Tuesday, November 24, 2009

An open letter to my left knee + earliest run ever!

Dear knee,

Honestly, for the most part, you've been very good to me. You've gotten me through many, many, many miles with nary a complaint. You got me through some intense cross country and track seasons, and even training for a marathon with not an effing clue what I was doing, without making a peep. 65 mile weeks and you were totally cool with it. Sure, there were days when you were a little cranky with me, but we always managed to make amends. So what's changed, knee? Are you mad at me for only running 5 days a week lately? Were you not happy with the 5 days off I gifted you with after the marathon? Or are you pissed off that I'm trying to get my mileage back up to a respectable number after a month of crap? Because lately, knee, you've been acting like the lyrics to the song...

You're hot then you're cold, you're yes then you're no, you're in then you're out, you're up then you're down. You're wrong when it's right, it's black then it's white, we fight, we break up, we kiss, we make up.

Seriously though knee? What's going on? We've had some really great runs the past couple of weeks. When you were hurting a while back, I gave you your space. I gave it a rest. I worked my way back into your heart slowly, and you seemed cool with it. Things were just getting back to normal, knee. So where did I go wrong? Suddenly you're hurting me again, and that's just not fair. Knee, I really don't think our relationship is in a good place right now. This just isn't right. So please, for both our sakes, get it together, man up, do whatever you have to do. Because I'm getting sick and tired of pampering you and catering to your every need at every hour of the day...and I especially dislike doing this when you pick 4 miles into my run to start screaming at me. I will not tolerate this, knee. I will roll and stretch you and the muscles connected to you until you and I start to see eye to eye. Because seriously. Not cool, knee. NOT COOL.

Lovingly yours,

So yeah, I'm not real happy with my knee at the moment. I've been virtually pain free for the past 2 weeks, and now suddenly - BAM, flare-up. For now, I'm going to blame the 3 days in a row I took off while I was attempting to adjust to my new up-at-6am-hour commute-work for 7 hours-hour commute-want to sleep schedule. Yes, folks, I have rejoined the land of the employed, which is great for my bank account but not so great for my running. Because apparently my only marketable skill involves pampering puppies, I found a job at a dog groomer/kennel, which is awesome, except for the fact that it takes ~an hour to get to via a combination of 2 different trains and a bus. But then I realized something magical: the reason it takes so long to get to this place by public transportation is because it's not a straight shot - you have to go downtown and then across town and etc. Straigh there, it's a little over 6 miles. Sooo the wheels started turning in my head - obviously it would take me less than an hour to run 6 miles...get my run in AND skip a long & boring commute? Um yes please!

So I put my plan into action today and ran to work, leaving a little before 7 am. I'm pretty sure that's the earliest I've ever headed out for a run in my LIFE! And it was awesome! I think I'm really a morning person at heart, I just have to get used to going to bed early enough that I get enough sleep to not be cranky in the morning [aka, I've been going to bed at 10-10:30 lately...LAME I know but whatever...it's not like I would be doing anything at that time of night besides stupid things on the computer or whatever]. Plus, the idea of killing two birds with one run is just so enticing to me - one of the things I hate is getting home from work [when it's 4:15 and practically dark out already] and knowing I have to go for a run, in the dark, on a lame street that's lit, and I'm tired and I never want to. Especially after coming home from a job where I'm standing, squatting, bending, reining in crazy dogs who want to jump off the grooming table, and other active things all day. This way it was like...woo hoo! I'm getting to work AND my run is done for the day! That's just pure awesome right there.

It also didn't hurt that the route to my job happens to be randomly gorgeous! Some things I get to run past included: 3 different ponds, parks, the Arboretum [yes, I FINALLY found it, so next time I go on a 20 mile adventure I will turn the correct way :)], a really pretty parkway with some cool woods [and possibly trails which I may have to go exploring at some point?], another trail running along some woods...freaking amazing! Apparently there are a bunch of other parks in the vicinity so I will most likely be checking those out at some point. Hello, new marathon training routes! Unfortunately, my knee started getting cranky around pond #2, and by the time I hit the pretty parkway it was screaming at me. At that point I also thought I might be lost so I wasn't too happy about having to keep stopping to stretch and rub my leg when I wasn't even sure where I was. Luckily I was not, in fact, lost, and I somehow made it to work on time despite my crying knee. Whatever this thing is [and I still can't figure out if its IT band issues, tendinitis, or some other mystery problem], rest doesn't seem to help AT ALL. If anything, it seems to make it worse. However, running through pain like that doesn't seem like a great idea either, so what. the. effing. crap. am I to do about it? I sort of neglected my stretching the past few days, and I think that was bad, since stretching did seem to help today during my run...sooo...let's just say I will be making sure to stretch a LOT in the coming days and see what happens.

Well, the good news about the run was that aside from the poopy knee, I felt great! Morning runs may very well become a staple of my running schedule...and I think I'll like it that way.

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