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.