The Plight of an Injured Patella

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I suppose if I put "running" in the title of my blog, I should actually talk about running once in awhile.
After ending last year on a high of running 12 races, I was ready to shatter some more goals for this year.
In January, I started training for my second half marathon (same one as my first). I couldn't believe how easy it was for me to spend a Saturday morning running 8 miles. My lungs, heart and mind were telling me to push harder every week. Before I knew it, another part of my body was yelling "knock it off! Are you trying to kill me?!"
My left knee and I became fast enemies, as I noticed more pain every time I ran. Somehow, I would finish my long runs, despite my knee's begging and pleading. The rest of my body told me I had never been in better shape and that I owed it to myself to step up my game and finish what I started.
I tried to ignore my knee, but before too long, I walked my stubborn ass into Fleet Feet and tried to buy some type of brace to keep my knee from going crazy. I assumed my troubles were from runner's knee, as that's what every more experienced runner kept telling me, and it made the most sense. Unfortunately, that was definitely NOT the problem. I wore the brace on a 10 mile run and by mile 3, I had to walk- there was no way my knee was going to be silenced. It hurt so bad that I winced every time I walked up the stairs, and for hours after a run.
Being the cheap person I am, I went to Fleet Feet to get my money back for the brace, and a really knowledgeable worker listened to my plight as I told her where my knee hurt (on the back left part of my left knee) how often (every time I ran, climbed stairs, or jumped) and if I noticed any other pain (sometimes on the left side of my back and my left hip)
"That's an IT band problem", she told me. It was as if I just asked her something as simple as, "At what temperature should I bake cookies?"
She gave me an IT band brace and told me to ice my knee after EVERY run.
I tried to run with the brace, but my knee still wouldn't cooperate, so I decided to get smart and REST my knee. I stopped running for about a month (longest month ever, by the way) and came to the realization that I was in no shape to run my half marathon. I only shed a few tears over the lost goal and decided my overall running "career" was more important.
I'm so happy I did.
I started running again about a month ago (right before the half) but was only doing about 2 miles. I skipped the race, and slowly started building my miles. I'm still only up to about 4.5- it's amazing how quickly I lost my running stamina! But, as Maddie pointed out to me, it's also amazing how quickly you can gain it back!
The most important lessons I learned from my first ever running injury
-Listen to your body
-Do your research: as soon as I read about IT band injuries, I knew I was reading an article about my own problems
-ICE, stretch and REST
-Every workout matters. I've realized my biggest mistake was being lax on my weekday runs. On days I got too busy, I would skip them, or do some pathetic form of a run. By the time I would get to my weekend long runs, my body wasn't ready...slow and steady wins the race, or at least gets to compete in one.

Tomorrow I'm going to post a sweat producing workout I've been doing two days a week to vary my workouts and keep my legs strong!


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