I entered the second consult with the plea that we need to find any and every non-surgical options. The second consult said that I *may* get by without surgery IF I find the best physical therapist around and he specializes in elite athletes. I have been getting better slowly, so as long as I adequately strengthen my leg before returning to running, it may not matter that I have both a torn meniscus medially and no cartilage laterally.
So I had my first appointment yesterday at the physical therapist recommended by Dai Roberts, my triathalon coach. My left leg is now significantly weaker than my right due to extensively babying it these past few months. This is strange, because since I tore my ACL on my right leg in 2008, my left leg has been the stronger leg. And over the summer I was told by a sports specialist that I need to focus on strengthening my right leg because it is so weak.
The PT said I should be able to start running next week and gave me several exercises for my hamstrings and lateral rotators. And so rehab begins and the process of avoiding surgery at all costs. I will continue triathalon training and make this the year of triathalons... But I had a dream the other night about racing. Right before the (running) race began up this exceptionally steep hill, I looked at my teammate next to me, a girl. I told her "you have this, but don't slow down, because I will try my hardest and be right behind you. If you let up I will pass you." And so I will return to running, weaker, slower, but with no less heart or determination to be the best I can be and make the races that much more difficult for everyone else!