Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sweet Relief

I thought I was going to lose it. Thirty-six hours without the Internet. That’s 3-6... h-o-u-r-s. HOURS, people!

Now, I’m not a "junkie," per say. I can go on vacation just fine and sustain sanity sans the Web for days upon days. But just hanging out... alone... in my apartment? I need to be connected. Luckily I was fairly distracted Saturday and Sunday.

Not-So-Sweet Sixteen
I woke up on Saturday morning at 5:30am to more Chicago "weather" (still, or maybe, again). Without lightning though, you better believe we would run in the rain. In fact, Saturday was my first experience running in this particular element, and I have to admit, that part... not so bad. Eventually it cleared up, and really, the weather – overcast and just a little chilly -- was almost perfect for running 16 miles.

That is, if I had made it 16 miles.

I bailed just shy of six. And the saddest part of this story is that I felt great. I felt rested, and hydrated, and all around good... except for one tiny, little thing... my left knee. Shortly after we passed the marker that indicated we were 5.5 miles down, I felt it. Well, I felt it the entire time, but I really felt it at 5.5. My body gave into the pain, and my run became less of a run and more of a limp. I knew I had to stop. By the time I made it back to civilization – a mile back the way I came (OK granted, it’s hard to lose civilization in the middle of Chicago) – I was having trouble walking.

I’d rather this not be a hard lesson learned. You have to know when it’s time to give in (and give up) to the pain. Risking injury at this point is way worse than not logging mileage when I still have a good five weeks to go.

Once home, in the forty minutes I had before The Great Internet Failure of 2007 began, I scoured the Web for answers. By all accounts, I have iliotibial (IT) band syndrome, which can be caused and/or aggravated by a number of things, including wearing ill-fitting running shoes.

We runners... we always end up here don’t we?

I’ve been wearing the Saucony’s Hurricane 7 since about three months into my life as a runner. Anyone who runs will tell you this: Get good running shoes. Get fitted by someone who is trained to fit people in running shoes at a reputable running store. Spend the money. It is worth it. And you will learn the hard way.

I have hearted my Saucony’s and stuck with them (on pair number three or four now) for a year and half – through two half marathons, countless training runs, and about a 15 pound weight lose.

It occurred to me -- while reading about common knee injuries -- that it might just be time for a change. So, after icing my knee and popping some serious Advil, I headed up to Fleet Feet with my running bud Meg. As it turns out, my Saucony’s very well could have caused the problem with my knees, or at the very least, were contributing to it.

I’ll try to explain as best I can my understanding of what was going wrong: When you get fitted with running shoes, the fitter will actually watch you run first. By analyzing how you run (your "gait"), they will detect any weakness, and fit you in a shoe that compensates for that weakness (At some point during this process I commented that I wished “there was a running shoe for life.”). As it turns out, my gait is neutral, and my shoe was compensating for a problem I no longer had. Basically, this over-compensation was straining my IT band, which connects from the hip down the leg past the knee.

Isn’t that fascinating? It’s amazing to see how connected your body is. They way you land on your feet can expoliate a weakness in your hip, which ultimately, manifests itself as pain in your knee! OK… I’m not sure that’s entirely accurate, but whatever, it’s still fascinating.

Regardless, I am in LOVE with my new shoes. Before I go for another run though, I’m going to discuss the pain with TR, and possibly make an appointment with a PT this week. A couple of opinions couldn’t hurt, right? Cross your fingers for me. I want to be healthy and strong for our 18 miler next Saturday. I have a feeling that I’m going to be fine.

Ready to Rumble
Fine is relative.

So, a few weeks ago, it came to the attention of @ and I that a flag football team in our neighborhood was in need of a few good women. Naturally, as we are so athletically inclined, we decided that we were the very women they needed.

We were in, and today was our first practice. Yes, today, as in the day after I crawled up the stairs to my 2nd floor apartment because my knee was in so much pain from running. Perhaps not one of my best laid plans?

Truth is my knee felt fine today, but I warned Coach that with the marathon training, I may have to take it easy in practice and the first two games of the season. Still, it was our first practice, and I wanted to bring it.

Turns out, football is not something I’ve played before, and it seems as though all of that sprinting and turning and catching and coordinating engages muscles that I’m not exactly used to using. I’m a bit surprised. I work out a fair amount. I lift weights, and mix it up from time time (like with Xtreme pilates). I run arguably far on a regular basis.

Apparently, all that doesn't really matter. I have not been in this much pain since… well, I honestly can’t remember the last time I was in this much pain. It’s my inner thighs and neck mostly. To lift my legs – say if I want to cross them or prop them up – I actually have to physically pick it up and move it to the desired location. Not a good sign. I have a feeling TR is going to be none too pleased when he hears about this.

Oh well.

Football – after competitive/contact cheerleading – is my favorite sport and I wanted to play it. I’ll manage. Even if I end up warming the bench the first couple of games.

The Bright Side
Somehow, in the midst of this Internet outage, I managed to screw with my network so much that I somehow ended up with my wireless actually working in my apartment. So, yes... right now... I am laying in bed, typing this, ready to post, thinking about how I should have gone to sleep two hours ago.

Sweet... sweet... dreams...


L Sass said...

Oh. My. God. We are twins. I ended up having to walk the last 10 miles of my first marathon.

I had IT band problems.

I was wearing Saucony Hurricane 7s.

My problem, though was that the Sauc's didn't do enough for my crazy, out-of-control pronation. Now I'm in a great pair of Asics and life is much better.

I'm so glad you got the shoe thing figured out before the marathon (unlike me, who waited until the day after the race to see the doctor.)

Just make sure you have lots of vaseline and moleskin along for the break-in blisters.

Lindy said...

Glad it seems to just be the shoes! I love my Asics. Funny thing, I headed over to Fleet Feet too and got a new hydration system!

See you Saturday!

Nikkie said...

You are inspiring me! Even though I'm still getting over this respiratory thing, I brought my running shoes (and clothes) to work and plan on having a jog along the lake after work today. BTW, I run in the Asics Cumulus and they are super comfortable.