Friday, March 15, 2013

Negative Nancy. Again.

Today has been a terrible day.  And I've only been awake for 45 minutes (as of 9:15pm when I started writing this).  *Great*.

I woke up at 8:30pm and my knee was still hurting from the day before.  Fail #1.  More on that in a minute.

I had a couple options for what to do at this point.  The NCRB pool closes at 10pm, so I could go straight there to get in an hour swim.  However, my goggles kill me and ruin the whole workout, so I wanted to get a new pair.  I shopped online yesterday but ultimately decided I should go back to Dunham's so I could open them up and try them on to make sure they won't hurt.  I was going to go around 11:30am yesterday but I ended up waiting for Jeff to get lunch with me instead.  Dunham's closes at 9:30pm, so I had just enough time to get there and get a pair before they closed.  Then I could swim with comfy goggles at 6am (CCRB) or 7am (NCRB).  I decided that would be the better option.  I headed out and made it about halfway there when I realized I left my wallet at home in my coat pocket.   There wouldn't be time for me to go back and get it, get to the store, and have time to shop before they closed.  Fail #2.  Now I'll have to go swim in the morning with painful goggles, and then go shopping for goggles after.  Not ideal.

At least I had time for Subway.  They close at 10pm.  I got there and put in my usual order.  The problem is that I go there so much that most of the staff know me.  Three of the guys always give me free stuff.  Today that meant an extra slice of cheese on sub, and FIVE cookies when I only paid for two.  Geez.  Part of the problem is that I go there so close to closing time, so it's not like they need to save the cookies for the next customer.  They all go in the trash or home with the staff if they don't get sold.  This particular person apparently doesn't like the cookies.  Damnit.  Fail #3.  The guy was super nice and I didn't want to be ungrateful and make him put it all back, so I took them all, but I knew I wouldn't be able to NOT eat them.  Subway cookies are like the most amazing thing in the world.  Jeff was home, and even though I asked him in advance if he wanted me to bring him any cookies back and he said no, he still wanted them when he found out I had five.  I was kinda ticked because at that point I had already mentally committed to eating them all, but I gave him two and I'm glad I "only" ate three.  That brought my dinner total to 1000 calories, but that's better than the 1400 it would have been if I had eaten all five, and still salvageable for the day.  I won't be hungry for a while.

Back to the knee.

The main thing that's got me in a foul mood again is this IT band pain.  It's just not getting any better.  Well, it's getting *different*, but I'm pretty sure it's not *good* different.  It used to be just on the bottom/outside of my knee, but now it burns kind of all the way up the side, to a couple inches above my knee.  I haven't really felt it in the original spot in a while.

It's March 15th.  Do you know how many miles I have run so far this month?  10.6 miles.  8 of those miles were on March 1st, so that's 2.6 miles in the past 2 weeks.  And for what?  Certainly not for any kind of improvement.  So yeah, I'm frustrated.

I guess it's my choice of non-running activities that have prevented improvement.  Yesterday, I did 45 minutes on the elliptical, then 15 minutes of PT/rehab exercises, then an hour workout video a few hours later.  I'm pretty sure it was the elliptical that did me in.  I couldn't figure out how to get the incline below 5, so I was doing an usual high-knee type motion on it for 90% of the workout.  As it turns out, I had selected a workout program, and that allowed me to change the resistance, but I couldn't drop the incline below the set level.  When I was basically done, I realized the problem and was able to get it to 0 incline when I changed it to manual mode.  Fail.  Still, it didn't hurt at all when I was doing it, so I didn't know I had a problem.   But when I was doing one of the strength exercises from PT it was hurting, and that's never happened before on that exercise, so it must have been the elliptical.

There was also all kinds of unusual noise coming from my right side last night.  When I was doing a "clamshell" exercise with the thera-band, something kept making a noise in the area of my hip.  Not my usual hip-popping sound, but more of a snapping I guess.  Then my knee was clicking away when I was doing lunges in my workout video.  Not my usual "one-pop" and then done, but repeated clicking which each one.  Neither of those hurt, but I'm pretty sure those noises don't belong!


I've also read a few anecdotes of the elliptical causing worse pain than running in people with ITBS, and of primary elliptical users actually developing ITBS from that alone.   Still, there are more reports of runners successfully using the elliptical and cycling as cross-training with ITBS than not.  I did learn that hard spinning hurt my knee for sure (it actually hurt DURING the class a few weeks ago), so I'm not trying that again.

But, I LIKE the elliptical.  It is so much easier to simulate running workouts on the elliptical than it is aqua jogging or swimming.  And I can listen to my music and use all my fancy equipment (heart rate monitor) just like running.
Heart rate from yesterday's elliptical workout.  I kind of did a fartlek on the elliptical.  It was like intervals but without a plan at all.  I'm happy with the heart rate. 



