Monday, May 21, 2012

Countdown to Ironman, Week 5: Why I've Been Avoiding My Doctor

I have been running for 30 years, and I have never had knee problems, even during these years when I've trained for marathon or Ironman distance races. So frankly, I'm a little pissed off that my knee has turned traitor on me. I shouldn't blame it though, it's not my knee's fault. Nor is it really my fault. Chalk it up to an accident.

It all started a few weeks ago when I went for a bike ride just after getting my new bike. An hour or so out, my back started hurting. Then really hurting. Well, I thought, of course it's hurting. It's a new bike. Although I set it up very similar to my old position, it's going to be slightly different. Then my back hurt worse, and worse, and worse. So I did the sensible thing (for once), I turned around and cut my ride short, heading home. When I got home, I discovered that my seat (which I had adjusted and, I thought, tightened down) had slid backwards on its rails until it was all the way back. Not good. But I still didn't think much of it.

The next day, I went for a two hour run.

An hour later, I was in knee hell, and I haven't gotten out of it since. My best guess is that for an hour or so on that bike ride, while my seat was slid all the way back, I was hyper-extending my knee ninety times a minute. That's usually not a good thing. Now my knee is pissed off at me, and every time I push it, it gets mad.

This is not good when you're five weeks out from an Ironman.

The best thing would be to go to a doctor. But then the doctor might tell you something you don't want to hear. Something like "Don't keep training for an Ironman, stupid. Spend the next five weeks resting your knee instead." Surely, ignorance is better than that. Except that the knee didn't stop hurting.

So today I went to the doctor. He took some X-rays.

And thankfully told me that nothing is seriously wrong with my knee. I haven't torn any meniscus, haven't blown any bursa, haven't decimated any cartilage. In fact, my knees, and the nice thick bones and cartilage surrounding them look quite robust and healthy, especially considering the 30 years of running I've put on them. I have just irritated some tendon/ligament attachment points. Of course, the doctor did say that training really really hard for an Ironman right now is probably not the best thing I could be doing.

But he didn't tell me I had to stop.

I'll count that as permission. Basically, he said "let your pain and discomfort be your guide". If I had gotten in to see my regular doctor, he'd probably know better than to say that. Because what's a little pain when you've got an Ironman to finish? But seriously, I am going to take it easier, going to throw a light training week in this week and do my best to rest, ice, stretch, massage, and baby my knee so it stops being mad at me and cooperates, at least through 140.6. Then it can have a nice vacation!


Marv said...

It is amazing how "little things" like the seat sliding back can impact so. I am glad you got "permission" to go ahead and train.

ChrisB said...

Sometimes its a nice change-up to take a week to focus on swimming while riding/running take a backseat, then take a week to focus on biking while swimming/running take the back seat, then take a week for running where the other two take a back seat.