Monday, March 4, 2013

Unrequited Love

Don't worry Jeff, this isn't about you.  No divorce papers.  Yet.

No, this is about me.  And Running.

From the all-knowing Wikipedia : "Unrequited love is love that is not openly reciprocated or understood as such. The beloved may or may not be aware of the admirer's deep and strong romantic affections. The Merriam Webster Online Dictionary defines unrequited as "not reciprocated or returned in kind." 

I love Running, but I'm pretty sure Running hates me.  I want to be one of those people who can run and run and run and not get hurt.  But I can't.  I have even been diligent about strength training since the marathon in October, dropped my mileage afterward and ramped back up slowly.  And yet, here I am.

I am benched.  Down for the count.  On the injured list.

 I haven't talked about it a lot on here (because when you ignore a problem, it doesn't exist!) but here's the story:

In late January, I started noticing mild pain on the outside of my right knee after long runs.  It would go away with a recovery run followed by stretching, ibuprofen and maybe ice.  It never hurt when I ran.  Then, February 9th, after my long run, it wouldn't go away with the usual strategies after a couple days, and it was even hurting doing normal things, like walking around at work, or picking my right knee up to put on pants.  (Damn you, pants).  So, I got a referral for PT and took a few days off running.  (Three I think.)  Problem solved.  Pain went away, and I was able to run pain-free at the Ice Cube Half on 2/16.  I've been going to PT 2x per week since then (except last week, I only went once), and doing all the prescribed exercises religiously, as well as loading up on Aleve and icing at least once per day.  But last week it came back again, only worse.  I preemptively downed my planned Saturday mileage from 14 to 10-12, and told myself I would stop sooner if it started hurting.  Well, it did.  I stopped at about 8 miles, but it had been hurting since long before that, but I didn't want to call Jeff for a pickup so I shorted the route and headed home as soon as I could.

So now I'm resting again.  No running...until... I don't know.  One week?  Two weeks? I'm definitely planning on skipping my long run entirely this Saturday.  I haven't actually skipped a long run yet (except this past weekends reduction to 8 miles), so I'm hoping that will help a lot.  I plan to try to do my 10 miler the following Saturday, if the pain has stopped.  In the meantime, this sucks.

I've been doing lots of strength training (workout videos, and exercises from PT, and from the internet), but I'm still trying to figure out what to do for cardiovascular exercise to maintain my fitness.  I tried spinning last week, but that hurt my knee too, so that's out.  After I did pilates today I decided to take the dogs for a walk, and THAT even had me hurting after 20 minutes. Sheesh.   (And my nose, toes, and hands were burning from the cold-- apparently I'm not used to dressing for walking.  And I had to stop 4 times for dog poop cleanup.  No fun.)

Oh, apparently it's my IT band, in case you were wondering.  This is my third separate knee "injury" and my 3rd distinct diagnosis.  (Runner's knee 2006, Hoffa's syndrome 2009, now ITBS 2013.  Yay me.  I don't recall if they were all on the same side or not.)  Oh and there's that hamstring tendinopathy that's been plaguing me since March of 2012.    That means this month is our anniversary.  How sweet.  (Incidentally, St. Patrick's Day is also Jeff's and my 4th wedding anniversary.)

Jeff's parents were going to junk their elliptical machine, so we went and picked that up yesterday.  Perfect timing.  It's still out in their SUV in our driveway, so we'll set up today and I'll try it out tonight. I really hope that doesn't hurt.  Even if it doesn't though, it's an older model and not exactly a smooth ride, so I don't know how much I'll be able to use it.  Ideally I'd like to simulate my planned running workouts on it, (ie match time for time and do intervals, tempo, easy, or long run effort, as outlined in my training plan.).  If it's too clunky I may end up biting the bullet and getting a temporary gym membership.  I have a treadmill, a stationary bike, a pending elliptical machine, multiple therabands and attachments, free weights, and an extremely large collection of workout DVDs, so getting a gym membership seems silly, but if I have to do it I will.

 A messy shot of my home gym.  Not shown: pull-up bar, therabands, elliptical machine (not set up yet). 

And, my most recent batch of workout DVDs.  Reviews pending on these.  In addition to these, I probably have, I don't know 35 or more additional workout DVDs, although I don't like and use all of them.   (Also: Like my slippers??)

