Monday, August 11, 2008

Being Forced to Shift Gears

I haven't blogged for a while for 2 reasons.  First; I was at Girl's Camp last week and had a fabulous time!  If you're super bored you can read about that here.  We went on a good 5 mile hike on Thursday and just getting to the cabins (I know, I know, cabins can't really be called camping!) themselves was a hike!  So I sure didn't feel like I was lacking on any exercise.  But before I left for camp I wanted to get my long run in for the week because I knew I'd come home exhausted and not really want to do much.  I was going to try it on Monday, but I had done a lot on Saturday with running and stairs and decided to give it another day.  I went 5 miles on Monday and felt so good!  It really loosened up my calves and I was excited for Tuesday.  
Tuesday I went with Jody early.  It was the perfect day for my long run.  I already had a partner for some of it and I was up earlier than normal so it wouldn't be as hot.  However after about 3 miles in, my IT band in my left knee started really hurting.  I have only had problems with the right knee in the past and for the past year I got to where I could feel when it was tightening and could usually stretch and ice and work it out before I got to any real pain.  But I didn't get any warning with the left knee.  It went right to the stabbing pain and I was more than worried.  Jody and I usually sprint about a block to her house at the end and I knew I wasn't going to be able to do it.  We picked up the pace but I ended up walking and kind of limping home afterwards.  I got home and grabbed my knee bands and decided to just try a little more.  I was feeling so good everywhere else and really wanted to do 15 miles that day.  I know I should have just stayed home but I'm stupid.  That's all I can really come up with besides stubborn and dumb.  I did another 5 miles alternating walking breaks when it hurt.  I did run the last 2 miles home with no pain and it took all the self control I had to stop and not do another loop.  I was feeling so good and it really was killing me to think that I wasn't going to be able to run.  I got home, iced it, and called my chiro who helped fix it last year.  I was able to get in and he worked it good.  I think that doing two longish runs too close together plus a lot of extra stuff like stairs and jump rope just pushed my knees over the threshold.  At least I know where the line is now.  And I probably favor my right leg since it's always been the injury prone one.  So that left leg probably gets the majority of the work.  I still can't believe I didn't get any tightness warning before I'm at the horrible pain.  I made an appointment for after Girl's Camp and he said if I was doing fine, I could just cancel it.  I had pain at camp only once going downhill on the hike so I kept the appointment just to be safe.  But real running was going to be the real test.
I ran 2 miles today as per his instructions.  I felt the pain at the end of the first mile.  I stopped, stretched, and walked a bit and tried to run again.  After doing this about 3 times it seemed like it was working and I could run home with little pain.  Still...2 miles?  
I came home and spent extra time lifting weights and doing 1 legged squats and lunges.  I was pretty bummed at first.  It seemed like I was just getting over everything and really starting to love running again and I was getting excited for progress, and now this.  I have decided that maybe it's a blessing in disguise.  I'm always using running as my excuse not to eat good.  I know it should be the opposite, but in my head I think, "I can eat that because I ran 10 miles today."  I know I should be thinking that I need to feed my body good things so that I can recover from that 10 miler.  I'm always worried that if I don't eat enough my running performance will suffer.  So now maybe it's time I started making better food choices and focussed on strength training a little more.  I'm sure I'll be better soon.  Maybe it's the kick in the pants I need to get my eating on track.  Then I'll just have to keep it up when I'm better and be smarter.  Plus, the lighter you weigh, the faster you can be.  I need all the help I can get with that.  
Going through this injury once before taught me that I need to have patience with my body and give it the rest it needs.  I want to run so badly, but I also know I will prolong my healing and then be sidelined completely.  I think it's easier to deal with this time because I know I will get better, because I did before.  I did get new shoes and insoles because the miles were starting to pile up on them and they were just trashed on the insides.  I'm o.k. and I'm sure everything will turn out alright.  I just have a new focus for a while.

6 comments:

The Hoyt's said...

Boy, can I relate. It's so hard to be patient when you want to be out there running.. Exspecially when the rest of you feels good. So what exactly does your chiro do? I never thought about seeing a chiro for my knee... Also what kind of stretches do you do for your IT band? Your awesome that is alot of miles.....

Tall Girl Running said...

Jen,

I've never had worse IT band trouble than leading up to the Ogden marathon in May. It led to my downfall during the race and I thought it would take weeks before I could run comfortably again. When my PT suggested using a foam roller to massage my ITB's, I figured it couldn't hurt. It took only two weeks before my legs went from being complete mush to feeling strong and pain-free. I've heard the foam roller called "the poor man's massage therapist" (it cost me only $16). It essentilly works the same, loosening up those tight knots in your muscles, from your glutes down to your calves and everything in between. I can use the roller at my own leisure, before or after a run and haven't yet had a time when I haven't been able to work out a tight spot in my legs just with a little concentrated effort on the roller. Give it some thought... it's literally saved my running career and I'm eager to pass along the tip to anyone else it could help.

Michael said...

Tall Girl, Are you talking about a paint-type roller? I'm intrigued? Mike

Jen said...

Michael, While I was at the chiro's office, a guy who's more like a physical therapist was helping with my knees and he recommended getting a foam roller and after reading tall girl's blog yesterday I ordered one. It's a dense, thick, foam thing that you lay on and them roll any tightness out. He said it comes with instructions, but it's good for the gludes, IT bands, hamstrings, lower back, and calves. It was about $20 bucks for the black one that he says will last a lifetime. There's a blue one that's good, but he said it will eventually wear out. He has worked at the Iron Man events for the last couple of years and has seen it all. So I hope it works for me too. I got it at www.performbetter.com
Good luck!

Michael said...

Thanks Jen! I'm gonna pick one up. I don't need to worry about lower body aches and pains for a while as I'm off kayaking... hope the upper body can handle the Pacific. Love your blog. M

Doran & Jody said...

Oh man! I didn't know you were that bad off.

Just as I am getting in the 'sort-of' habit of running my legs are giving me fits. I don't want problems. I hurt everytime I run. My knees mostly and my left shin. I am hoping I will be able to run the whole BJ Dash this Saturday. I may end up walking too. Wish me luck.