Thursday, October 29, 2009

Terrible, horrible, no good, very bad knee

Warning: this is not a happy, fun, or entertaining post. This is pretty much a whining, unhappy rant.

So much as the marathon led me to believe this is true, I am definitely not invincible. Something is wrong with my left knee and I am so unhappy I could throw things about it. I honestly don't get WTF happened. I took a few days off after the marathon, ran SUPER easy for 20 minutes the days after that. The problem started in the last mile or so of a 5.8 miler at the end of last week. The outer front part of my knee below the kneecap (not like the outside of the knee where IT band pain would be, more like directly under and to the left of my left kneecap) started feeling tight and kind of hurt. I thought it had something to do with my IT band so I stretched that, along with my quads and hamstrings, took a day off, wrote it off as something still to do with the marathon, done and done.

Fast forward to Monday...I planned on doing the same route, but this time the flare up happened earlier, after ~20 minutes, and I ended up cutting the run short. Tuesday similar problem after about 20 minutes, so I took yesterday off. Today, things were feeling fine and I'm thinking "well, I've been icing and stretching and even taking some anti-inflammatories for the past few days, it didn't feel as bad on Tuesday, I took yesterday off, things should be fine for a 6 or 7 miler, right?" Wishful thinking, that.

Once again, I set off and felt ZERO PAIN for the first 20 minutes. Absolutely nothing that would indicate that I was going to have a problem. After exactly 20 minutes, I could feel the tightness starting. I stopped and stretched everything...quads, hamstrings, hip flexors, IT band, name it...anything that would possibly be tightening and causing this problem. Continued on for like 5 more minutes..tightness starts up again. Stop, stretch, this time it doesn't help as much and soon the tightness has once again escalated into all out pain. [Insert screaming various expletives here. That's what I was doing in my mind.] So I ended up having to walk the 2 miles home, pretty much holding back tears the entire time. I tried to jog a couple of times and my leg just wasn't having I would go back to walking dejectedly and cursing anyone running past. It doesn't hurt when I'm walking. It doesn't hurt when I'm doing ANYTHING besides running, which is just stupid, and actually makes me even crankier because I keep thinking it's fine when it's not.

I think the level of frustration I'm feeling about this really goes beyond just the fact that "I'm cranky because I'm injured and I can't run". One problem is that I don't have any options for cross training. I just got done with 4 months of the most intense running I've ever done, and I need my daily shot of endorphins. I don't have access to a pool, which would be my #1 option for a basically injury proof workout, and something that I enjoy doing too...I'd be totally cool with taking some time off running if I could do that for 2 weeks. But...I don't. Nor do I have an elliptical, rowing machine, exercise bike, or anything else, or the money to join a place where I could have access to that kind of equipment. But I think the worst part it of all this this: I'm still unemployed, and getting more and more frustrated and angry by the day about it. I really thought I had something going, but apparently the guy has decided he doesn't want to follow through...nothing I can do about it, I guess. Anyway, hunting for a job has made me feel pretty worthless - I mean, I can't even get a job as a waitress or at a damn Starbucks for the love of God. It's just the feeling of never being good enough. Not to mention, spending my days watching TV and playing video games when I'm not looking for a job has made me feel like a piece of crap too. So running has been the ONE THING that has made me feel like I'm doing something worthwhile. That one or two or three hours a day when I can forget about all the other crap that seems to be neverending in my life. Like..."well shit, I don't have a job or money to do anything, but at least I can run 20 miles at 8:15 pace! or pass every single person I see on the reservoir! or fly down the sidewalk like there's no tomorrow! and this is FREE!" So not even being able to do that, especially when financially my shit is about to hit the fan, well, its just really freaking poor timing, I'll tell you that.

I know I should be happy that this happened AFTER the marathon and when I really have nothing to even vaguely think about training for in the next 2 months, but I'm finding it hard to see the sunny side of the situation at the moment. I'm sure running the marathon in that type of weather was enough to eff up anybody, and yeah, I suppose this is an ideal time to take some time off, but without running I have literally NOTHING to do. And when I don't have anything to do...I get bored. Which makes me cranky. And when I'm bored and cranky and jobless and don't even have the option of going out and running as fast as I can for 10 miles...well...let's just say you should probably pity the BF for having to deal with me in that state.

So if anybody has any idea what sort of mystery injury I've brought upon myself and how to fix it, go ahead and let me know. Until then I guess I'll be resting...possibly in an endless river of my own tears. Hopefully next time you here from me we will be back to our regularly scheduled, entertaining, happy, ramblings...hopefully.


Running 365 said...

I feel for you! I don't have any wisdom or advice, but I'm thinking about you. Rest your legs...I'm no expert but I think it's completely normal to have knee problems in the weeks after a marathon. A family friend who has ran 100+ marathons told my mom she must have ran too easy because she wasn't sore 3 days later. He reminded her that if you run a marathon right, your legs are wrecked for a month. So, with your finishing time, your legs have the right to be wrecked for a few more weeks.

Something good is around the corner for you! Hang on.

Lacey Nicole said...

i have an idea! this actually happened to me after my first half marathon. i had knee problems that started with my very first run back. and it was the weird location pain like you are describing, seemingly unrelated to anything i was stretching. i took a solid week off and that didn't really help, but what helped was getting a VERY painful leg massage-- calves, hammies, quads-- seriously i was like screaming inside. lol. and the next day and forever since then= zero pain.

i'm also freakishly attentive to any pain i might get in my knees cuz i tore my ACL in college and had surgery/rehab etc., so anyway-- after that massage= zero pain since. kind of incredible. maybe your muscles just need some really deep level work. and ice baths are another recommendation i would make.