Monday, June 11, 2012

Return to Running??

So, today was my first day back at running outside. For the last two weeks I have been running on the elliptical in the gym. A few weeks ago, shoot, maybe even a month ago, I 'tweaked' my left knee while I was running (in my non-running shoes - a BIG no-no that I swear I will NEVER do again). I ran my two 5Ks, but my knee was still pretty sore and tender (so the week between those races, while we were in Hawaii, I took off). I figured that my knee hasn't been giving me problems (probably because I haven't been pounding the pavement), so I would work my way back outside - thinking maybe the first week or two I would do one day outside, then the following couple weeks 2 days, and then finally work my way back up to running 3 days a week outside (while still working out and running on the elliptical in the gym to try and keep up the cardio and endurance). 

I am sure you can tell from the title (including the LARGE question marks) that it didn't go too well. Okay, let me rephrase that, I guess it didn't go how I expected it or was hoping it would go. I thought I would go out and do an 'easy' 4 miles - but things went a little differently than that. 

The first .75 miles or so went great. I was keeping a good, slow pace, my body was feeling great, the weather was good (for running - probably about 60 or so and overcast). Then around .75 or .80 miles in I could feel my knee start tightening up. [Now, I was telling a friend of mine that runs a lot about my pain and she thought that it might be my IT band, so saying 'knee' might not be 100% accurate] I kept running, but realized that the slower I was going the more it hurt, but if I sped up a little it hurt less. So I kicked up my pace a little bit. By about mile 2 the pain was intermittent. I figured I would push through it (especially since I run two miles out and then to miles back and I was still 2 miles from my car :) ). I was doing okay (meaning it was still pretty craptastic, but at least I was still running) UNTIL I had to stop at a red light. When I started up again (which was around 3.2 miles) my knee felt like it was going to give out. I ran for maybe 5 or 10 more steps and just had to stop.

I decided I needed to stop, I didn't want to tear anything, and honestly, I wasn't even sure if I would be able to run back to my car anyway. I had to 'walk it out'. Well, I walked for a few minutes and it was TERRIBLE. At some points I felt like I wasn't even going to be able to walk any further (and if you know me, you know my tolerance for pain is HIGH so it had to be bad). First, the thought that came to my mind was, 'Oh crap, I am going to have to call Ryan and have him pick me up'. Then I thought, 'Oh, double crap, I don't even have a phone to call Ryan. I wonder if I ask one of these surfers to drive me to my car if that would be okay?'. And then I realized Ryan (and my mom too) would probably kill me if they knew I was 'hitchhiking', even in Carlsbad Village.  

I realized that I would just have to tough it out and limp back to my car. After walking for about .3 miles, all of a sudden, the pain stopped. I don't know if it was God seeing that I couldn't handle another step or if it was something like my IT band that was 'caught' under my kneecap (that is only how I can describe what it felt like, not that I am a doctor and know that is what happened - if it is even physically possible) releasing or what. But I was able to walk back to my car for the last half mile or so without pain. I didn't want to push it and try to run the last half mile, in case the pain came back, but I definitely thought about it for a while. 

I know this may sound dramatic, and hey, maybe it is, but I was devastated (and still am a bit). I mean first, I have been working towards this for the last 6 months. I started walking on my lunch breaks, going to the gym and working out, running outside, etc, in January. I feel like all that I have worked for is now up in the air as a HUGE question mark - like, will I be able to run? Can I run the half marathon? Will the pain go away? Second, I really wanted running to be 'my thing'. I mean Ryan has surfing, motorcycles, art, etc as his hobbies. And I really don't have anything. I mean other than blogging and that is so cool (sense the sarcasm). I was really hoping that running could be my little outlet, my hobby. Not that I was ever planning on being great at it, but at least it was something to do. And last, I really started like running. I mean, I was amazed at what my body could do. I run in a great area (right along the beach in BEAUTIFUL Southern California) and love checking out God's creation. 

It's been about an hour since I finished my 'run'. I am still pretty upset, but at least I was able to do a few things in the meantime (shower, make dinner, get a good, long cry in). I have to say, I really don't know what the future holds for my running. I may give my knee another 2 weeks in the gym and not run outside and hope it gets better by then. I may give my knee a week or two with no working out to see if that helps. I may be run the half marathon in 3 months. I may not. 

I guess I just need to be okay with whatever happens - but it is harder said than done. Especially when you feel like what you were working towards for the last half year is just slipping through your fingers (and it was something that you were really enjoying). 

I will keep you updated on the status, but if you could keep my knee (and patience) in your prayers, that would be amazing. Thanks in advance! 

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