Blogworld, I am frustrated with myself.
I have a recurring knee injury. It started after I'd been running casually for a year or two, once I started trying to train for "real" races and bumped up the intensity a little. I would be fine until I tried to run more than 20 or 22 miles per week...and then, I'd start to get a pain right under my patella. It was at its worst when I was running, but also when I was going down stairs. Sometimes it would be both knees, but much more frequently, just my right knee.
For years I self-treated by taking some time off of running until it didn't hurt anymore. But i never quite knew when it would be "healed," you know? Maybe it wouldn't hurt to go down stairs any more, but I'd start to run and BAM! Couple minutes in, and there it is. Sometimes, I stupidly tried to run through it. I could never predict how long an injury would last -- sometimes a few days without running and I'd be back to normal. The longest I was ever off was a couple (torturous, elliptical-filled) months. I never went to the doctor, because I was in law school, with no "real" insurance -- only the lame plan I had through school (basically, I could get Sudafed from the clinic and if I broke my leg or something, they'd cover it).
Two years ago, I ran Broad Street for the first time. Training was fine. My long runs were fine. But then, out of nowhere, a week or two after the race, the knee pain started up again. This time, I was a real live attorney with real live health insurance, so I went to the doctor. Immediately, she diagnosed me with the oh-so-common patella-femoral syndrome. She explained that my quads were not strong enough to keep my patella on track where it belonged, and that the best treatment would be to strengthen those muscles. Braces weren't going to help, blah blah. So, she wrote me a prescription for physical therapy, so I could go learn what exercises to do and all that.
But, dear blogworld, I was about to begin a trial at that point. For the next three weeks I practically lived at the office and billed so many hours I couldn't breathe. And then after that, our post-trial brief was due, and guess who had to write that? And then -- THEN it was almost the wedding!
Excuse after excuse after excuse. I never went to PT. My knee, as it tends to do, "healed" itself with some time off. I went back to running. My knee hurt here and there, but healed itself here and there, so that I never felt like I needed to go back to the doctor.
Stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
This is one of the longest stretches of PFS flareup I can remember. I was fine through most of the summer, but didn't train too hard -- I did mostly mid-length runs, five miles or so, with some speedwork in there. In September, I signed up for my firm's team in the Newark Corporate Run 5K (and PS? I HATE 5Ks!) and trained pretty hard to try to get my speed down. I was on track for breaking 24 minutes, or so I hoped. And then -- the week before the race, my knee started twinging a little. I took it easy and hoped for the best.
Instead, I got the worst. I had a solid first and second mile -- both just under 8:00. Then, just after mile 2, my knee hit me, HARD. Sharp pains under my patella. I had to walk a ton. Every time I thought it was OK to run again, I'd go a few yards and BAM. My time for that race was 28-something...with the first two miles in under 16:00. I wanted to cry.
That was the first week in October. And, because I am a complete idiot, I haven't been back to normal since.
I've been doing what I always do. Which is take a week or so off, with no running at all, instead killing boring, BORING time on the elliptical or doing hill walking. Then, I test the waters. I run a little, just to see. I'll do four easy miles and feel SO GREAT! Then, a couple days later, some speedwork...SO GREAT! And then, a couple days later, I run and OMG MY KNEE IT HURTS SO BAD.
Tonight was one of those nights. I ran for four minutes. See, my knee always hurts a little at the beginning of a run. It usually goes away after about a quarter mile. Tonight, it still hurt, a little -- I could tell after two minutes it was here to stay, but I foolishly thought I could make a mile. "At least I'll get ONE in, and then I'll switch over. I've barely run this week! I NEED to run tonight!"
SO SO STUPID. And that, my friends, is how I found myself watching the fine film "Bring It On 2: All or Nothing" while spending 20 sweaty minutes on the stupid hamster wheel elliptical (random program, level 11) and another 20 walking hills (level 15, 4.0mph, alternating incline 5.5 with incline 8.0, 9.3 and 11.0).
That PT script probably expired. Guess I need to make time for the doctor.