Monday, April 25, 2011

So does this mean I'm a runner?

So it's been a week and my knee still hurts ... shit!

I can walk without discomfort, but even walking for an extended period I feel like something in  my knee is rubbing.  Standing up, sitting down, going up stairs or up a hill and going down stairs or down a hill cause pain :-(

I went to the doctor today and he either told me to get a condo in Malaysia or that I had chondromalacia.  I remember hearing the term from David on the old site and had a basic idea of what it was.  The doctor gave a really good explanation and filled in the blanks in my memory ... then he told me I should be icing it ... shit, I hate icing ... then he told me no running for at least a week, but I'm supposed to keep walking.

I looked up chondromalacia when I got home to fill my head with more useless information and on a couple of sites they call it "Runner's Knee."  So does this mean I'm a runner?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

So how do I balance ...

... the desire to train and improve despite the occasional discomfort associated with endurance training and the concern, or sometimes plain paranoia of injuring myself?

I remember David constantly saying, "Pain = bad."

My head knows that there will be an expected soreness ... My self competitiveness wants me to push despite the discomfort, after all it will go away won't it?  My fear or imagination kicks in and says, "Remember a few years ago?  You thought that would go away and you wound up on the bench for almost a year..."

So again I ask, how do I balance all this?

Today on what was supposed to be the longest run to date, Andrea and I were using a much slower paced strategy - ensuring we walked as much as possible up the hills, controlling our pace down the hills and making sure we used our walk breaks early in the run to ensure we still had energy at the end of the run. 

Problem 1 - I was wheezing all over the place again!  Why?!?!  My sinuses were clear, it wasn't too hot, there wasn't a nasty headwind ... why do I keep wheezing early in the runs?  This lasted for nearly 8k before it finally started to ease up.  It's really starting to drive me nuts.

Problem 2 - Somewhere around 10k I felt something in my right knee.  Not like a horrible pain, but something different than I'm used to.  We slowed to a walk, but that didn't seem to relieve the sensation ... then it got a little more tender.  Again, not what I would call bad pain, but it did hurt.  After a short rest we started to walk - it did alright.  We even managed to get in a few run segments and it wasn't too bad, but under greater stress of going up a very slight incline it hurt more.  We chose to break off the run at 12.75k

My paranoia won today.

There does seem to be a bit of pain during transitions from one activity to another ... from sitting to standing I can feel it, but once I'm up it's alright.  From standing to walking, the first couple steps twinge a bit but then subside.  From standing to sitting there is another twinge.

It's almost like there is one spot slightly to the medial aspect on the bottom of the patella that twinges.  If I could curl one finger just under the kneecap at about the 4:30 position (if you were looking at my knee from the front ... and I was wearing shorts ... and if this were the case I'd suggest you wear sunglasses because my legs are something beyond white) ... anyway, if I could do that I could touch the one spot that hurts.

Now at this point I'm desperately hoping somebody with medical knowledge steps forward and says, "It's nothing to worry about.  Just take some advil and you'll be alright."

And for the record I don't want to hear, "Get to the doctor."  "You better get it checked."  "Uh-oh, that could be bad." or anything else that implies that there may actually be a problem.

We'll see how it feels tomorrow :-(

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Answering some questions:

Jen - As I've said many times, understanding what the problems are and knowing what to do about them are two completely different things.

This last week was basically a recovery week - a couple of run / walks but nothing major.  This was not completely by choice - I had yet another week of chasing my tail trying desperately to go back in time and find as much information on events that happened anywhere from 2 hours to 2 days earlier and my drivers chose not to report them.  This included an obligatory drive around the county looking for more mystery objects that seem to cause damage to our buses when nobody is looking.  At this point I would be content with a week that only had 3 Mondays in it.

Yesterday's run was postponed because both Andrea and I were not feeling great.  Today we did a 15k and experimented with slightly different run / walk strategies.  Part of the change in strategy was due to another bout of unusual wheezing - the wheezing was due to smoke in the air from a nearby orchard or field burning vegetation.  This wonderful strategy ... Walk more up the hill so my breathing wouldn't be as labored under the more stressful parts of the run.  The result ... the 15k took 4 minutes longer than our best 15k a couple weeks ago.  I had more energy and had faster run segments during the second half of the run despite the wheezing issue.

