"It never gets easier, you just go faster." - Greg Lemond

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Time off, Time on, Back at it

Return of the Jedi Toe

It has been a long 5-6 weeks.  Knee pain began Thursday Jan 24th and lasted until March 1st-ish.  I've been hesitating to write this post so as not to jinx my recovery.  But here I am, typing away, that must mean something good has happened in the past 3-4 days.  

Friday I found myself angry for missing out on winter base building, and having just bought a pair of Newtons, I decided to run around Ann Arbor.  When the first mile clicked off at 7:15 I though, woah, a little fast there buddy, probably should slow it down a bit.  Then 6:58, then 6:50, then a 6:33, etc.  I could feel a little tightness on the top of my knee, but it was less than whisper, and I needed to run.  I found myself weaving in and out of students downtown, then jumping over curbs and snow banks on the outskirts of Ann Arbor/Scio Township.  Things I haven't been able to do in over a month.  The Newtons required more force from my hamstrings than my typical road shoes, so while I felt a noticeable tightness there, my aerobic system seemed to be intact.  I finished the 14 miler at a 6:40 pace, having run a couple sub 6:20s.  

The next day I was incredibly sore.  Hah.  I talked Jenny into running 4 miles with me and called it a day.  Sunday rolled around and I felt ready to test out my knee again.  12 miles later, things were feeling damn good.  It was a beautiful day (sunshine) so I grabbed my camera and decided to go for a hike to help loosen up my legs.  Then yesterday I had what I feel like was my first totally pain-free, completely forgot about my knee, run in a long time.  So I'm ready to write about the experience.  

98% sure it was petallar tendonitis.  On the top of your knee is a tendon that helps keep the knee-cap in line.    This tendon functions to help the knee act like a fulcrum as it bends and transfers force, so if it does become inflamed  you're gonna notice it when bending your knee and transferring power, such as going up and down stairs or running.  

So what to do?  I tried icing like crazy, but usually that caused my the tendon running over my kneecap to become so tight that it was very uncomfortable to bend it.  I did find that I could run on the treadmill at incline, like 15% incline so I tried to do this to maintain fitness to some degree.  It was...  very boring at best.  Probably the best therapy I found for the knee was to use a butter knife to scrape across the tendon when the knee was at a slight angle.  It simulates a Grastons-like therapy, and seemed to help relieve the inflammation.  I suspect because tendons receive very little blood flow that if they become agitated or inflamed it requires some artificial manipulation to help loosen up and force new fluid in and old fluid out.  I also have to admit to taking quite a bit of ibuprofen, normally I avoid the stuff like poison (I feel it diminishes training gains), but it seemed to provide relief and I wasn't training very hard.

So now I'm back, at least I hope so, and I have to figure out my racing schedule for the spring, summer and fall.  Last year at this time I was logging 100 mile weeks all month long, but I'm skeptical of my ability to do that right now, and not sure if it would be the best idea.  So instead I think I'll build my mileage back up, and hopefully retain some speed in my rested legs.  I'm thinking about a spring marathon or two, and I'll run a couple Ultras.  I'll hopefully run 1 or 2 100s, and currently thinking about Keys 100 mile, Kettle Moraine 100 mile, Mohican 100 mile ,or Burning River 100 mile, I guess only time will tell.  For now, I'll be preparing with the mentally of trying to run a fast marathon or two in April, maybe and maybe a 50-100 miler in May and June.  Honestly, I'm just happy to be running again, racing isn't calling my name quite yet.

Pictures from my hike:


  1. Happy that you run pain-free again. ;)

    I have a ankle pain since last october.
    I'm off since 3 weeks now, it doesn't help yet.

    Your injury is very similar to mine, but mine is on the outside of the ankle, when I transfer the power forward.
    I don't know what to do, if some strength exercise can help.

    Maybe I just have to wait 2-3 more weeks.
    It's seems so long, especially on those sunny days...

  2. Marauni, I hurt my ankle (also on the outside) in october last year. Even after 6 weeks off for my knee to heal, its still not back to normal. Without taking the immediate time off, there is probably a huge delay in healing time. Best of luck, I know those sunny days are so hard to ignore.