I have a running knee injury. So what? Most if not all runners have injuries once in awhile. Some even have it all the time!
“If I lose you after reading my first sentence, I am OK with it!
But see here. Injuries become a big deal only if you make a big deal out of it. This is not my first injury. Many months before my first half marathon in May 2014, I had ITB* issues on my left knee. It came and went and came back again. After 3 physio visits and kinesio taping, and finally a change of running shoes, my ITB issues settled down. In short, it went away. It got fixed by changing shoes, which I did just as an experiment after reading a random blog one Friday night. Since then, I also bought a foam roller which I swear is a major injury prevention device for any runner.
Then Sunday happened, a piercing pain pierced my right knee at KM 9 of my supposed 18KM run. Man, I was more upset that this has happened than worried how I can get home. I hobbled for about 200 meters. I felt well enough to do a slow jog. Then silly me, I pushed and run for another 5KMs to complete a 14KM run. What an idiot! My body was screaming and I chose to ignore it. Why? I got used to ignoring pain, that’s why. The reason why runners can run long distances is precisely because they learn how to endure, ignore and overcome pain. Believe me, there is pain every single KM in one form or another including mental battles.
But then, the damage was done.
My new physio (she is the third from the same place as the first two moved on, they are that mobile!) says it is an over arching knee cap. There was inflammation and irritation that’s invisible to the eye. I suspect that a downhill fast run was the culprit. It was on a street that I have not run before, and I got excited, I must admit. What did the physio advise? Ice the knee cap as often as possible and give it time to heal. She didn’t disallow short runs for the next 7 days on flat terrain, but I decided I would rather sit it out than do more damage. I have a 14K walk/jog with my son 2 weeks from now, and my second half marathon is in 7 weeks. Can you tell, I am feeling extremely anxious.
“What, you are still reading this? Thank you very much. I am grateful, for I know that this post is NOT interesting AT ALL to non-runners!”
This second injury affected me sooo very much. It was more painful than the first one. And this scared the bat-shit out of me! On the third day when the pain did not subside (I could not get a physio appointment sooner), I slowly envisioned my running dreams fade away. It was when I realised how slowly and progressively running has invaded my life. Heck, it is now my life. Running goals have given me purpose every single time I go out the door. I look forward to my weekends because I get to do my long mind-numbing runs. It became my therapy. The balm of my daily grind. It was not simply an exercise, or being outdoors (which I love) or being healthy and all that, running showed me what I am capable of physically and mentally. I found fulfillment, purpose and a sense of pride. It is my midlife crisis. I am pushing my physical and mental boundaries, and chasing personal bests. Additionally, my fitness became well rounded because of runnng. I had to do yoga to become flexible as running makes for very tight muscles; I had to do Pilates for core strength which is essential; I had to lift weights because I needed my arms to stay up during the long distances of a race. I would like to think that my mental toughness and resilience are also at its peak.
“I made my running BIG in my heart and in my head. It is my dominant thought! What’s yours?”
So when my injury sidelined me and halted my training, I had to battle negativity. If you spend most days thinking of running, such that your eating habits change and your social life boils down to one friend (ie. your spouse), then you can understand how I found myself “in the pits” for a few days! I wasn’t really thinking much, I felt more like a zombie. I didn’t have any life at all. I needed a hug. I hugged myself a lot then. I asked a friend to hug me, she who remains true even if I tend to take her for granted Fortunately, I have more than one friend left!
At the end of the week, I told myself that if I didn’t make a turnaround, then I wouldn’t have learned anything in this physical journey, right? So after seeing my physio who positively gave me news that there was no permanent damage (bless her!), I decided to learn my lesson. Then ~ learn some more, read, sleep and read more about running. I am nothing but determined to run my first marathon in July 2015. But before that, there is City2Surf and 3 more half marathons to keep my spirit burning.
I will miss my long run this weekend. I will focus instead on resting, a mini-detox, reading my running books and doing my tax return. Doing my tax return means refunds means money to buy more running gear. I know I know I’ve really become bat-crazy!
Rest and recovery ~ something I am never very good at. Time to become an expert at it!
Thank you for reading this running ranting and keeping me warm and loved!
*Iliotibial band syndrome is one of the leading causes of lateral knee pain in runners. The iliotibial band is a thick band of fascia on the lateral aspect of the knee, extending from the outside of the pelvis, over the hip and knee, and inserting just below the knee.