State Of The Union (State Of My Crappy Knee) / What My Summer Looks Like

It’s time for my next “traditional” blog post where I fill you in on what’s been going on with me, what I have on the horizon, what I’m currently training for, etc.

So, in the time since my last post, there’s been some stuff going on. I have made reference to my bum knee/ arthritic knee in the past, but things kind of came to a head 4 days into my RW Summer Run Streak and cut that short before it even really began. My knee swelled up and started causing some big time pain. This lasted for a few days which prompted me to utilize the follow-up with the orthopedic doctor that I had available in case things started to give me problems again.

So I headed back to the doc and after a new set of x-rays and a through exam, the situation is this: I have 3 separate things going on, but all are kind of related and overlapping. One I can’t really do anything about and the others I can. The non-fixable issue is called Chondromalacia (Con-dro-my-al-sha), which (in actual English) means I have a breakdown of the cartilage behind my kneecap. This is not a running specific thing and was not caused by it.  I have crappy genetics to thank for that one. It is what it is, and I can’t fix it. I had the option to get Cortizone shots, but I elected to pass on that for now. I want to see if I can’t fix this mess on my own before I resort to alternate means. And fixing this mess on my own leads me to the two things that I can actually affect some real change on. The second thing I have going on is Patellar Tendonitis. Again, translating that to words that non medical people can understand: The Patella is the muscle that is largely responsible for keeping your knee and kneecap straight in line when you are running. I have put extra stress on mine to the point where I have overworked it because of the 3rd thing I have going on. When I run, my kneecap tends to roll to the outside of my leg a bit. This is most likely caused by a combo of a few things. 1.) Strength: My legs, butt, and core are not strong enough.2.) Flexibility: I am not flexible enough, particularly in the hips. And 3.) my running form is not optimal for reducing undue impact on the already susceptible (crappy) knees. Yes, my knee still hurts like hell, but I am exceptionally hopeful and anxious to get back into things. I have been sitting for over a week and I miss the hell out of running already. Physical therapy starts next week and I am ready to get going and kick its ass. I have been saying that this summer is going to be dedicated to becoming a better runner, this really just gave me a good shove in that direction. I’m now looking at a few months of being dedicated to getting stronger, more flexible and most likely running no longer than a 5K.

As for my immediate future:
So it’s now time for me to get serious and take some measures to improve/ protect the knee and become the best/ smartest runner I can be. That means utilizing everything available to me to aid in the performance and support while running. I’m building up my legs and core. Looks like I’ll be rocking the compression sock pretty much all the time. I will be becoming a tape expert. And exploring any and all means available to make sure I’m in peak condition.
Not coincidentally, be on the lookout for product reviews in the immediate future for: KT Tape, Spun Performance Compression Gear, 110% Compression Sox & Ice system, and the Triggerpoint “The Grid” foam roller.

As for looking ahead:
If you know me, you know I am always working on the next plans and this is no exception. There were two other takeaways that I walked out of that doctor’s office with, and both have me EXTREMELY fired up and dying to get back out on the road.

First and Foremost, a marathon is not off the table. I repeat, a marathon is NOT off the table. I kind of assumed it was, but to my severe delight I will be able to chase down that final goal. Not tomorrow, mind you, but eventually. And with the caveat that I do it the right way. In the words of the doc (after we had been speaking frankly for the duration of the appointment), I will need to take my time, train up to the distances slowly, and be “strong as hell” to compensate for my knee issues, but it’s an attainable goal, and one that I will hit. Not this year, but I am saying that before I turn 40, I will be a marathoner. I’m 36 now. 4 years to get it, and I am going to do it. Suck on that, crappy knee.

And secondly, he made the recommendation that I do not give up running, however he advised that I find other means of being active to replace a portion of  (and compliment) the running. Means that are not body weight bearing, so that I am not putting myself in a situation where’s it’s all pounding, all the time on my knees. The two suggestions he threw out there specifically were swimming and biking. Both of these are great ways to get a workout in while sparing my knees the wear and tear that running brings with it. These two things are also, coincidentally, the other 2 legs that make up a Triathlon. And yes, I am 100% on board and will be aggressively be chasing this new goal down. I am very realistically looking at a Sprint Triathlon for Spring 2014 and an Olympic Triathlon for Fall 2014.

Big Andy the Triathele….I like the sound of that.  Sounds pretty badass I think.

Actually, my 2014 calendar seems to be pretty well full already.

There are a few races that I want to continue, and then when you add in the others that I want to do, I am looking at a fantastic year. Phillies 5K, UCP 5K, Broad Street, Sprint Tri, Olympic Tri, and the Runner’s World Half and Festival “Hat Trick” are looking to fill out 2014. (The Hat Trick is going to be awesome, by the way. 2 days, 3 races, 5K,10K,& a Half. 22.4 Miles in the span of 48 hours. I’m really looking forward to pushing myself and seeing just how much I can accomplish) I am getting some pressure to add in the Philly Marathon, but we’ll see on that one. (So no promises Rock, but if I can do it, you know I’ll be there with you)

That’s me and what I am looking at in a nutshell for the summer. It’s not sexy, and I have no races to speak of all summer. I do still have the Runner’s World “Five and Dime” in October where I will be running back to back 5K and 10K races, but nothing until then except for PT, and working my way into being bigger, faster, stronger.

So that’s the state of affairs on my world right now. Crappy knee is still dragging me down but I’m dealing with it, and as long as I take my time, do it right, and don’t do anything stupid to do more damage the time invested now will pay dividends far into the future. -Granted, I’m losing my mind right now with being severely limited and having a forced rest period…but staying smart and not going out too soon. The last thing I need is to get antsy, push too hard too fast and end up hurting myself. I want to get strong enough that I can run some on my vacation down on the Jersey Shore. I did it last year and nothing beats running by the ocean. But again, PT starts next week and I’ll know more after that initial appointment.

For now I’ll be playing the hand that I’m dealt. I won’t be logging insane amounts of miles, but then again I never expected to anyway. Looking forward to (yet again) pushing into the unknown and trying new things… and kick some ass along the way.

Thanks for reading, and until next time, take it easy.

Andy

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One response to “State Of The Union (State Of My Crappy Knee) / What My Summer Looks Like

  1. Sucks about the knee, but you will love tri training. Well… you will like biking, hate swimming, but love the results. Just remember to keep at it, and don’t blow off the pool time. Also, if either of your tri’s are in open water, try to get some open water time, it will really help your confidence.

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