness, I was able to move about freely.
For the first time in two months, I slept without a nagging ache in my knee, and got out of bed this morning with minimal stiffness.
After breakfast (and no pain pill. I'm done with those now) I proceeded to do about a half hour of light exercises, primarily to increase my range of motion and to strengthen the leg. Then it was time for a walk.
I walked for a half mile, with minimal pain, but some stiffness. At this point, bending the knee too far is difficult, and steps are painful.
To sum things up, I'm pretty pleased, considering that 24 hours ago I was in la-la land.
I have return-to-running goals, but I'll keep them close to the vest at this time.
For now, things are fine, and I am quite happy I opted for the surgery.
Now, it's off to my annual Veterans Day lunch with my son.