After my last post, I thankfully only added 4 more days to my “still counting” tally. Now, instead of counting days since my last run, I am counting runs since my way-too-long hiatus. And I couldn’t have been happier to finally switch my Garmin to “Run” mode.
That being said, I was terrified on my first test run (June 8th) and probably would have held off much longer without a lot of urging from my physio. In fact, I didn’t even snap this picture until my second run, since I was so worried my knee would hurt and that I would somehow jinx myself by being too optimistic. (The runner’s brain – it works in mysterious ways!)
There is a fine line between being cautious/smart and being overly paranoid, and I needed the push. I needed the reassurance that if my knee bothered me, it would be okay. It would not mean that the progress we had made was meaningless and, if anything, it could help us fine-tune my treatment. We had come to a point where the best way to proceed was to try a run and see how it felt. I’ve never had a long-term injury before – in the past, it has been a few days or a couple of weeks at the most, in which case I was itching to run prematurely and needed to be reminded to be patient. This time, the injury became so imbedded in my brain that it has become just as much a mental obstacle as a physical one. My
hero physio described it breaking the injury (mental) barrier and it was time to try.
I started with 2.5K of 1&1 intervals (1 minute run, 1 minute walk) that morning, which went by too quickly but also seemed to take forever. I wanted to just keep running, but at the same time I was so hyper-alert and paranoid that part of me wanted to finish the planned run just to breathe a sigh of relief and say: “I did it! And it was okay!”
And I did just that!
My knee held up and continued to feel fine as the day went on, and I have had 6 more runs since. I’ve since progressed to 5&1 run:walk intervals and plan to maintain it for a couple more weeks. I’m on a conservative 4-week plan building up to 5K. Assuming there are no setbacks along the way, I will start phasing out the walk intervals once I get there.
I’m keeping my knee taped up for all runs right now, since it encourages correct alignment/tracking of the patella, reducing stress on the knee. Apparently it can also help with improving activation of the VMO muscle, which my physio identified as a possible cause of the issue. See: McConnell Patella Taping Method.
I also have a roster of PT exercises, which has continued to grow. The current routine includes: weighted abductor side leg lifts, weighted adductor side leg lifts, clams with resistance band, bridges with resistance band, monster walks with RB, squats, wall sits, VMO dips and some balance work that is hard to describe. I would stand on my head and sing a show tune is somebody told me it would help!
It’s not 100% and I still have some work to do, but we are making good progress and HALLELUJAH HAVE I MENTIONED I CAN RUN AGAIN?! It’s going to be a long road, but for now I am so grateful every time I get to lace up my running shoes.
In the mean time, my running group has started up again for the summer session and I tagged along on my bike for their first workout. It’s important for someone to have a camera handy during the dynamic warm-up.
Of course I wish I was running with them, but it’s much less painful being on the sidelines now that I have some hope, a plan and even a few miles under my belt.
Thank you so much for all the support over the past several months. Hopefully we will be on our way to another comeback in the near future. Stay tuned!