I was willing to give the elliptical another go, but without the incline, but I have been working so hard to keep on an exercise regimen to maintain running fitness and to do all the things I can to get this thing healed (stretching, strength exercises, foam rolling, icing, aleve, not running) and it's not improving at all.  I think it's all making it worse.  I'm thinking I should just take a "hands-off" approach, and let my body fix it on it's own.

I found this yesterday:

"Running and any other potentially exacerbating activity such as cycling should be avoided to reduce the repetitive mechanical stress at the lateral femoral condyle.  Swimming (using only the arms) with a pool buoy between the legs is usually the only activity permitted during the acute phase."
(From Quick Solutions for IliotibialBand Syndrome, Fredericson, MD; Guillet, PT, ATC; and DeBenedictis, MS, CMT. The Physician and Sports Medicine. Vol 28. No 2.  Feb 2000)


It's so hard, because I don't want to do anything stupid and make it worse, but I also don't want to set my running back anymore than I absolutely have to.  I've already been doing what I thought was a smart balance for two weeks (more, if you count the 3 days rest I took back in February), and I have nothing to show for it.

Now my time is up.  It's Friday, and the Shamrock & Roll 10K is Sunday, which I'm already registered for, and Rock CF Half-Marathon is one week after that, which I'm also registered for.  That's it for the things I've committed to (paid for), but the Martian is 3 weeks after Rock CF, and I was planning on doing that.  I did just let the price increase go by yesterday, until I know what I'm going to do.

So, my first decision is whether should I do either, neither, or both of the races I've registered for?  I have no real emotional commitment to the 10K, other than that I want that stupid Triple Crown medal at the end of the year, and I've already paid for it (very expensive for a 10K).  I could walk the 10K and still get a medal for the race and be eligible for the Triple Crown.  I could transfer to the 5K and still be eligible for the Triple Crown medal, but wouldn't get a medal for the Shamrock & Roll.  There are benefits to that plan, since I'm not exactly sure that I can even walk 6.2 miles without being in pain and making my knee worse, but I'm pretty sure I can do 3.1.  It's not like I don't have enough medals anyway.
There are two more since this was taken. 


If I'm being honest, I haven't completely ruled out racing the 10K either.  I'm basically at a Fukitol point here.  I'm seriously considering just ignoring the knee and getting back to running.  OR, forgetting trying to maintain fitness and just taking complete rest until it's better.  As in, on the couch.  As for the Rock CF Half... I probably won't do it all.  That was my target race that I've been training for for a PR, and that's out the window.  Even if I'm pain-free by then, I won't have had much, if any, test running to know if I can go the distance.  I'd rather have a DNS than DNF.  Plus, I'm not confident in my ability to stop the race if the pain gets too bad, there's a good chance I would just keep going and end up setting myself back.  With all the half's I had planned for this year, there is plenty of time to race for a PR when I'm ready and know I can finish, as long as I don't ruin anything being stupid and trying to race a half right now.  We'll see, but I think it's probably a good idea to skip that one.  Sucks that I paid for it already, but oh well.  

I ordered an IT band strap to try, it should get here this afternoon.  I had originally decided back when this started that I was not going to band-aid this thing.  I don't want to be one of those runners that has to put on two knee braces and a roll of KT-tape before a 3 mile easy run.  I'm a big fan of fixing problems, not just covering them up.  BUT, considering that things like the elliptical and walking at work seem to be irritating my ITB and preventing healing, I'm willing to give it a shot to see if it can help let it rest, even if I just wear it at work.  And maybe get me through this one race this weekend.  If it even helps at all.  It might not even make a difference. 


Races aside, I guess I'm planning on sticking with "smart".  (Or what I hope is smart)  I'm going to drop all lower body stuff completely.  Basically completely "hands-off" the injury,  including dropping my PT exercises, stretching, and foam rolling.   I'll do upper body swimming with a pool buoy between my legs, upper body weight lifting, and core exercises only.  This is basically following the protocol from the article I posted the other day.  Then when I'm feeling completely "normal" in daily activities (ie walking at work), I'll add stretching and foam rolling back.  After a week (?) with that, I'll add the strengthening exercises back in, and probably get back to the elliptical and the workout videos.  And then start gently in with running after at least a week of strengthening, and when I can do all the exercises pain-free.  

At least that's what I'm saying I'm going to do.  Who knows what will actually happen.  I may become impatient and do some test runs sooner than planned if it starts feeling normal.  I'll try not to.     

And I still may bust out a race or two, consequences be damned.  Especially if that strap ends up being a miracle pain-reliever.  

I know I went back and forth and contradicted myself at least fifteen times in this post.  I don't care.  And I know I'm whining.  I also don't care.  

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