Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Today's Run Began Terribly, and Then... got progressively worse. But you knew I was going to say that. You knew that because of the famous, 'start slow, then ease off' mantra that so many runners follow or have heard of and follow.

The old knee is still improving, but only by fits and starts. I ran the Medina Half Marathon route with friends last Saturday without mishap, and I've been doing more and more on the mill. I'm even doing some speedwork and tempo runs on it.

There are only two problems with mill running: 1) it's not real running, and 2) it's too easy to step off or hold on. And I do number 2 all the time. Let me rephrase that. I hold on and step off the mill too often.

The one good thing about the mill, however, is that I don't have or get knee issues from it. It's only when I'm outside and on an uneven surface that I have problems. I think my knee just needs the smooth surface right now. Oh, and the mill does substitute for real runs fairly well when the weather's miserable outside. I guess that makes two good things.

Today's run began with 8 on the mill, and ended with a run outside on my 6-mile route. The mill run was actually half-way decent; the last 4 were at tempo pace. But no matter how good this run may have been, I still did too much holding on. I can't help myself.

Then came the outside part. I was a little tired after the first part, but otherwise okay. I started slow. Okay, I started extremely slow. After a third of a mile, I twisted my knee, giving me a sharp jolt of pain. I was only trying to negotiate the dark sidewalk, but this, apparently, is more uneven than the treadmill deck.

Occasionally you will hear a sports announcer say something to the effect that, 'the game was not as close as the score would indicate.' Today I did manage to keep going and finish my outside portion of the run. But my time? A new PW - 61:30 for the six miles. Don't worry. The run was much worse than the time would indicate.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

It Has a Name

And the name is... Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. It's also known as runner's knee. It's funny how putting a name to something changes the way we think about it.

I've had this pain on and off - mostly on - since last Thanksgiving. And I've had it before - about 25 years ago.

Doctor: Ever had this before?
Patient: Yes, a while back.
Doctor: Well, you have it again.

PFPS is characterized by clicking and pain due to misalignment of stuff in the kneecap. It's most painful going  down stairs and sometimes when running. Running is not bad until an uneven surface reaches up and attacks. The least little uphill or downhill can result in a very sudden and unexpected pain.

It's not too surprising, therefore, that my running, such as it was by the end of last year, is now totally down the tubes. I'm still trying to do some, but we're only talking 30-50 miles per week these days. And most of that is on the dreadmill. The mill doesn't hurt because it's as even a surface as there is. Once last week, 1/3 mile into a planned 11-mile run I stepped off the road and out of the blue experienced that sudden, awful pain. But I've had some other outdoor runs that weren't so bad - usually on weekends with friends (who humor me by letting me run and try to stay up with them).

I somehow have to get this thing under control. Maybe tomorrow I'll figure something out. Or maybe the next day.

Hinckley is Back

Okay, okay. Hinckley never really left. But a lot of us did; we hadn't been meeting there for our Sunday morning runs for quite some tim...