Monday, January 25, 2010


I have a coupon in my email for $20 any running shoes at Duluth Running Company for this week. Let me know if you'd like me to share with you.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

From NR: Late Update

Sorry about the super late update on things. Here's the current word, though. I went to a Physical Therapist last Tuesday to get another opinion. I just had too many doubts about my first doctor's visit and I wanted the opinion of someone who knew a little bit more about what might be going on. I called a couple places looking for a free sports consult and someone I work with at the store also works at a PT place that does free consults so she directed me there.

I really liked the guy I saw - he spent almost a full hour with me trying to figure things out. Lots of moving my leg around and seeing if anything caused pain (boy is it hard to relax in that situation!), which pretty much nothing did. He ruled out a lot of things and didn't think my symptoms were consistent with a patella femoral syndrome.

He thinks my problem is an irritated plica. Huh. Something I've never heard of before and it turns out not everyone has it. Though, later in the week, I picked up Joan Benoit Samuelson's Book of Women's Running and flipped through the injury part and, lo and behold! She had issues with her plica and that's what the surgery right before her Olympic trials was for.

Anyway, there are some orthopedic surgeons who are of the opinion that if it (the plica) gets irritated then out with it! The guy I saw didn't think that was at all necessary, yet. So the plan for now is to icing to bejimmies out of it and be careful. I can run as pain allows so it's time to start easing back into my training plan and hope for the best. So far, my runs have not been painful and I skied for 3 hours Saturday with no problems so all is hopeful.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

From NR: Nargh

What? You mean injuries can't just go away after a week of being nice to them? Who made that rule, anyway? So I woke up Saturday to a slightly painful knee again and thus no running yesterday. I've been torn about today but decided I probably need to just calm down and back off and wait and at least see what is said when I see a PT person on Tuesday.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

From NR: Yay!

So after 8 days off of running, a 3 day weekend from work (which got me really antsy) and 2 days without really hurting, I decided to test my knee and go for a run Wednesday! I wasn't positive that it was a great idea, but last year, after this happened at Boston, I wasn't sure my first run was a great idea, either, and it ended up quite lovely. My co-workers all thought I was insane, of course and I mentioned a story to one of them - I was out running during that super cold snap and I ran by a bunch of crazies who were huddled together outside in the wind trying to smoke. As I ran by them, I thought "Man, you'd have to be really addicted to something to be outside in this miserable cold in order to . . . wait a minute . . ." But at least my addiction is healthy for me, right?

So I was a little worried since it was a Wednesday and thus group run day at the lakewalk - which has been nothing but a sheet of ice most of the winter. Running on ice having been mentioned as a possible contributor for the PFS flare up (man, it'd be nice to have a for sure reason as to why I have this). I decided that if it was still super icy, I would turn around and hit the streets. I also brought an extra jacket tied around my waist in case things went bad, then I could have an extra layer to throw on for the walk back. I also decided that I shouldn't jump straight in with 5.5 miles (though that probably would have been fine) and that I would only do 3. And all of this ONLY if I got through the work day without pain.

Well, I could sort of feel my knee just waiting to make noise all day at work. It's sort of hard to describe (plus, I'm terrible at describing pain) but it's like it's lurking there - I'm aware of it being not normal without it being actually painful if that makes sense. It also twinged a couple of times when I was standing around but since that was different from the 'usual' pain, I didn't count that.

The lakewalk ended up being pretty ice free, only a couple short iffy spots and I slowed down there to make sure. I am happy to report a completely painless run! I'm not sure what the distance ended up being - the turnaround people knew was 3 1/2 miles plus whatever the detour adds. I am also super happy to report no extra pain the morning after. A very good sign. I was planning on running today but I realize that I'm also planning on running Saturday and Sunday and perhaps three days in a row all of a sudden isn't a spectacular idea.

I have to say, I like the whole ice and then heat right away idea. It feels so nice! It seems as though I can feel my muscles relaxing once the heat comes. Plus it's just plain nice to get warmed back up.

For those of you without a heat pack - they're super easy to make! Just sew a tube using cotton fabric, leaving one end open (mine's maybe 15 inches long, I think and maybe 4 inches wide). Pour a bunch of rice in - don't pack it full. If you want something that smells nice, mix the rice up with some scented oil first. Then sew the top and you have a heat pack! Throw it in the microwave for 3 1/2 minutes or so and volia! You can make a nice soft fleece cover for it, too, to give another layer between bare skin and hot pack.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

From NR: No reason for panic

Okay! I had my day of tears and self-pity so no more! Or, that's the plan, anyway. So, on to the healing. Right now I'm still hoping for a quick-ish heal because I have Plans and you're not allowed to be injured when you have Plans! Yeah.

