My last post naively talked about my plans for the next few weeks, in preparation for the Ranscombe Spring Challenge. But as Reacher has said ‘Everyone has a plan until they are punched in the face’. A few days after my post I went out on a half marathon run and in the last few miles my knee began to play up. I should have stopped the moment things started to flare up but I wanted to believe it would settle down again as it had before, and I’m a stubborn git. So I kept running and even picked up the pace a bit in the last mile, (why I thought that would help I don’t know). I learnt three things from this however; 1) my fitness levels are not too bad considering all the lost training, 2) my knee still isn’t fixed, and 3) I’m a moron.
I knew things were knackered when I stopped and as I wandered a bit to cool down my knee was still sore just to walk on. Despite icing it, elevating it and taking some ibuprofen my knee was still painful the rest of the day. And when I got up the next day I was hobbling about like an old man. The walk to the station, and to work the other end, involved a lot of sweating, stopping and swearing. Things weren’t sorted at all and were now much worse. Humongous ballbags.
I decided to just forget about running for a while. Thankfully the pain eased and my knee was back to nearly normal after a few days (mercifully a lot quicker than when things initially went wrong over Christmas). I was worried I had pushed too hard and made something snap, but I’d got away with it. But I wasn’t going to be fooled again; I concentrated on FIFA, and eating new and exciting types of biscuits instead, to avoid having to deal with it all. That lasted a week, and I was out again the next weekend. I think I may have hit my head, hard, at some point in my life and no-one has told me…
Surprise, surprise after a few miles my knee started to twinge. This time I had been sensible and not gone too far and had the sense to stop and walk/jog the mile and a bit home. The fact it was lashing down with rain did not enhance the experience, nor help with the urge to smash something to bits with my bare hands. When the rain stopped, the winds lifted and the sun came out just as I stood dripping at my doorstep I was fairly convinced the world was against me. Much sulking followed.
I then tried to forget about running and my knee again. It’s been weird the last few weeks and months as there has been a bit of a hole which I used to fill with running, planning my running and thinking about running. It was only when I couldn’t do it and didn’t want to even think about it that I’ve noticed how much time I spent on it. My name is Adam and I’m a running geek. Who can’t run. Awesomes. It’s been especially frustrating as I was just beginning to feel like my running was coming on and I was starting to get close to moving up to Ultras after doing ok in my second proper marathon. Luckily we have had some stuff to do on the house to keep my busy and a long overdue house warming (only 15 months late) to get ready for or I would have been even grumpier.
But then with an idle five minutes before I left work last Thursday I decided to look on the interweb again for runner’s knee remedies. I found myself reading a description of knee pain that was caused by IT Band Syndrome rather than a tendon or patella tracking issue. Reading on the symptoms all matched with what I was going through. Shut the front door! How had I not come across this before? Why hadn’t I thought of it before (I knew about this!)? Why do people who walk really slowly in London, looking at the phones whilst wandering from side to side and getting in the way, not contract the plague? I’ve suffered from hip problems in the past and a tight right IT band too. And my lower back went in the lonely hours of the night some years ago and I needed to go to the out of hours doctors, so there’s an issue there…
(That was a fun night, I’d only just started going out with Claire, and what started as a dull ache got worse and worse until I was rolling around on her floor [literally] and we thought I had appendicitis or an exploding kidney. After a call to NHS Direct and an agonising cab trip to the hospital I got some pills and a lecture to stop panicking. But then once I took the pills I had a bad reaction to them and started being sick, which put my back into spasm again. Lovely. It didn’t stop us going to see Mo run at the Anniversary Games at the Olympic Stadium. But I don’t remember much of it. Only asking for a rubbish bag from a cleaner on the Tube to up-chuck into… And Claire is still with me!)
So now I think I have ITBS (not the bowel kind) which makes more sense with the issues I’ve had in the past and the symptoms I’ve got now. It also gives me a whole new way to try to fix it- namely stretching the IT band itself and strengthening my hip and glute to take the pressure off and make the knee happier. I’m naturally cautious as I have been mucking about for the last three months not getting too far fixing the problem, but I’m optimistic (in a humble and modest way so as not to anger the running gods). I’ve been stretching and doing all the weird and wonderful exercises I can find on the web and things seem to have eased a bit already. I even managed a half hour run without any pain at the weekend. Yay!
So I’m going to have a stab at the Ranscombe run on Saturday, as think I should be able to do at least one 3.8 mile lap (it’s a ‘as-many-laps-as-you-can-in-8 hours deal’) and I want to get my hands on the medal! Hopefully this will be the start of the real road back and getting into running like I was enjoying so much last year. I’ve even put together a stretch/exercise/run calendar to make sure I do my rehab properly (and give my lovely run planning spread sheet something to do). I’m hoping for the best, but planning for the worse…
Thanks for listening and sorry to moan, but hopefully I’ll have more positive news soon. Cheers, Adam 🙂