But I Will Run Again

I can’t run.

It’s not that the doctor has told me not to run, or that I am deciding to take some time off. Or even that I’m too busy or don’t want to run.

I can not run.

The pain in my knee and calf is too severe. My walk is a limp most of the time. I try to run and it’s at best a fast limpy convulsion that doesn’t really resemble running.

I saw an orthopedic doctor last week who said my knee pain stumped him, because structurally, my knee is fine.  He gave me a cortisone shot in my hip, because occasionally children present with knee pain that stems from a hip problem.  I was skeptical, but willing to try, because the pain has gotten that severe. Over the course of the day after my shot, my knee pain subsided, and by the time I woke up the next morning, I had 75% pain reduction.

I was elated! It was working!  As the day wore on, all the pain seeped back into my knee, and now I am in the same pain I was in before the shot. To say I was disheartened and frustrated would be an understatement. I sobbed to my mom, to a wonderful woman at work, to my family, to Chris…

I can’t run.

I tried to run yesterday, slow – painfully slow. I made it a half mile before honestly could not run another single step. I stood on the street corner and stretched and pleaded for my knee to just work.  I choked back a few tears, and I continued on, but at a walk.  I limped/walked another 4.5 miles, determined to at least get in a considerable amount of steps and try to keep my heart rate up enough to get something out of it.

The thoughts don’t stop. Will I ever be able to run again? Will the knee pain ever go away? Why doesn’t anyone seem to know what the problem is, so I can work to fix it? What if I can’t ever run again? Who am I if I don’t have running? How will I get in shape and lose some weight so my knee has less pressure, if I can’t run? What if I need surgery? What I I get surgery and it doesn’t fix it? What if I can never run again?

I’m determined to find an answer. I hate how expensive going to doctors is, especially when they don’t know what’s wrong, ordering tests and trying injections and so on.  But I’m not going to live with this pain and the inability to move.

I can’t run.

Right now.

But I will run again.

Running will always be there for me, even if I have to take a few months off.  Time to heal, time to strengthen, time to rebuild.  This scares me beyond measure because I am scared it is unfixable.

But I will run again.

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The March Run Down

March! I’ll cut straight to the chase: I ran 105 miles in March! After reevaluating my goals, and getting rid of my year long 1100 mile goal, my knee continued improve, and I had lots and lots of fantastic runs in March!  Read up on previous months’ run-downs here: January, February.

Between my knee feeling so much better, my glute feeling just about 99% better, and really enjoying my runs, I end up running twice as much in March as I did in each January and February! I ended March with 105 miles, which puts my yearly total at 211.  I still am sticking to my plan of not aiming for a specific number for the year, I’m happy with just running and doing what I can! I biked/cycled 105 miles as well (yesterday when I had 105 miles biked, and had 100 miles running, I knew I had to do a 5 miler to even them up!)

During the first week of March, I traded in my old bike and bought a beautiful (used but new to me) bike. I named her Aspen.  I’ve ridden my bike to work several times, and taken her out for a few bike rides this month too.  My longest ride was a 10 mile ride to Missouri and back! She’s a Trek seven.three, and I love her!

Photo Mar 06, 4 36 54 PM

I’ve continued to take cycling classes a couple times a week at the Athletic Club of Overland Park.  Since I ran more in March than I had in January and February, I didn’t take as many classes, and some of the classes I did go to, I only took half the class, so that I could also run.

I somehow only ran with the KC Running Co. groupies twice in March! Between some chilly weather, some scheduling conflicts, a race, and going home for a weekend, I only  managed to get to the Groupies twice!  I did run with friends numerous times, which makes up for missing so many Groupie runs.  I also had my second race of the year, the Whiskey Run 5k, on March 13.  I ended up not running as quickly as I wish I would have, but had a pretty good race, and a dang good breakfast after the race!

