Monday, February 23, 2009

Attacking the Injury

"Good things come to obsessive compulsives who fixate"
-Igby Goes Down

I write this now with a week's perspective, approximately half of the time it takes for one to recover from a common/nagging running injury. Okay, so falling face-first on cement is not exclusively a running injury, but at least if I think of it as a two-week setback, I don't go totally crazy.

The pattern of last week probably shines a big bright light on my relationship with running...

Saturday: 27 miles. Tired but wonderful.
Sunday: 13 miles. THEN I FALL. And then 5 more miles. I don't feel the extent of the fall then as I would in the coming days.
Monday: President's Day. Maybe I'll go for a bike ride. I do. An extremely painful one. 10 unenjoyable miles. Knee hurts.
Tuesday: Knee can't be that bad. Let me try running. 2 miles of moderate pain. 15 minutes of reluctant ellipticalling. 10 minutes of frustrated upper body lifting.
Wednesday: Disabled List. I'm out. Knee hurts.
Thursday: Still out. Knee progress.
Friday: Still out. Knee feels better.
Saturday: Normally long run day (20-27 miles). Time to experiment. 14 miles on trails. I made it! Moderate pain toward the end caused me to cut short the 18 mile plan. But I'm feeling a little more sane.
Sunday: 14 miles is looking like less of a good idea. Knee is swollen right on kneecap. Pain is localized and annoying. Walk 2.5 miles at Team in Training Practice, then I stop. Knee hurting a lot. Wonderful physical therapist and teammate Liz evaluates the injury, offers sympathy and advice. Ice, rest, leg lifts, and Kinesio Tape that we can't find on a Sunday morning.

Decision time. I get home from practice and make up my mind that I need to attack the injury with rehab of sorts. I spend my Sunday doing the following:

Contrast icing: 20 minutes icing, 20 minutes in hot shower, 20 minutes icing.
More icing: About 6 Dixie Cups worth. All through the Oscars.
The Stick: I roll out my quad and IT band because they feel oddly tight on the injured leg.
Foam Roller: Again, I really roll out my IT Band just to make sure it's not tightening on me.
Elevation: I sit upside down with my leg up on my table to drain the fluid.
Recovery Food: Blueberries, Salmon, Emergen-C Joint Health Packets x2.
Bending: Liz suggested that the fall may have reawaken (not her word) the scar tissue in my knee from The Great Kneecap Dislocation of Oct 2000. So between icings and during an episode of House, I bent my knee back and forth for full range of motion. Snap, crackle, pop...and I'm not talking about the cereal.

I'm an intense person and I was able to channel that into the rehab yesterday. Now, one day won't cure the knee, but I do get to report that: IT'S FEELING BETTER!! Definitely not 100%, more like 85%. But it's the best it has felt in the past 8 days. My range of motion is back with minimal pain. The local pain area is a smaller one. My quad feels looser, too.

The immediate goal is to be able to run next weekend. The next goal is to complete both our 30 mile training runs two and three weeks from now. The ultimate goal, still, is to race in 5 weeks.

So the plan to meet these goals is: Intense rest and ice for the next two-three days. I'd like to run 2-3 miles on Thursday as a test run for Saturday, but I have made my peace with forgoing them if necessary in order to keep the knee healthy and working. I've also stacked the cupboard with blueberries and canned salmon...which I'm not planning to eat together, but will consume them (and almonds!) throughout the day.

Will I make it through this injury? Of course. Will these protocols minimize my sideline time? I will report back this week.

I live you now with a picture of the puzzle I did this week that distracted me from not running. (Image:

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