I don't know which one though.  Anytime Fitness is the closest to me, and their hours work best for me (2am workouts on my nights off, woo-hoo!), AND they're probably cheapest, but they don't have a pool, and I'm thinking that a pool may be a good option, either for swimming or aqua-jogging.  Mack Indoor pool has drop-in swimming for $5 a swim, or I could buy a pass for $75 for now through May 23rd, but the only hours they have that really work for me are Tuesdays and Thursdays 7-8:30pm and that doesn't really seem worth it.  So, I think my best option is probably the NCRB.  It's only a mile from my house, and it has cardio and strength equipment and a pool with better hours (7am-11pm).
NCRB Pool 

It would cost me $60 for one month, or $45 a month for 3 months.  I guess I'll wait and see how I'm feeling after this week.  Tomorrow I have a PT appointment at the Running Institute, so I can use their elliptical, and I can make another appointment for Thursday, and maybe hit the Alter G if they have times available.

Alter G Treadmill.  Honestly I didn't really like running on it. It's weird and you have to wear like neoprene shorts or something.  

As for PT, I'm going to be careful with what I let them do to me this week.  I'm all for stretching and strengthening, icing, and maybe even ultrasound, but when they get into the deep manipulation it kind of makes me nervous (I'm even a little leery of the foam roller...based on the research I've read).  It really hurt last week when he was digging into my knee with his thumbs really hard, then the next day my knee felt off even just standing and walking (before I had even done any activity on it since PT) and ever since then is when the pain started back up with running.  I guess that's one way to keep business alive.   ;)

I alternate between being angry at not being able to run, and being okay with it, and glad to have the time to really focus on strength and general fitness.  When I come back, I may go back to the "Run Less, Run Faster"/FIRST model of training, with just 3 quality runs per week, and the rest cross-training and strength workouts.  Maybe my body just isn't cut out for being a "real" runner, as much as I'd like to be.  Really, part of the reason I like running so much is because I'm lazy.  I can just zone out and head out the door and burn a ton of calories without really being miserable at all.  (Speed workouts are the exception of course, but even that is for a greater purpose, and hence easier to push through.  PR here I come!!)  Strength training, and workout videos on the other hand, hurt.  I am so freaking sore right now.  And man, do they burn when you're doing them.   And yet, I burn way less calories than I would running for the same amount of time.  More pain, less gain.  WTF.  It's a good thing I started counting calories again a week or so ago, otherwise this no running thing could get really on the scale.  As it stands, I'm hoping to actually lose a few while not running, since I won't have those "Oh I just ran 10 miles I deserve a treat" feelings, or simply the increased hunger from the higher calorie burn each day.  As long as I'm logging my food and exercise and adjusting for the not running, it shouldn't be an issue.  It's just not fun.  :)  My main concern right now is finding a cardio workout to prevent me from losing fitness while I ride this thing out.

As for where this leaves me with my 13 x 13.1 in '13....  I don't know.  I had picked out all my race dates, and most of races, save for a few weekends where I hadn't narrowed down the options completely yet.  (You can see the list by viewing my Races page).  As of now, I'm "planning" on being back at it in time to run the Shamrock & Roll 10K March 17th and the Rock CF half March 24th, although my plans to PR at both are likely out the window.  If I can't race, there's still time to get in 13 in 13, but I'll have to beef up the schedule quite a bit the back half the year.  Time will tell.

Speaking of 13 in 13, I owe credit to two people for the inspiration on this.  My friend Rick from the A2Runners meetup group is doing one half marathon a month this year, and another blogger I recent started reading, "Back of the Stampede", is doing a 13 in '13 half marathon challenge as well.  So thanks to you both for planting the seed.  Here's hoping it doesn't die after a measly two races for me.  *Sigh*


  1. I have had IT Band issues. Foam roller, strength workouts and yoga seems to help. Foam roller mostly. Hurts like a bitch. Bite the bullet and buy the TP Therapy one instead of your homemade one. I foam before and after runs. I also do it one extra time at night(since I run mornings). I even do it when it does not bother me. When it does, I some times do it two extra times per day - when I get home from work as well.

  2. Bummer about your knee . It never fails that when you have a goal in sight your body betrays you. Hang in there, do what feels right and hopefully you will have an amazing recovery that will allow you to complete your 13 in 13 challenge. Thanks for the shout out!


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