My Stupid Knee & What’s Next

My next training run following the Calaway Gardens Marathon is just an easy six-mile loop from my house. About four and a half miles in, my run becomes a limp. I have to walk home for the pain in my knee. I had plans to run at least six miles a day, Monday through Friday, and long runs on the weekends so as not to repeat the unprepared misery of the last race. Now pain in my right knee prevents me from running further than a mile. My next race, the Cummins Falls Marathon, is quickly approaching. I decide to go and attempt it. With a six hour cutoff I can literally walk for the entire race if I have to. At least that will buy me a little more time for healing before the intense trail marathon I am signed up to run in March.

Physical therapy hasn’t fixed it. Neither has just waiting it out. I paid for three more races I didn’t even start (four if you count the Mississippi Blues Marathon, which was cancelled). I just tried to run again a few days before writing this, and the knee pain is back. I think I may need to go see a sports medicine doctor for a diagnosis instead of jumping straight to PT like I did with a self-diagnosis. I’ve been assuming it is my IT band, but now I’m doubting myself. I just discovered that when I pull my knee to my chest the knee joint pops in and out of place. I’ve had issues in the past with my hip as well – there’s a tear in my greater trochanter that I was told in high school would never heal and might bother me, but that shouldn’t keep me from doing anything. Maybe an orthopedic doctor can help me.

I’ll have a baby to take care of shortly – our first. My wife looks beautiful, just over a month away. She has stayed active, eaten healthy, enough, not too much. It’s impressive. She’s planning on a natural birth with no interventions, likely not even in a hospital, her own sort of ultra marathon it sounds like from the awesome online natural birth class we’ve been taking. I’m not very healthy right now, and I’ve barely exercised for months. It’s past time to do something about it, even if running isn’t an option.

Maybe cycling? I don’t like cycling as much as I do running. It’s the mechanical element, the knowledge base required to get started, the many choices for frames and components, the cost of entry, and the upkeep. I love to just throw on shoes and go for a run with nothing but my body and some light clothes – anywhere, anytime. Cycling isn’t that easy. There’s a group in town that rides together three times a week. One of them has been encouraging me to go, and I know a few others that ride with them. Great people. I fixed up my old ’80s Fuji at the Town Hill Bicycle Shop in Sparta, TN, but it was pretty uncomfortable after 20 miles. I think it’s too small for me, and it’s definitely past it’s prime. I had Shawna come pick me up. She wants me to go ahead and invest in a nice new bicycle. I probably will. Even if I do run, I think it’d be good for me to be in this cycling group.

I failed my running resolution, completing just one race of twelve. Sometimes it’s not up to us whether we finish what we set out to do. I’m not disappointed in myself, but I am disappointed. Now, I just hope I can keep running in general.

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