Four and three and two and one...when I'm on the mic the suckas run. WORD!
Weeks of 22.75 and 26.5 since our last post, and things are looking up. I'm not ready to proclaim myself injury-free quite yet, but i'm very, very close to all systems go. Obviously, I'm still not training, but I am running.
My runs last week were interesting because the knee pain never manifested itself in the same way. It was minimal most days, but each time it seemed to appear in a different fashion. When I saw Dr. Jamie on Friday, he said that was a good sign because it meant that the issue was no longer in my knee but in something eiher above or below. And, based on what I describe to him and what he'd seen in all my visits, he worked a lot on my TFL—tensor fasciae latae, which is near the hip flexor. (I assumed TFL was the acronym for "Totally Fucked Ligament.") It made sense to me since I felt like I was getting the most from the hip flexor and quad stretches I'd been doing rather than the IT stretches. Also, he tested my strength and balance and noted that I was exactly where I should be. He said, "Well, the onus is on me to get rid of the scar tissue in your leg." In other words, I'm in the homestretch. He worked mainly on the quad-side of my IT, showed me how to foam roll my TFL and sent me on my way for 10 days. gulp Can I go without a fix for that long?
This week has been nothing but encouraging. Sunday I explored some really fun trails behind an industrial park in Waltham, MA, and it was the first run during which I experienced zero knee pain. My knee was cranky on part of my run on Wednesday, but actually felt better by the end. Two five-milers yesterday and today, and things felt perfect. All good news, and I'm ready to push out on some longer distances. For the most part, trails seem to aggravate the knee a bit more, so I've been staying away from anything too technical, but that will come.
Needless to say, there has been much planning and scheming. All along I've been looking at trying to hit 30 miles by the last week of April as my first milestone, and it looks like I should get that next week. Really happy to be at this point, and in another month, I think I'll know if I'll be ready to start training in earnest. I'm ready.
One thing to which I need to atribute my success begins with a mea culpa. I was wrong. As it turns out, just because I'd been running a certain way since...forever...doesn't mean it was right. After a lot of discussion with Dr. Jamie about my running history, my history of injuries, my physiology and physiology in general, he convinced me to take a long look at my running form. More specifically, take a look at my heel-striking. I've been heel striking since I "started" running, and I've been injured a lot. In his words: "If you're starting from scratch, you might as well really start from scratch." I took it to heart and did a ton of research. But, no, I still haven't read Born to Run. I'm not going to get a pair of Five Fingers. I'm not cutting the heels off my shoes. What I am doing is working on my posture and shifting to a midfoot strike. Thus far, it's felt very strange, but each time out something seems to click. Downhills are still odd, but they'll get better. What is really telling is that when I purposely switch back to my old stride, my knee begins to hurt within a matter of seconds. Fairly conclusive. So, not only am I building back up, but I'm building a new running style. I'm convinced that long term it's going to pay huge dividends.