Last week's 12 miler - while mentally essential - made it very apparent that my knee pain hadn't gone. While it was not too painful while I was out running, I woke up the next morning with a warm feeling behind both of my kneecaps.. Aarggh. Ibuprofen, ice etc. did nothing to take away my nagging realisation that I was indeed injured. Properly. A feeble 4 miles on Sunday firmed it all up - there was something here that was not going away.
You've all been able to follow my avoidance of seeing anyone knowledgeable on the matter. But on Wednesday I finally saw a physiotherapist at our local sports injury clinic. He really took his time checking out my knees, my legs, my feet, my stance and finally, when I was flexing and relaxing my upper leg and he had his fingers underneath my kneecaps you could just see my kneecap moving from left to right. It's not meant to do that folks - it's meant to go just up and down, not across. Why is this happening? Various reasons - tight ITB and underdeveloped muscles on the inside of my knee / leg (adductors?). Fairly typical for a runner, apparently, but also problematic. Apparently the problem has probably been growing for years and now it is really beginning to raise its ugly head. My "hot" knees obviously means there is some inflammation and more than 8/9 mile runs cause pain during and after the run. Of course my first question to the man was what to do about this. The answer is - work on loosening the ITB and strengthening the adductors. How long will this take? 3 months at least, he thinks. My second question to him was, of course, what about running London? Now the guys deals only with sports injuries. He's quite used to people who are training for an event and who want to do these things at any cost. So he said I could run it - if I could stand the pain of training and the race - but it would exacerbate the problem and make for at least a 6 month recovery. And, in his view, if I didn't take the problem seriously soon I was heading for a situation where I a) couldn't run at all and / or b) needed knee surgery. Well - I made my decision there and then to drop out of London. Not an easy one and not lightly made. But, finally, inevitable. Running is for life - I want to carry on doing it for a long time. I have no desire to be in enormous pain doing it, nor do I want to find myself in a situation where I am physically unable to do it. I have to do my thrice daily exercises, my hourly stretches and work on these. He thinks that within a week or two the swelling will have gone down enough for me to be able to slowly add short runs, and to build it up slowly alongside the stretching and strengthening. I will hopefully have other opportunities to run London and am now firmly aiming to be ready to start training, fit and strong, for Chicago this summer.
However. However. I am letting some people down here. Save the Rhino gave me a gold bond place to run the race for them. I vowed to raise money for them and many of you have already made a donation. The money raised has already gone directly to the charity. I do appreciate however, that some of you may feel that if I'm not running the race you would like to divert your sponsorship to someone who is, or to another worthy cause. If you feel that way please e-mail me and I will personally refund your donation.
What a few weeks these have been! I feel battered around by events. And I'm not able to take it all out on the road for the time being. However, I've seen my admirable friend Susan cope with injury and setback and I'm taking her as an example. I WILL do everything my physio says to do, I WILL crosstrain in the meantime and I WILL be back out there on the road. So go out there, enjoy your runs and stay tuned - I think I will need to blog more without the distraction of the exercise I love more than any other..