positive outlook

So…About that Runner’s Knee…

….I’s got itz.

Yeah. It sucks. Goddamn runner’s knee. The bane of every runner. The curse of many people who, like me, are blessed with fantastic genetics (sarcasm) and have knee issues. My brother kindly reminded me that our Grandpa had horrible knee issues (they were replaced several times I think) and so do a few aunts. This is something I need to be mindful of. Knees. You Suck.

So let me back up.

About a month ago I had my annual physical and asked my doctor about the weird knee issues I’d been having. I told her that every once in awhile I have a weird feeling in my knees where it’s like bone-on-bone grinding. It’s been a sporadic and random pain. I’ve experienced it most obviously during some hiking excursions and the descent down a mountain has not been a pleasant feeling. I also had an intense inflammation in my kneecaps after spin class last winter–again SPORADIC. It wasn’t every time, it wasn’t even once a week. It was weird and sometimes painful and I’d ice my knees and take Advil like it was candy. I never gave it much thought because it wasn’t happening very often and in general I felt really good physically. Also the reason why I’ve never really mentioned it on the blog.

I told my doctor about it and asked if I needed to get an MRI or something, or if I should be concerned. She quickly diagnosed me with runner’s knee(aka Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome). She said that it was inflammation in the tissues on the kneecap and since it wasn’t a pain I experienced all the time, she dismissed it. She told me to strengthen my quads (which I found weird considering I bike, swim, hike, run, and lift weights–aren’t my quads strong enough?!?!). I forgot about the conversation because I wasn’t currently having any noticeable knee issues.

I did the Salem metric century and felt AWESOME. Felt great afterward. I was surprised, in fact, that I didn’t have more soreness or fatigue or aches. Then two days later I get the bright idea to go for a run at the gym. I barely did 3 miles and knew that my knees were not happy campers.

I iced my knees after my run and went to bed. I woke up the next morning, they felt back to normal, and then did the 1.75 mile walk across the bridge to work like I do almost every day and half way across the bridge my knees flared up. Yep. They were angry. I spent the rest of the day in discomfort. It hurt to stand. It hurt to sit. It wasn’t excruciating pain, it was more annoying and troublesome than “oh my god this HURTS.” It’s hard to describe.

After work I went to the pool thinking it would help. I started swimming freestyle, my knees aching, and then quickly decided it was time to give my knees a rest. I used the buoy so that I didn’t have to kick or use my legs at all and just got an upper body workout. It was a nice swim, I felt good in the water, I was happy that I could kind of unwind in the pool. I swam 1 mile in 37 minutes, strictly freestyle, and then sat in the hot tub forever. Iced when I got home. Crossed my fingers the inflammation was going down. Took more Advil. Tried to distract myself with TV shows. I need to rest.

Part of me wants to tighten the reigns, reduce my calories, be mindful of what I’m eating, make those hard choices that suck (“Yes, I’ll pass on dessert tonight” and “no thanks, just water for me”)…and the other voice in my head is saying “Honey, you’ve been here before and you did NOT gain weight when you had to stop running. In fact, you lost weight.”

I think there is a happy medium in there somewhere. Yes, I need to be a little more mindful of my calories. But, I know I can do some activities while I let my knees heal, however long that is. I can lift weights (upper body only) and swim and be as content as can be (been there, done that).

I’m trying to look at this situation as not a permanent, heartbreaking thing like how I felt with my ITB injury two years ago. When that happened and my doc said stop running for two months, I fell into a depression that lasted about two weeks and I pulled myself out of it by starting to lift weights. I’m hoping that this time around I have the skills to NOT slip into that depression and stay positive as I heal. I could definitely use some encouraging words, if you’ve experienced this and came out a winner! 

The plan right now is to take a break from running and the bike. I’m actually ok with taking a break from cycling because I did it so much this summer. I’m ready for a change. I am bummed about the running. I was kind of looking forward to making the switch to that this fall.

QUESTION: Tell me some good stories of healing!