Heart rate, sinuses and hydration were not an issue this week, but it was much cooler, a shorter run and i less horrible hill.  Next week will be yet another longer run, but there will only be one hill to deal with.

As far as the question of what will I do if? ...

The odds of all those same factors happening again on race day or something less than slim ... especially the eating something horribly stupid the night before the run.  However, if everything does go wrong I only have 2 choices - quit or try to finish.

Hydration is honestly my biggest concern.  I sweat a lot - much more than normal people seem to and I always walk the fine line between water-logging myself and not drinking enough to function well.  Being aware of how I feel and what my body is saying - taking the time at the water stations and so forth are the obvious solutions to this issue.

My sinuses are always a crap-shoot ... OK ... that sounds wrong :-/  Anyway, I always have some sinus issue going on so minimizing the potential impact is something I'm pretty used to.  The wheezing on the other hand ... well ... if it continues to be a worsening problem I might have to visit my doctor one last time before June :-/

All I can do is keep doing what I'm doing.  Prepare the best that I can and do the best that I can on the big day.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I guess ...

... from a scientific perspective Saturday's run was a success

Training Stats:

Thu - 50 min elliptical and 10 min treadmill cool down
Fri - Chasing hawk friend 3o min (see pics below)
Sat - Run / walk, half marathon distance :-/

Unfortunately I am not a scientist, so yesterday's run pretty much sucked.  I just can't get myself to say, "Even though I didn't get the results I wanted or expected I learned something so I can say it was successful."

My heart rate began to race shortly after we headed up the first hill.  There was a pretty substantial headwind, and my heart rate and breathing both suffer under those circumstances ... Whatever.  My legs went absolutely rubbery around the 13k mark while heading up hill #3 and never really recovered.  But really the worst dagger to my pride was we ended our run less than 1k short of the goal distance (our own personal sag wagon picked us sp, burritos from the local market waiting for us) and we were nearly 30 min slower than what I was hoping for, even though we hit the first 3.5k faster than any other week :-(

In hind sight there were some positive results from the debacle.  Despite the fact that we walked more than half the total distance and up every hill (and down 1) we stayed ahead of pace until after the halfway point.  Even though my legs felt wiped out I was able to keep a relatively brisk walking pace.  And maybe the most encouraging point was my legs recovered very quickly.  After my recovery burrito and a nap I felt pretty darn good.  In fact my legs feel better today than they did at the beginning of the run yesterday.

I guess what still bugs me is not knowing for sure why it happened.  Maybe I was just too amped up for the distance ... Or possibly the events of a long and arduous week at work finally caught up with me. 

I may have been on the verge of dehydration.  I know when Pam picked us up I couldn't get enough water fast enough, and once I got some water in me I started feeling better.  Probably having sushi for dinner and the obligatory 2.3 gallons of soy soy sauce that go with it for dinner Friday was probably not a good idea. 

In my hazy recollection of the not quite awake minutes after I got out of bed I may have taken a Sudafed.  Our grass was cut Friday, and that made my sinuses go funky, so I may have habitually taken one just because I was still feeling the residual allergy effects.  It also seems like every other house and half the parks and schools either had a lawn mower running or smelled like freshly cut grass.  These issues would explain the runaway pulse and the extra wheezing.

I worked harder during the week than I have in a long time.  Every day my legs were tired from some form of training.  I also had some trouble sleeping several nights this week - I figure it was due to the worse than average drama at work and swirling around Pam and her mom.  All these factors could account for the unusual tiredness and the rubbery legs.

Whatever the reason or combination of reasons I consider the run something just slightly better than a failure.  I am not looking for, nor would I be content with saying, "If it weren't for ..." (fill in the blank) I would have done great.  I need to be able to push through despite adversities.  If any, or all of these factors pop up on the big day I need to be able to function properly. 

At least I did not give up at 13k when things got really rough.  I walked, but I didn't quit ... that is a bright point in what was a really disappointing run.