Relief // Emotional Whiplash

October 30, 2023

I did not tear my meniscus (!!!)

I literally just got my MRI result and I am so, SO happy to report that I was wrong.

(I never claimed to be a good musculoskeletal diagnostician – it is as far from my professional field as one could possibly get.)

There was no acute tear or fracture. The report mentions soft tissue swelling and contusion and “medial meniscus degeneration” (which I suspect might just mean “You Are Old”?) but I will save that question for someone who actually nows, like the orthopedic surgeon I will still see on Wednesday. My knee is still not normal and I am not planning to run on it until it is more normal, but today was actually the first day I woke up with any improvement since the fall so . . . that is a very very good thing.

I almost regret posting yesterday because I feel like I misled people, but that’s the issue with a blog – it’s a snapshot of feelings at the moment one hits ‘post’. And everything I wrote yesterday felt 100% true in my heart at the time.

But this news does have me feeling so much more optimistic and hopeful. I still do not think I’ll run the December 10th marathon – I just don’t think it would be smart to aggressively ramp up training, and I don’t want to just ‘run’ my next marathon, I want to race it with a solid training cycle behind me and confidence that I would be doing things safely with an eye towards the long game.

I still plan on doing PT. I still plan on meeting with the therapist. I actually *do* think I would have done okay had the MRI shown something else – I had really prepared myself for a long road. AND I am also so, so happy maybe it won’t be as long as I thought.

Thank you to every single one of you who reached out and offered support, shared your own stories (some of them which made me tear up), and affirmed my commitment to being more cautious going forward. I truly appreciate it and it meant a lot.

PS: The news continues to be absolutely horrific and scary in multiple areas of the world so I just want to note that I know in the grand scheme of things my “problems” are so incredibly minor. While I felt sad I recognize this was no sob story and I am incredibly lucky whether my meniscus had been intact or not.

Best Laid Plans Ep #170: ReAIR

With the amount I had going on last week I decided it was time for a re-air, and I chose the How Sarah Plans Her Life ep, which is a broad overview of my planning systems inspired by a similar ep by Cal Newport.

Will be back with fresh content next week.

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  • Reply KGC October 30, 2023 at 11:21 am

    Woohoo! Great news!!! Definitely still lean into the rest and PT but perhaps your hiatus won’t be as long as expected =)

  • Reply Marianne October 30, 2023 at 11:42 am

    Reading this made me SO happy for you! I was thinking about you a lot on my walk this morning.

    I do want to say that if I were you there would still be grief about just how HARD I had been training to have this happen. I marveled at your weekly totals even when I did a speed adjustment for time. I think it can be hard to recognize when we are in it just how big something is/was. I’ve done five fulls and you were putting in way more miles than I and many friends (including some w/ BQs) did. Really impressive. And I loved how much you were loving it! So please know over in NJ I am still feeling disappointment for you.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger October 30, 2023 at 12:17 pm

      aww thanks Marianne. I’m honestly not disappointed at all because compared to being out for months a shorter period of injury that doesn’t require surgery is just so SO much better. hoping that things will continue to improve!

  • Reply Marie October 30, 2023 at 12:26 pm

    Yaaaaay! What great news! That’s a huge relief and sounds like with rest, time, and PT you’ll be well on the road to recovery.

  • Reply Lori c October 30, 2023 at 12:53 pm

    I was thinking of you on my commute this morning wondering when the MRI was. Im so happy for you!!! Hopefully ice, Advil, pt, and time will heal it.

  • Reply Chelsea October 30, 2023 at 1:05 pm


  • Reply jennystancampiano October 30, 2023 at 7:46 pm

    HOORAY!!! I did keep in mind after yesterday’s post that a “torn meniscus” wasn’t definite- very glad to hear this! Compared to coming back from a torn meniscus, this will be much, much better. So have you gotten to the point yet where you’re researching alternative marathons? Ha ha, I would probably be doing that. There are lots of winter marathons in Florida : )

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger October 30, 2023 at 8:37 pm

      Admittedly yes :). Can’t help myself! Have you run DONNA?

  • Reply Alyce October 30, 2023 at 9:03 pm


    • Reply Miriam November 2, 2023 at 5:39 am

      What a relief!!! I’m sorry for the scare and I’m sure that you will recalibrate with so much gratitude. Hooray!! And can’t wait to hear about your appt!

  • Reply Stacy October 30, 2023 at 11:33 pm

    I’m so sorry you fell and injured yourself, but happy that the prognosis is so favorable. Glad to know you are on the mend!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger October 31, 2023 at 6:26 am

      Thank you Stacy!!

  • Reply Omdg October 31, 2023 at 6:11 am


    Now don’t you dare go back to hard exercise until your dr gives you the ok. Take care of yourself! Take time to heal. I will look forward to hearing your results when you run the TC marathon (or something else) next year.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger October 31, 2023 at 6:26 am

      AGREE! Not planning on doing ANYTHING until dr okay AND pain free (which I’m not yet, though starting to finally improve!)

  • Reply Elisabeth October 31, 2023 at 7:53 am

    That’s fantastic news, Sarah! So relieved for you that it’s not a tear and that you’re likely looking at a much quicker recovery. Obviously stick with your recovery plan and whatever doctor’s orders you receive (and glad to hear you’re still planning to talk with the therapist you found), but I’m sure you’re feeling so much lighter today. And thank you for your kind words to me on your previous post. It feels good to have even virtual friends wishing me well!

  • Reply Daria November 1, 2023 at 8:16 am

    That is great news, Sarah! I was thinking about the MRI after you said you are having it- take good care of yourself!

  • Reply San November 3, 2023 at 8:14 pm

    That’s fantastic news, Sarah. You still gotta take it easy, but things get less complicated at least. Now all you need is rest and patience.

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