Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Last Six Months

So about that running...

If you remember, I experienced a right knee issue at the end of October right before my goal marathon in November.  The marathon went well enough and I earned a new PR to cap off five months of high mileage and intense training.  Sometime in mid-November I started experiencing a tightness at the top insertion of my right adductor.  I was told that my right knee pain had been caused by a tight adductor so I figured this was just the top part of the muscle acting up. I did cut back a little but continued to run another few weeks until we went on our honeymoon.  I had Goofy coming up and needed to keep up some sort of base.  I figured I would scale back during the honeymoon and hopefully things would clear up then.

We took a cruise down in Australia and New Zealand for our honeymoon.  I did three runs on the treadmill (have you ever run on a treadmill out on the open sea?  I felt like I was running up and down hills even though the thing was set on 2%) but the pain was only getting worse and I decided to not run the rest of the honeymoon.  That was easy enough mentally.

I did break my little "no running during the honeymoon"rest period for three things:

1)  I ran up the steepest street in the world in Dunedin.  If you ever want to feel like you are pushing the last 0.1 miles to the finish of 5K while moving at a slug's pace this is how to achieve that.  The thing was about 0.25 mi long and we took 4 breaks.

Baldwin Street

Heading up!

Hard to capture in photos, but this sucker was steep.
2)  I ran for about 20 steps in Tasmania just so I could say I ran in Tasmania.  It counts.


3)  We started and ended our cruise at Circular Quay in Sydney.  We got to utilize our ship as a hotel the last night.  We woke up early to do a run from the ship through The Rocks and up and over the Sydney Harbour Bridge.  About 2.5 miles if I remember correctly.

Our ship, Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.  No better "hotel" location than this!  The views at night were spectacular.

Views from the bridge

Pedestrian path on the bridge

When we arrived home I started back up again even though the thing was still tight so I could have some sort of mileage going into Goofy.  I didn't run much at all considering what I had coming up and then merely survived those races.

After that I took some time off and started back up again fairly slowly.  I got to the point I could run with minimal tightness but post-run it would tighten up.  Yoga would usually set it right and I figured with enough damage control I could keep running.  Through this all I was getting massages, going to my chiropractor, doing Bikram yoga 4x a week, and doing physical therapy.  I was just starting to get back into some speed work and was still feeling doable. Things were looking up.

Then the area right above my left knee started to hurt.  It started up slowly enough and I only felt it during yoga.  I had still not learned the lesson of catching something early.  I didn't ice it. I didn't stretch it more than usual.  Boo on me.  I told my chiropractor about it only when I started to feel it niggle a little while running.  I had it worked on and it completely blew up.  For a few days it would hurt when walking (it would sort of catch and I wouldn't be able to fully extend it).  I took two weeks off from running.  I went on a a short 2 mile test run after that and the results prompted me to take another two weeks off.

Mario gets some love while I work on the tight spots.

I got the green light to start up again and my left knee was feeling better. But even after 4 weeks off with lots of damage control for it, my right adductor was still feeling tight.  I did a few short runs that week.

I recently began working with a personal trainer.  She specializes in corrective exercise for injury and basically targets what my physical therapist was but in much more challenging and dynamic ways.  She asked me to take another two weeks off from running while we started and that is where we are now.

I have to say, I am actually enjoying working with a trainer.  I just show up and she thinks for me.  She tells me what to do, she tells me how to do it, she tells me when to start, and she tells me when to stop.  She challenges me to do things I never would have tried.  She is also working on my upper body strength which I have always known was non-existent.  I work up a sweat and get my heart rate up and that feels good.  I am not sure how I will incorporate this down the road, but I am going to stick with it for a bit and see if and how it helps me.

So we're almost up to 6 weeks of pretty much not running save a few 2 mile runs scattered here and there. To say I am in a bit of a mental funk over this is an understatement.  I am starting to feel like I will never run high quality again.  I realized the other day I have been injured since October.  O.C.T.O.B.E.R.  Yeah.  My left knee is not 100% but I can tell from how it feels in yoga it is almost there.  My right adductor issue still feels tight every now and then but overall seems to have improved in the last two weeks, especially.  I am not terribly optimistic it won't tighten up again when I start up running in a few days but my fingers are crossed.

I have an appointment with a sports medicine doctor in a couple of weeks but may or may not pursue that depending on what happens next.  Frankly, short of saying I have some tumor growing up there, I doubt I will get any advice different from what I have already heard.  Take time off, stretch, ice, massage, strengthen weak muscles.  Pay big money to image exactly what is bugging me.  But it is the next weapon I have so I've gotten it ready.

And that is the "running" story over the last few months.  Not entirely happy but it is what it is.  Onward.

P.S.  My friend, Aron, wrote an amazing post about Boston that sums up what I wanted to say more eloquently than I could.  It is definitely worth a read if you haven't already.


naomi said...

I hadn't realize how long it's been since you've been dealing with these injuries. I really hope the work you're doing with your trainer helps resolves them. That being said, I almost fell off my chair when I learned about your trainer! :) Sounds like you've discovered how great it is to let someone else do all the thinking for you!

Rabbits' Guy said...

BL does all my thinking!

Heal up. Then run.

And then I think you will find it quite enjoyable to train up for a marathon again (or a half or whatever) since you have done it so often and know what works and how hard to push.

Oh that frustration and anxiety about not being able to get out there and run. It seems like you are just deteriorating into a jelly-blob. But you are not.

Good luck. (And, lucky Mario!)

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

I love the bit about running twenty steps just to say you ran inTasmania. So typical of runner thinking! I was in Chicago earlier this week, and just assumed the little map in my room was a running map, when of course it could've been for walking or some other tourist purpose. And on the plane, coming in low over a park? Those are running trails down there!

The world must be run. Get better!

Mr. Mick and Jade said...

Hee, love the look on Mario's face: "Fer gawd sakes, human, why d'ya have to mess with mah ears like that?"

Nagging injuries are annoying as all-get-out, especially when you're not sure what you did to yourself. I went to get out of my computer chair a while back, turned to the right to do so--and felt a searing pain in my back. Over time, though, I've determined that the problem is in my right hip, not my back, but I have no idea what the problem is or how to fix it. The right hip has always been a problem for me since I may or may not have popped it in and out of it socket while dancing as a teen, but in recent months I've been getting myself in shape and it seems that while I've regained flexibility there, I may be just a tad too flexible in that area. I also need to spend less time in my computer chair, since that seems to be the main aggravator.

Rabbits' Guy said...

PS - nice photos - what a trip!

Paulette said...

Sad to hear it has been so long, but also great that you are feeling a bit better and liking the training. I LOVE working with a trainer, although I haven't done it in a while. Exactly what you said, they think for you!

SF Road Warrior said...

Arrrgh...This kind of stuff is so frustrating. I think you are probably doing the right thing to work one-on-one with someone--when things have been bugging you for that long & not getting better, aggressive action is probably the way to go. Glad to hear the knee is getting better though?

I totally want to go run the steepest street in the world now! Weirdly, it sounds kind of awesome. Sounds like you had a fun trip. :)