Photo Mar 31, 8 48 24 PM

My longest run of the month was 8 miles, which was actually broken up into a solo 5 miler followed by a 3 mile run (5k, actually, for the virtual 5k for Rett Syndrome) with Momma and Shay puppy, in Hays, on March 26.

The entire month, I’ve run a bit longer than previous, during each run.  10 of my runs in March were 5 miles or more!  I think that adding a mile or two to my normal 3-4 mile runs has really helped my endurance, and my mental strength!  Though I’m not aiming, specifically, for 100+ miles each month, I definitely like being able to do some longer runs without feeling like it’s so taxing.  I guess that’s called progress!

Photo Mar 26, 9 22 27 AM.jpg

Looking forward to April, I have two races, the Rock the Parkway Half Marathon on April 9, and the Trolley Run 4 miler on April 24.  Rock the Parkway begins my 3 half marathons in 3 months, and I’m hoping my knee is up to the task!  Do you have any races coming up?

March Run-Down:
Running: 25 runs, totaling 105 miles.
Cycling: 7 cycling classes, 5.5 hours, and several bike rides, totaling 105 miles.
Longest Run: 8 miles, Mar. 26.
Races: Whiskey Run 5k.

The Road to Progress

I’ve had several people ask me about my knee, and my progress with it lately.  I guess that means it’s time for a little update post!

My [left] knee (and my right glute, for that matter) have been doing so much better since January.  To recap very quickly, I went to the orthopedic doctor the first week of January, and was instructed to take 2 weeks off running, I received a cortisone shot in my knee, and was sent home with a diagnosis of a torn meniscus.  When I ran again, 2 weeks later, the pain was back.  At the beginning of February, and an MRI later, it was determined my knee was structurally sound, no tears in my meniscus, or elsewhere.  I was given 2 more cortisone shots in different parts of my knee.  I was frustrated and upset, and after several more visits to my chiropractor, he gave me a series of stretches that have diminished the pain so much that it is all but gone.

I don’t know how much the pain diminished due to the shots, and how much the chiropractic stretches and needlings and adjustments have attributed to it.  I also stopped wearing my Hokas (they were about worn out anyway) and switched to my Altra Lone Peaks.  The change in shoes, chiropractic stretches, and cortisone shots all happened within about 2 weeks, during which, my knee felt 60-80% better.

Photo Mar 23, 8 43 16 PM

I continue to do my knee stretches every other day or so, and I’d venture a guess that the pain is 85% gone.  I get twinges behind my knee on the lateral side every now and then, and I can tell if I’m not doing my stretches for a couple days, because it gets worse and I get back to stretching.  My glute is also doing so much better, due to stretches loosening up my lower back, taking the pressure off a disc or two that are unhappy.

Overall, I’m very happy, but also kind of waiting for the pain to come back.  I’m so hopeful that the stretches are doing the trick, and it’s not the shots that made the pain go away, because once the shots wear off, I don’t want the pain to come back!

I’ve been running 20-25 miles per week now for 4-5 weeks, mostly pain free, or at least a heck of a lot less pain than before.  I’m also cycling about 30-40 miles per week, either on the cycle bikes at the gym in class or on my own beautiful little bike around home.  I know cycling is helping strengthen my legs, which definitely helps my knee, and is also helping me run stronger.

Photo Mar 23, 8 42 44 PM

I feel like I’ve stumbled onto some kind of magic formula… I don’t want to change my shoes.  I don’t want to stop running or cycling.  I don’t want to stop my stretches.  I feel like I’m balancing and hanging on and don’t want to chance anything!  I’ve re-evaluated my goals, and for now, I’m going to keep on doing what I’m doing, and hopefully I will continue to be pain free, or at least mostly pain free while I’m at it!

I’m happy, and I’m working on getting healthy, and having my knee on board sure helps!  The real test will be the three half marathons I have coming up, one each in April, May, and June.  I’m confident that I’ll get through them, one step at a time, my knee, hopefully, on board with me!