Three Things Thursday – Advice Needed

1.  I’ve seen so many posts recently by people already picking out their 2011 races.  SHEESH!  I know these things sell out fast these days, but I don’t even know what I want for dinner tonight and I’m expected to know where and how far I want to run a year from now?  But I guess I better get on it.  While I’m at it I guess I’ll go ahead and schedule 2012’s teeth cleanings and 2022’s mammogram.

2.  I have quit physical therapy.  After last Saturday’s attempt at a long run I knew that what they were doing just wasn’t cutting it and stopped everything they had told me to do.  I brought all this up at Monday’s appointment, and they basically told me that they didn’t have anything else to offer me.  They agreed that I should stop what they had started me on since it was making it worse and offered to continue the ultrasound therapy.  I’m not paying a $20 copay for 10 minutes worth of ultrasound, so I guess that’s that.  I have gone back to the very agressive IT band massages and extreme foam rolling, and on Tuesday night I ran 6 miles at a very tolerable pain level.  It was sore afterwards, but by today, after another couple of days of MY version of PT, it feels completely normal.  I didn’t run yesterday, so we will see what it feels like after I run this afternoon.

3.  This weekend is supposed to be my 20 miler.  I don’t feel like I have run enough lately to tackle 20 in two days.  My long runs in reverse order have been 2, 13.1, 14, and 18 with sporadic midweek runs as pain would allow.  Here’s where the advice comes in.  Should I suck it up and push for 20 and start my taper (even though I don’t even have high weekly mileage to really taper down from)?  Or should I shoot for 15 or 16 and go for 20 next week with a two-week taper?  Either way, I plan to continue babying the knee by keeping everything slow and on the least hilly routes I can find.

Emotional Roller Coaster

I love running.

I hate running.

I’m ready for Vegas.

I’ll never make it to the start line.

After last Saturday’s half marathon, I was feeling great.  The after effects of a new PR, no doubt.  But it didn’t take long for the pain to set in.  I expected it, so I wasn’t too worried about it.  The knee always hurts after a long run.  No surprise there.  In a way I thought it might be a good thing for the sports doc to see me when it’s painful.

So come Monday I went in for the MRI and followed up immediately with the Dr. Sports Dude for the results about an hour later.  The results were the best I could hope for.  Nothing was torn or ruptured or anything.  Nothing structurally wrong with the knee whatsoever.  He diagnosed it as IT band syndrome and gave me a prescription for PT and sent me on my merry way. 

I set up the appointment to begin PT the very next day.  The therapist said that in addition to my tight IT band, my inner quads muscle (the VMO for those familiar) was weak.  The tightness on the outside of the leg combined with the weakness on the inside of the leg is allowing the kneecap to be pulled out of alignment, thus causing my knee pain.  Her plan of action was to stretch the IT band, strengthen the VMO, and do ultrasound therapy on the knee.  And that’s what we’ve done three times this week, plus the at-home stuff she has told me to do on my own.  I’ve been a good little girl all week long.  I rested it (didn’t run a step), did all my stretches and exercises and then some, and have taken probably more anti-inflammatories than I’m supposed to.  And when I was there yesterday, they put Kinesio tape on it to help with my long run today.

My long run.

My 2.27-mile long run.

I’m a pretty tough cookie.  I’m pretty good at tuning out the pain.  But when it feels like your kneecap is being ripped through the skin with every bend of the leg… THAT’s kind of hard to ignore.  By mile 2, I knew that 15 wasn’t going to happen today, so I turned and headed a different direction instead of doing the out-and-back that I had planned.  A quarter of a mile later I was done.  It was unbearable.

So here I sit.  Typing this.  Still in my running clothes because I didn’t even have a chance to break a sweat in them.  Foot propped up on a foot stool because it hurts to sit with my leg bent and my foot on the floor.  An ice pack on my knee trying to dull the pain.  Wondering if I’ll ever see the finish line in Vegas.  Wondering if I’ll ever see the START line in Vegas.  Wondering if noon is too early to start drinking…