It was bound to happen, sooner or later. After a history of being plagued with random running injuries through high school and college (2 stress fractures, rotated pelvis, tendinitis, low iron, IT issues…), it’s been generally smooth sailing the last 3 or 4 years. Little things here and there, but usually things I can train through.
Right before Christmas, I just finished an 11 mile run in Central Park, doing part of it with Nicole. We averaged around a 7:30 pace, which was quicker than I’d been used to but felt surprisingly fine! I brought my credit card to run errands at Duane Reade on my way home, and recall feeling a slight twinge in the back of my knee as I stood in line to pay. I didn’t think much of it and just tried to stretch, but it was a bit nagging.
The next few days, the pain moved from the back of my knee to the inside of my knee, but it was just annoying, not debilitating. I could tell it was throwing my gait slightly, but usually went away once I warmed up a bit. I ran 39 miles the week of Christmas, my highest so far, and I figured the weird twinges would work themselves out.
On New Year’s Eve day, I ran in the park with Terence and Noelle. The pain was much stronger and didn’t go away the entire run. I decided to take New Year’s Day off to rest (well planned…) and hit the roads on Weds the 2nd with Alex and Meredith. That was the last time I really ran. The pain had traveled to the front of my knee cap, and hurt when I walked and especially up and down stairs. Eeek. It even hurt when I was out at the bar dancing…that’s when you know it’s bad.
I took 5 days completely off exercise of any type. Considering it hurt to walk, I couldn’t exactly cross train! Annoying, but I kinda welcomed the laziness.
I finally saw a doctor on Monday the 7th, who didn’t really have a firm diagnosis for me but ruled out tendon/ligament damage and thought more rest and icing would help the inflammation. And it has, generally. Now that the pain has disappeared from my knee cap (but is still present on the inside of my knee), it doesn’t hurt to walk anymore. I’ve begun to cross-train, which I hate. If I can’t run, I am really lazy and can never motivate myself to get in an equivalent hard effort on the bike or elliptical or pool. Meh.
I saw a PT on Friday who cleared me to try running on a treadmill (because you use less effort to propel yourself forward) in quarter mile increments, alternating running and walking for 2-3 miles max. The weirdness is still there, but it is much milder and definitely dissipated once I got going. And it was really, really boring.
I think it’s always hard to tell what to do when faced with strange pain: is it the onset of an injury, or can I work through this? If I stopped running every time something hurt, I’d run a lot less miles. I’m really frustrated, because I felt like I was finally getting back into a groove of running regularly and working out. I purposefully ran semi-regularly most of the fall so that when I started to train for the NYC Half-Marathon, I’d have a decent base and prevent injury. Plus it’s been weirdly warm-ish lately and I can’t take advantage of it!
It’s also not the end of the world. Yeah, I’m losing the little fitness I did have, but I do have confidence I’ll be back (outside!) running soon. I just need to be patient and not stubborn. It also could be far worse. While I might not be in peak shape for the NYC Half, maybe I can set my sights on another half in April or May to use as a goal race instead.
So, there’s the update! Here’s to hoping the pain goes away soon…
Any advice? What do you do when you feel a potential injury coming on?