Monday, May 24, 2010

Slacking off

“Our nature consist in motion; complete rest is death.”

**Blaise Pascal**

       What a crazy month I have been through! So many changes. We have been adjusting to Hubby being home from Afghanistan, jumping through the many hoops it takes to transfer overseas, packed up all of our oldest child’s belongings and hauled them to her new apartment in Florida. Finished the arrangements and attended her wedding, and then beat feet back to Virginia to get our youngest to final rehearsals and performance for the end of the year in Orchestra. Needless to say, running has not been on the top of my list.

      Between recovering from the marathon in March, the ultra in April, and the wedding trip in May, my training miles have been way too limited and my miles per week average has slipped frustratingly low. The stumble, and plain old miles, at Sandy Bottom got to my knee which has also worked to limit my mileage. It has been wildly frustrating to actually have some time to run here and there, and desperately needing it mentally, only to get cut short by a sore knee. In 3 years of running, this is my first knee issue so I was starting from scratch with my research, having never paid attention to complaints about ITBS or runner’s knee.

       I bought a foam roller, which turned out to be one of the most painful exercises I have ever tried. Learned the appropriate yoga poses, added more stretches to my routine (and actually did them), iced, rested, and got back to doing squats. Nothing seemed to help at all. My knee stayed the same level of sore no matter what. Running or not running didn’t seem to matter much, although I did discover running fast was better than running slow, so I did intervals and fartleks. Once in a while my knee would feel a little unstable, like the tendons and ligaments were sloppy, so I played very close attention to form and made sure I didn’t get lax or lose focus.

      I don’t know what finally broke the dam, but I woke up Friday morning with no knee pain at all after running two days in a row through soreness, (not sharp pain, just tenderness.) I took a rest day and ran 7 miles on Saturday and 4 more on Sunday. Finally! A 20 mile week! My knee is so much better. I’m not sure if it is the foam roller, squats, stretches, or what, but I will keep doing them all! I have to admit, I had become very flaky about stretching and wanted very much to believe it didn’t make a difference to injury, but I know now that stretching is going to be a key part of my fitness routine. I suppose there are people out there that are naturally flexible and can get away with never stretching, but I’m definitely not one of them.

       Today is another rest day, but I am looking forward to tomorrow’s run. My goal is 5 miles, aerobic pace, and enjoyable. I think the break from running has been beneficial to me mentally. Although I craved running, I was a little burned out after the ultra and needed to find the joy in it again. If all goes as planned, I will start marathon training again in July for a November marathon in Korea. But then, nothing every goes off as planned in my life…..


C. Beth said...

How encouraging to hear how well your knee is doing now!

I started running 7 months ago and after about 3 months got ITBS. Thankfully got good advice from an Ironman friend; she steered me toward the foam roller. I (literally) had natural childbirth flashbacks the first few times I used it. But it (along with specific stretches) WORKED! Got past it quickly.

Recently as I've been upping my mileage (not high, but gradually getting higher) I started having that "looseness" you described, some soreness, and some occasional "twinges." Runner's knee stuff, plus ITBS on the other side. I've started doing specific hip, quad, and hamstring exercises because I got some feedback that it was a strength issue for me. And I'm spending even more quality time with the foam roller because I know I'd gotten some tightness again.

At this point I think my legs are trying to adjust to the fact that I'm doing a LOT more strength training on them than usual. But my knees are definitely starting to feel more stable. I hope this is working! I'm being careful about my mileage for now as I get past this.

Wow, that ended up being long and rambling. Thank you for your encouraging post! Looking forward to my knee issues being in the PAST!

Sarah said... have been busy!!! Congrats to your the pic!

runrgrl2007 said...

I know that there has been a lack of milage but you sure are not slacking off. You have been the busiest woman I know. Glad the wedding was great and the dress turned out beautifully! Your awesome!