I’ve been gradually working on building my mileage with the hopes that I’d be running the half marathon in May and literally had a lot of ground to cover since I wasn’t able to run for the remainder of 2006 after I had my surgery. January started off slow for various reasons and the first half of February I kept it mostly indoors because of the weather and then mid-February I started increasing my runs from 5km, except the first week I increased I did too much, going from 5km to 6.6km when you’re only supposed to go up 10% each week. I couldn’t help it though, it was just so easy to keep going and I didn’t want to stop. I paid for it that week and that’s quite possibly the week that I might have messed up my knee beyond repair. My knee kept getting worse in the past month or so and yet, I kept running on it – and paying for it after the runs with ice and advil.
Almost three weeks ago I went out for what would be my last long run, hitting the 9km mark on a beautiful mild afternoon when I was in Halifax. The terrain had more hills than I was used to, and I powered up them fairly easily and just kept going, but it also had a lot of downward hills and as I went down them I noticed the pain in my knee was worse then when I went up. I realize now that I should have stopped then, especially when my mother drove past my brother and I to make sure we were okay but no, I stubbornly kept going. By the time I finished the run I was limping along and NOT in a good mood. And as much as it killed me, I decided to stay off my knee as much as I could – rested for a couple of weeks and then, feeling the pain had subsided enough, tried the treadmill at work and managed only a mile. The very next day, I conceded to being hurt and made an appointment to see a friend’s chiropractor. I went to see Dr. Joe yesterday.
And I have runner’s knee.
And as pissed off as I am that I’m dealing with a sport injury, there’s a part of me that’s secretly a little proud to have runner’s knee because that means I’m hard core right? I mean, a sports injury is for people that are TOUGH. Or for people that are stupid. I’ll concede to being stupid but I cling to tough at well. Because I ran up that Beaver Bank hill and once I hit the top, I kept going for another 7km. Anyhow, back to the sports injury.
The reason for the pain in my knee is that its slipping out of position when I’m running (and going down stairs – which explains why downhill is a nightmare), and the reason that it’s slipping out of position is being caused by a weak IT band but also because my right hip is much weaker then my left, so when I run, I’m turning my knee inwards which is putting a strain on my already weak IT band. There’s also the problem with my arches, which are starting to weaken because of my running which means I need custom orthotics to wear inside my sneakers.
Dr. Joe is going to treat my knee as aggressively as possibly, doing active release therapy (which breaks down the scar tissue) and then showing me exercises that I need to do in between my treatments. He said my knee is definitely fixable and a very common ailment (for runners and athletes and the like 😉 and, after just half a treatment yesterday, we were both surprised by the difference it made – him when he had me balance and squat on my right leg, me when I went to Body Pump this morning and there was no pain when I did the squat or lunge track. Or on lunch when I couldn’t resist the mild, mild day when I threw on a pair of shorts for the first time this year and ventured out with Rebecca for a short run. Last Saturday when I went out I had to stop after 1.8km because the pain set in too fast and today we managed 2.25km and I stopped JUST as my knee was twinging. DEFINITE progress.
When I asked Dr. Joe about the half marathon he suggested I hold off on registering for it until we see how I respond to treatment and while part of me was hugely disappointed that I won’t be running alongside AL for those 20+km, I also know that I have to be smart and take care of myself and not push it – if only because I’ve got lots of ground that I still need to cover with this bum knee of mine.