Sunday, January 22, 2012

I Knee-d to Run!

I suck at being injured.  I am cranky.  I complain.  I feel fat.  It just plain sucks. 

So here's the deal on the knee...  and keep in mind that I'm not a doctor or a PT, so this is my interpretation of what was explained to me.  I noticed that when I said "my knee gave out" last weekend, I got a lot of strange looks.  No one seemed to understand what I meant.  Or they thought I had some IT band pain or whatever.  I knew that it was not my IT band... I've had issues with that before.  My knee actually "gave out" and my leg collapsed out from underneath me while I was running.  I physically could not bear weight on my leg while running.  Obviously I could still walk, which is why it was probably so confusing to people. 

Anyway, I saw my PT on Wednesday and explained what happened ("my leg collapsed!  my knee gave out!).  He poked and prodded and easily found the tender spot on my patellar tendon.  He explained to me that the patellar tendon is the tendon that connects the quadriceps muscle to the tibia.  (Tendons connect muscle to bone, ligaments connect bone to bone.)  So basically, as I was running along, by some freak twist of fate, my tendon was pulled in just the right way between my patella and tibia that it inactivated my quadriceps muscle.  Apparently, this is one of the body's many protective mechanisms and a tendon has the ability during acute injury to shut down the muscle to which it associates.  In my case, the quadriceps.  A muscle very necessary for running. 

So I wasn't crazy.  At least not about my leg collapsing.  When my quadriceps was inactivated, the leg in running stance will collapse because it is the quad that holds the leg up.  He reassured me that there was no long term problem and I was doing all the right things to strengthen the muscle, bone, and tendon.  He told me I could continue running, but I would probably struggle with downhills.  He didn't know how right he was.  (Or maybe he did... that's why I'm paying him the big bucks.)

He did a little bit of my favorite torture (ASTYM) and taped up my knee with kinesio tape and sent me on my way.  I ran comfortably on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  On Saturday I was supposed to run a 31k trail race.  I told myself that I'd see how I felt and I could always bail on one of the shorter loops if needed. 

So I started the Coldwater Rumble on Saturday with high hopes.  I felt great until 2 miles in when we hit the first big downhill.  Instantly, my knee rebelled.  I was forced to walk the downhills, and many of the rocky not-so-down hills.  It.  Sucked.  I am used to bombing the downhills.  Hills are my strength.  I eat hills for breakfast.  Uphill.  Downhill.  I have worked really hard all year to make hills my strength when trail running. 

To be reduced to a walk was demoralizing, and just no fun.  The first aid station was about 6 miles in.  At that point I knew that I was taking the easy way out... the 19k option.  My girlfriends (who all ran the marathon last weekend) opted to shortcut with me sighting various reasons.  But I knew without me, they would have hauled butt through the 31k.  I was thankful to have them running stride for stride with me.  And the 19k provided some amazing views and one HUGE climb- which I loved.  But at the end of the day, I couldn't wait to get off the trail as 12 miles in 2 1/2 hours was just miserably slow.

I normally don't look forward to getting off the trail, but I just couldn't take a comfortable step with all the rocks and downhills on the trail.  So, I'll be sticking to flat ground for a while until I am completely OK to run downhill.  Hopefully within 2 weeks cause I've got another trail race planned...


Iron Krista, "The Dog Mom" said...

injuries SUCK! If you can get your hands on some voltaren gel, it's an anti-inflamatory (used a lot for older patients who can not take advil). You can put it directly on the patella and it will help. I use it all the time for my IT bands. It REALLY REALLY helps.

Christi said...

I hope your knee heals quickly!