After a few weeks of grappling with the fact that my running season may be over with this knee injury, I had an epiphany. I've always sort of wondered why my left knee had bothered me, but my right one didn't. My right IT band has always been tighter than the left, and I had so many peroneal tendon injuries on the right side that it just seemed that if I was going to have knee pain, it would be in that knee. Thinking back to my crappy 5 miler a couple of Mondays ago, I remember looking down at my left foot and seeing just how crooked it was (you can see this in a photo I posted a little while back too). My right foot would strike the ground at almost a perfectly straight heading. Yes, my knees do cave in and I've got the knock-knee thing going, but the foot issue seemed a bit unrelated. Why does my left foot hit the ground at this weird angle? Then it hit me... the brace. I've been running with a $50 6-year-old brace on my right ankle for years now. It was originally due to the torn peroneal tendon, but I've come to rely on it (I know, this is a big no-no in sports but I can't help it). I had just bought a new brace while picking up a knee brace at Kinemedics in Ottawa, so I had a second ankle brace floating around. It's old and ratty, but it still worked.
So this weekend I went to Washington DC to escape the cold and try a run. I strapped my right ankle brace on, then my left knee brace, then my new left ankle brace, and I took a bigass long breath and prayed for a miracle. Well, that miracle lasted an entire 4 miles. I had mapped out a nice 2 mile loop near our hotel and figured that if I got pain, at the very least it would be a short(ish) walk. I managed to do it twice (I'm glad I mapped the loop regardless... I had to make a pit stop before my second loop!). It felt amazing... there were hills, sidewalks, trails, curbs... all sorts of things that would make my knee cringe. And I did it... pretty much pain free until the last 5 min (and even then, it was a twinge, not a pain).
Today I'm facing a different type of pain. For me, it's waking up to find that you've ballooned up about 2 dress sizes. You're busting out of your bra and you feel bloated all over. This started a couple of weeks ago but I guess my body finally caught up to the fact that I had cut back on so many workouts. I actually obsessively took pregnancy tests cause the big boobs and bloating seemed to come out of nowhere (women, you have permission to hate me: when I gain weight, the first place it goes is my boobs... and that's the last place I lose the weight). Now, I finally have the ability to run again, but I'm in a crappy place physically. The burning in my throat is still there on some of my cardio sessions. I've felt so busy and have had such a hard time scheduling workouts that I keep missing things I'd like to do. I know I want to avoid being in the past, but I wish I had the same discipline as last year... I wish I had the motivation. I think a lot of it has to do with the weather up here. This winter has dragged on longer than expected and I just want the heat to be turned on. I think once it's sunny and I can get out and suck in some warm, non-gym air, things will improve. Luckily I managed to keep a 9:00-9:30 pace with the injured leg(s) and on a very hilly route this weekend, so the Scotland race isn't going to be a huge write-off, but I do wish that I had discovered this sooner so I could've prepared better. Oh well, will just make my race in 2014 all the more impressive.
My TWO best friends...