Well, this winter season so far hasn't been very good to me in terms of feeling all that well. Maybe because I ramped up my running mileage a little too quick after cyclocross season or it could have been that I was doing a little too much trail running which left me feeling quite sore and somewhat injured. It started off in November when we were doing a group trail run at the North Chagrin when I rolled and sprained my ankle on a rock hidden in all the leaves. I managed to train and race (cyclocross) through it and it eventually got better, but not completely healed. After cross season was over we started running primarily on the trails, my ankle was still tender but nothing that I hadn't experienced many times before. As the mileage progressed so did my aches and pains especially in my feet and ankles. I know they were caused by the uneven trail surfaces and all the snow that we had got which makes for hard running. I would come home and stretch, take my Recoverite and a couple of Ibuprofen's and everything would be alright.
One afternoon a month ago Tony and I did a trail run at the outdoor YMCA in the snowy and rutty conditions and my feet and ankles were sore and tight. We only ran four miles that night because I told Tony that I was really sore and that I didn't want to over do it. Went home, took a shower and went out into the family room to stretch out, since I was still warm from the shower. I knelt down on the floor and leaned my body backward for a upper thigh stretch and when I did that I felt a hard stretch and maybe even a possible tear on the inside of the left knee, not on the inside of the knee where the ACL or Medial Collateral is but on the inside on the outer part of the knee where the membranes of the tendons attach to the upper tibial bone. I have always had a tight left knee and have had knee pain in that area before from stretching. Well I knew after I did it, I might have overdid the stretch and everything was most likely tight from everything being sore from all the running that I was doing. I took a week off of running and then Tony and I did a short easy run before the trainer workout just to see if the knee was getting better. We ran for about a mile and a half warm up and the knee felt sore but not painful. I continued to ride every so often and swim about four days a week while the knee still healed. About a week later we did our local 5k run around the neighborhood to see how well the knee was progressing. We did a faster negative split run starting off at at 7:15 pace and ending with a 6:40 pace for the last mile. I knew when I got home that it was too much too soon so I stopped running outside and did a few elliptical workouts and an easy treadmill workout, all while still doing a few bike workouts on the trainer and still swimming.
Yesterday I made a trip to Fleet Feet to pick up a new pair of cushioned shoes since I was feeling the best I have felt in the past month. I was going to come home and try another easy 5k neighborhood run and see how the knee was. I was very eager to try the new shoes and was excited to get out and run a short distance so I could say YES, I'm feeling better and I can at least get out on the roads for a few short runs a week. I headed out and my knee was feeling pretty good and the Type A in me was saying you can pick up the pace, but I ran very conservatively and looked at my watch at mile one and I was just slightly over eight minutes, not bad. I hit a mile and a half and was stopped dead in my tracks with the same knee pain in the same place as before. I didn't continue to run and walked the rest of the way home thinking the worst thought I could think. Am I going to be able to run again?, Am I going to need surgery? Am I ever going to be able to race again? Please God, help me. I know..I've always had a tendency to over think things and sometimes I'm a bit of a pessimist especially when it come to a personal injury. Well here I am now, after hours of internet searching of what the possibilities of this injury could be. Lynn and I have it tracked down to a strained, or possibly sprained medial retinaculum which is connective tissue that help stabilize the medial and lateral side of the knee and my knee is bony enough that I can actually see and put my finger on the spot that is painful, and as I said I can actually see the band of tissue coming from my knee cap, so there is no swelling, just discomfort. I have decided and have to, take six weeks off of running and take this whole week off with just rest and then begin easy swimming with some bike stuff starting next week.
I know I'm probably making this whole thing out to be more than it is, but this has made me realize, as I should have anyway, that you have to listen to your body and with some things you just can't work through and you have to have the discipline to just say no. If I would have did that I would not be sitting here writing this... Oh well, it is what it is.