I have exercises to do, half in the morning and half at night, to strengthen the muscles that are supposed to be at fault. When I talked (sort of) with a PT guy, he had me do the 'typical test' for PFS - sit down and hold your leg out straight. With one hand, push your kneecap down your leg some, then try and flex your quads. This will make you jump if you're having PFS issues. So I tried it an lo and behold - jump! Then I tried it with the right leg, just to make sure I'm feeling the right thing and . . . jump! Hmmmmm. So it's looking as though things are ready to get angry on my right knee, too, making it doubly important that I do those strengthening exercises on both legs. So this can only be good for me, right? Getting weak muscles stronger is always a good thing.

Happily, I have a three day weekend right now, so that should help with things. It also means I can ice and then heat 3 times a day and that I can sit around a lot. After a very long, exhausting and gimpy work night Friday, I'm happy to not have to walk around concrete for a few days. I'm told that things that make it worse include running on ice (the main way to run right now) and squatting to lift heavy things (also known as my job).

After this happened at Boston, I took 9 days off of running so I'm not planning on trying until Tuesday at the earliest - that will be a week since I woke up with this. Right now, my knee still hurts walking around, which is troubling but we'll see how things go.

I'm having trouble coming up with cross-training options that don't involve bending the knee. Any ideas? I might have to see what I can do about pool access if this continues and see what my knee thinks about swimming.

Friday, January 8, 2010

From NR: A diagnosis?

Okay so after a quick exam and some x-rays the diagnosis is Patellofemoral Syndrome. It seems it goes by a bunch of different names which are often incorrect, no-one really understands what causes it and there's no consensus on how to treat it. Lovely. I generally need to write questions down in advance or they never get asked when I'm at the doctor's. So now I find myself with lots of questions and I guess I'll have to give my doctor a call. I feel as though I don't really completely agree with the diagnosis from what I've read about it but I don't have a better idea and I'm clearly not a doctor myself. I have a list of things that are different from what I've read and I don't know if they're important differences or not. I kind of feel like going to a sports specialist after the doctor I went to (not my normal one, she wasn't availible) had to look up information on it. At the very least, I guess I should call my normal doctor and talk with her some.

Of course, after sitting around all day, not walking around and bending my knee, it was feeling better by the time I went to the doctor. I have exercises to do so I did those and then iced this morning and then my knee felt worse. Hm.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

From NR: Well, that's not good

Not a week into 2010 and I'm already failing on a goal! I don't think this one is my fault, though - I woke up yesterday to find my knee in pain again. In the past, I've taken it as an indication of ramping my mileage up too quickly which is not what's going on now. It struck for the first time in my senior year in college. Then again at Boston last year. I don't know where it's coming from this time - the only thing I can think is that my knee isn't liking all the nasty footing that's going on with the ice. It's the same pain as before, though, and I don't really know what to do. I'm icing it when I can and not running the last couple of days and generally gimping around at work which I know isn't good but I don't have a lot of choice.

Signs probably point to going to a doctor, huh? It's just not great to spend lots of money to be told to rest and ice which I'm already doing. It'd sure be great to have an answer as to what it is, though, since I didn't really get a good answer in college.


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Safe places to run?

Okay, so the midwest got hit with a giant storm over Christmas. Parts of Duluth got 20 inches, parts got 10, all got freezing rain on top of it. So what this equals out to is really, really shitty road conditions and non-existent sidewalks in most places. I'm not talking thse annoying houses that never seem to shovel and so you have to twist along through slippery, uncertain footing (though, they're part of it since many people were gone for the holidays and returned to completely frozen up sidewalks that are impossible to shovel). I'm talking about snowplows having pushed up several feet of frozen ice and snow chunks to the point of not even knowing where the sidewalk is let alone be able to safely navigate it.

The city has barely touched any of the sidewalks they're supposed to be maintaining. This means no safe place to run. In many places there isn't even a shoulder - I'm creeped out driving to work as there's no shoulder, the entire right lane isn't even clear and there's no place for pedestrians. We drove down Trinity today and saw deer legs jutting out from one of the snowbanks! Just the legs sticking out.

Now usually, I run on the roads, ignoring the sidewalks anyway. But when the roads are coated with ice and with no safe place to jump to should I need to, I'm not sure what to do. Residential roads can only take me so far before I have to get onto a 'main' road that the city should be maintaining and isn't. I have a long run to do on Monday and I guess I'll head the direction of the lakewalk since that route has the least amount of unsafe roads.