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…

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Still Truckin’

As incredible as the 18 miles went last Saturday, so was the pain that followed.  I did everything I was supposed to do after the run–ice, ibuprofen, stretched, and rolled–but it didn’t keep the pain at bay.  We and some friends went that night to the Bell Witch Cave (a HUGE flop, by the way!!!  Not at all what we expected!) and that involved quite a bit of walking.  I hobbled along, wincing with every step.  By Sunday, after a few rounds of ice and 3200 mg of ibuprofen, I was fine.

As I’d mentioned before, I had an appointment scheduled with the sports doc on Wednesday.  I decided to go to the chiropractor the day before that just to see if he could throw anything else in there.  I love my chiropractor.  He’s a Boston-qualifying runner, and he’s injured everything imaginable, so he knows.  He did say my hips and low back were out of alignment, so he twisted and contorted my body into all sorts of interesting positions.  He also said I had a little bit of a patellar tracking issue and sent me home with a different knee strap.  I had bought this one at Walgreens, but he told me I needed one more like this with the V-groove.  I tried it on a five-miler, and I had to take it off by mile 2.  It made it hurt worse.  I tried it looser, tighter, pulled to the left, pulled to the right.  It just freakin’ hurt, and I NEVER hurt by mile 2.

The sports orthopedist really didn’t have much to say Wednesday.  There are no problems in the joint that he can feel on physical exam.  He said it feels like a good, healthy knee to him.  But he ordered an MRI for November the 1st so he can see what’s going on behind the kneecap where the pain is.

In a nutshell, I’ve been to two doctors, paid two copays, and bought two knee braces, and I know nothing more than I’ve known all along.

But nobody said to stop running, so running I am!  Although those five miles were the only five miles I ran last week until Saturday, when I ran my scheduled 14, but we won’t get into all that… haha

But those 14!  Although it was not a successful run pace-wise, they were the most ENJOYABLE 14 miles I’ve run yet!  Vegas Marathon Buddy was in town for the weekend and we got to run together.  This was the first and last time we will run together before the marathon.  I think we learned a valuable lesson Saturday.  Talking while running takes a LOT of energy.  Come December 5th, we may have to just SHUT UP AND RUN!   lol

I’ve got a half marathon on the agenda for this coming Saturday.  I’m not gonna go completely balls out, but I do want to get a healthy PR out of it.  This is the same course that I ran as my very first HM a year ago, so I’m kinda excited to see what kind of time I end up with.

Unplanned Rest Day

I mentioned that my knee was sore after my 16 miles Saturday.  A little ibuprofen and by Sunday afternoon it was good as new.

Tuesday afternoon called for 4 miles.  It was cool and I was feeling good, so I decided to kind of push the tempo a bit and see what I could do.  The run was great!  I felt really good while running and set a new 4-mile personal best by quite a bit!  But then later that night that pain came back.  I had talked with a couple of folks and done some research on my own and thought it sounded like runner’s knee.  I bought a knee strap to wear for Wednesday’s 8 miles.  I couldn’t tell it helped whatsoever.  I kept stopping and adjusting it, loosening it, tightening it, raising it, lowering it… I couldn’t find that sweet spot to make it stop hurting.  But the pain still wasn’t bad so I kept going.

I’ve gotta say I didn’t have the postrun pain nearly as bad though.  So maybe the strap did do something.

HOWEVER!

Today, the outside of my knee (the same one) and upper half of my shin REALLY hurt.  Even when I’m just sitting still it’s just a dull pain with occasional stabbing pain.  Needless to say I will not be running the 5 miles that my schedule calls for tonight.  Instead I will be icing and massaging and stretching.

I called today to get an appointment with a sports doctor.  I called a couple of clinics, and the soonest any of their doctors can get me in is the 20th.  Maybe it’ll be better by then and I can cancel.  Or maybe I’ll have blown my leg completely out by then.  Who knows?  In the meantime I’m gonna just try to play it smart.  I’m hoping I’ll at least be able to get my long run in Saturday.  It’s a step-back week, so it’s only 12 miles.

Here’s hoping.