All day today I had it in the back of my mind and it made me nervous as hell.
Tonight, I had to get on the elliptical for 15 minutes followed by 15 minutes on the treadmill…my first run in over a month. While seemingly no big deal, it was in fact a very big deal.
To me, the fate of my Ironman rest within that run.
(Yes, I’m totally being overdramatic. That’s how I felt. Whatever.)
Many have asked exactly what is wrong with my knee. I wish I had a clear answer but what I can tell you is that after doing repetitive motion (like cycling or running), the muscles on the inner right knee feel as if they tighten up into an awful and tight little ball. There is not necessarily any sharp or shooting pain, but I have to stretch out the overly tight muscles and that’s where the pain is.
I can’t quite repeat in medical lingo what the chiropractor told me, but it appears as if my knee is having some compartmentalizing issues. So basically I have some tendonitis and fibrosis in the area (i.e. inflammation and scar tissue), which has caused those muscles to be less effective in getting the healing blood to the affected area when it needs it (or something like that). So when I’m doing these activities, they aren’t getting the blood, they’re working harder and end up tightening up to the point of pain. I also have a crap ton of scar tissue build up that needs to be worked through. Scar tissue? But I’ve never injured my knee! Well, maybe I did and I didn’t know it, or it can be from overuse as well. I realize that is a horrible description, but it’ll do for now.
Now back to where we began…
All day it was a mental ping-pong game of what ifs. What if I run and the pain is the same? What if I run and it’s gone? What if I run and I pull something else or God forbid, make it worse!
Like a good student, I had to do what my coach advised me to do. I would stay calm (or at least try to), run and report the results. I felt as if a moving conveyor belt was determining my fate.
Before starting, I woke-up my legs with a few squats, lunges and other drills to make sure all of the muscles were firing. I also did about two minutes of rolling on each leg (I read a study in Running Times that it is actually beneficial to do so). Then I hopped on.
Eeew elliptical, I’m not a fan. Well, I take it back, I like the elliptical because I can read and move. I’m currently reading Eat and Run by Scott Jurek and it’s my favorite running book to date as I feel like I can really relate to his background and personality (well, outside of the whole run 100 miles thing). As I was finishing the elliptical, I spotted this quote:
“Every single one of us possesses the strength to attempt something he isn’t sure he can accomplish.”
I was taking every ounce of mental calmness and motivation that I could get so I repeated it. Over and over and over. I can do this. It’s a mental thing. It’s going to be ok. It has to be ok.
With my motivation in hand and pressuring myself to embrace the power of positive thought, I put on my Florence & The Machine Pandora station as it tends to make me all introspective – yes, I was setting the stage for positivity. That’s all I could do.
So I hopped on, kept calm, and ran.
5 minutes passed.
8 minutes passed.
Yes, yes, I’m going to make 10 minutes.
10 minutes arrived and I was in the clear!
I stopped for a brief moment a may or may not have shed a tear. Finally! I stretched out and then hopped back on to see if my knee could make it another five minutes.
56, 57, 58, 59…15 minutes; 1.66 miles. Cue ridiculous grin.
And with that, I felt like everything just might be ok.
While I may have felt like I was on top of the world, I also want to be real here. It was only 1.66 miles, I ran at an incredibly safe and slow pace, I felt extremely out of running shape, and who knows what my knee will decide to do next. This could be a total fluke and I still have a lot of work to do in two months.
Thus, I’m going to try my best to not get down and take everything day by day. I’ll do as my coach and doctor say, no more, no less, and I’ll stretch, foam and ice the bajeezus out of my knee.
I’m hoping that it all works out…