Monday, July 9, 2012

Down for the Count

So, two weeks ago, I did a recon run with a small group to check out how the Voyageur trails fared after the Duluth flood. The answer being not great in many places but just fine in others and we had a great time checking things out and having our minds blown at the destruction in some places. However, since it took us 5 hours to go 14 miles, a few of us decided to head up the shore Sunday and get a long trail run in that would allow us to actually run for most of it, as opposed to slogging through knee deep mud :) The four of us arranged a point to point run and headed off. So there I was, running along behind Marcus. We just finished a technical downhill, bouncing between rocks and roots and I was at the bottom, coming off of a boardwalk into a small mud hole. Where my left foot went down, slid, twisted and just like that I felt things move in my knee that shouldn't be moving and watched my trail running flash before my eyes. I ended up clutched to a small Popple tree on the side of the trail while Lisa tried to convince that I should try taking a step. No way, I said! Steps not necessary! I'll just stay here with my new best friend, Mr. Tree. She did eventually convince me to try a step. I could move so nothing was terribly out of place (say, a torn ACL or the like). But I wasn't moving well or quickly (ie, very gimpy and painfully). After 30-40 minutes of walking, I knew I wasn't running out of there but at least there was a place for me to bow out early and head to Tettegouche. Of course, that ended up being an additional 8 miles, but there wasn't really another feasible way out. Happily, after that initial bout of walking, I could do a sort of ultra-shuffle for most of the rest of the way and Shane was nice enough to hang out with me in what was probably a painfully slow but too fast to walk pace. We also managed to botch where we were supposed to cut down off the trail and did a few more miles than was probably necessary. Oops. I iced it a ton on the ride back and stuff seemed okay. I was barely limping by the time we headed home. And then came Monday! I couldn't bend my knee the entire way (turns out that was due to lots of swelling) and things just felt wrong so I was easily convinced to make an appointment to see a specialist (Dr Kenji Sudoh is amazing, by the way). Fearful internet googling had me convinced I had a meniscus tear and I was not excited to head in to a doctor but knew it needed to be done as this was something that trying to push through could make drastically worse. Dr. Sudoh confirmed that nothing super, crazy serious was wrong (no ACL tear, no broken bone from the previous weeks fall that was exacerbated by the twist, yay!) but also said the best bet was a meniscus tear. First prescription was for rest, a fancy hinged knee brace (surprisingly comfortable), and some strengthening exercises once the swelling was gone. I had permission to try running in a week IF the swelling and pain were both gone and then no more than 2 miles. We made a follow up appointment for two weeks. If a tear is small enough and in the right place, it can heal itself and show significant improvement in that time. If not, other things like surgery could be required but we didn't talk about that much and he said he wasn't ruling Voyageur out for me quite yet. Of course, I was just about to head on my week long vacation in Bozeman. So much for all that glorious trail running . . . He didn't specify, but I presumed that my 2 miles was to be more on a flat, even surface rather than a mountain trail. Bummer. I did get a decent amount of hiking in, though. Nothing over 4 miles at a time (or was the longest 5? I can't remember) but we went out a couple times a day. I elliptical-ed once for just over 10 minutes before the knee started feeling weak and I decided to call it there. The one time I "ran" (maybe a quarter mile down the trail during one of the hikes) it did bad things so I didn't try again and stuck to hiking. It turns out swimming also makes it uncomfortable. I didn't get to try biking since the bike rack wasn't behaving with the rental car. I'm pleased with my ability to not push it too much (even if that meant I couldn't carry my favorite nephew much!). So I have my two weekend appointment tomorrow. I did try running today and that went well! I did my full allotted two miles with basically no pain. I stopped a few times to adjust the tightness on the knee brace (which is sort of awkward to run with so it'll be good when that's gone) and once to stretch my crazy tight calves. It's as though I haven't run for two weeks or something . . . So we'll see how it feels tomorrow morning and what the doctor thinks. Running today seems like a good sign. I'll let you know what I find out!

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