Monday, January 30, 2012

Wishing I had better knees ...

A friend from high school recently posted on FB that she had read my posts about running and was surprised by them, since the last time she and I spoke I had stopped running after a 4-mile race (held here annually, very popular) due to a knee issue.  I had forgotten just how painful that knee issue was until she mentioned it, but as I looked back this weekend over my training log, I often see this in the "Aches/Pains" box:  LK.  Left knee pain. 

During the training for my first of those 4-mile races, over 10 years ago now [by the way, I did not consider myself a "runner" during any of the four 4-mile races in which I participated--I would train for the race, run it, then stop--completely--and not run again for months or even years], I developed this excruciating knee pain.  I went to an orthopaedist who gave me a really fancy name for the cause, which I of course do not remember, but the bottom line is that some tendon or ligament or other non-bone thing that is supposed to run straight down my leg actually shifted off of the "track" it was supposed to be on.  This was most likely caused by carrying around too much weight (my first two pregnancies put me in the "small cow" range on the weight chart).  He advised me to avoid certain exercises like squats and lunges (which I continue to do today, thank you very much!), to avoid running (oh well), and to stick with biking and swimming (like to bike, can't swim).

Oh, and here's the kicker (and I try not to get all "het up" over this comment).  When I asked if there was anything he could do to resolve the problem, he said, "No.  Now, if you were a real athlete ...."  He offered to give me a cortisone shot to get through the race, but I decided to just tough it out.  Kinda wish now that I had pushed back on that whole "real athlete" thing, but I get his point--if I'm not going to run for anything more than general health purposes, it probably isn't worth the risk, expense, recovery time, etc.  I get it, really I do, but on some level I wish that I had said, "But I want to be able to run, do squats, do lunges, without pain!"

Most days my knee does not hurt.  And in fact, usually if it is hurting at the beginning of a run, it will let up as I warm up and get into a good rhythm.  It will NOT stop me.  However, today I'm feeling it, and my morning run was what I call "rimpmilling"--running and limping on the treadmill.  It has its own sound--slap (right foot hitting the treadmill), thud (left foot hitting), slap, thud, slap, thud ....  Sigh ....

Hope you all are injury free!  Happy running!

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