Well, it had to happen. I guess it was only just a matter of time. Now before you all go moping, uncontrollably wailing in sorrow or attempting to throw yourselves off balconies in my honor (not that I have engaged in any of this sort of destructive, childish behavior over the past 48 hours), I’m going to start by saying that it APPEARS as though I am going to be OK, and this was just a mild blip on the radar.
But let’s backtrack a bit and start at the beginning. I spent the weekend in Andover, Minnesota becoming officially certified as an RRCA Running Coach (more on this in another post), and came home late Sunday night exhausted. I unfortunately didn’t have much of an opportunity to run in MN. Between my flight schedule, the class schedule, jet lag and my allergies, I only managed 6 miles for the whole weekend. (Ambitious goal was in the 12-16 mile range). And the run I did have just didn’t feel great. It was absolutely gorgeous and nature-y on the trails by my hotel, but running in 88F temperatures at 90% humidity in the midst of an allergy attack is a little different than running in my perfect SoCal climate bubble of 70F, overcast and 30% humidity.
I found this beautiful trail hidden in the woods behind my hotel. Buuuut I was all by myself and the trail was completely deserted, so I only made it about 1/4 mile in before turning around. I have no desire to be on the ID Channel anytime soon.
Apparently these dark fluffy things in the sky are referred to as “storm clouds” and the wavy beige stuff on the right is called a “wheat field”. I am not familiar with these strange Minnesotan forms of nature.
So Monday night I recruited Danon to keep me company for 4 of the 10 miles I had planned. We started out together, and all was well, when all of a sudden about 1.5 miles in I felt a really sharp intense pain in my right knee. My first instinct (like most runners) was to ignore it. It went away after about 10 strides and I continued on. But then that little f%$#er returned another 1.5 miles later, and it was more intense and hung around longer the second time around. Well crap.
This is how Old Rachel would have handled it. She would have sucked it up, forged on for the remaining 7 miles in her run even though she may have been literally hopping on one foot in the last mile. Then she would have popped Advil like Skittles for the next few weeks and continued on with her training plan in total denial about the fact that her leg was about to fall off until she was basically an invalid and required 6-8 weeks to heal a major injury she exacerbated horribly because she just wouldn’t rest a couple days and repair the small injury. And I urge you all not to treat injuries in the same manner that Old Rachel did because she ended up knocking herself out of ANY running for months at a time on multiple occasions.
I like to think that I have matured as a runner over the years (I said as a runner, not as a human being, let’s not get crazy here), so here is how I have handled my little hiccup:
1) Stopped Immediately. Say WHAAAAA??? Yup! I am so proud of myself! Luckily, Danon and I were going to do a 4 mile loop and then the plan was he would tap out and I would be on my own for the final 6 miles. That being said we were only a mile from home. I told him my knee was really not happy, and we walked the rest of the way home. I’m not saying that I didn’t simultaneously go through all 5 stages of grief the instant we stepped foot in the door. But I wisely stopped my run and that’s what counts.
2) Ice Ice Baby. Ice has been my best friend for the past couple days. 20 minutes of ice and elevation a few times per day.
If you don’t have an ice pack, a bag of frozen peas or corn will do just fine!
3) Rest. This one is sooooo important!! I didn’t throw my sneakers on and run the next day. I didn’t walk, bike, swim, hike, do the elliptical, etc. Truth be told, the knee was actually in a lot of pain all night Monday night and was making some weird popping noises every time I flexed it, so I knew that nothing good could come of me trying to “tough it out” and “run through the pain” on Tuesday. I DID work out a bit on Tuesday, but only did upper body exercises. I already said that resting an injury is important, but now I’m going to tell you that this is hands down the hardest part to follow through with. The Type-A runner in us wants to stick to the plan! Don’t miss a workout! You’ll lose your training base! And I’m no different – but I have to remind myself that a) this type of reckless behavior never benefited me in the past b) I am not Iron Woman, nor am I still 24 years old c) the long term effects of not resting an injury are far worse than missing a couple runs.
4) Foam rolled the hips, thighs, hammies and calves. But the thing is, nothing was really so tight that would predicate that type of knee pain, which clued me into the fact that I may need to…
5) Buy some new kicks. My sneakers had about 280 miles on them. Although my running shoes usually last till about 300-325 miles, the Asics GT-2000 were a new (to me) brand, as I had been in Mizunos for about 3 years prior. When I looked at the tread on the right shoe (my right shoe always wears down waaaaaay faster than my left. Anyone else have this problem?) it was almost completely worn off. Ah ha! Could this be the culprit? I went and bought myself a new pair of the GT-2000’s and donated the old ones.
Sneakers have been strategically artistically placed on some weathered wine crates in a rare creative photography moment.
The good news? I woke up yesterday (Wednesday) morning with no knee pain-thank you rest day! I went through a session of static and dynamic pre-run stretches and still no pain. So I put on the new kicks and ventured out for an easy run. And guess what? 8 mile run (8:41 pace) and absolutely no knee pain!
This morning, I feel a dull achy pain in my knee when I go up and down the stairs, so I am going to keep an eye on it for the day, and if I feel better, I’ll go on a walk/light jog later tonight.
I am proceeding over the next week in a manner I shall call “cautiously optimistic”. No speedwork, no plyometrics in my cross training, and definitely no base jumping into canyons for the next week or two. My tryout for American Ninja Warrior will have to wait. I’m still going to ice a couple times per day even if I am not experiencing any pain, and I am going to keep up with my foam rolling and stretching.
Any suggestions from whoever is reading this and made it all the way to the end of my post? How have you dealt with injuries in the past? How do you deal with them now?