Getting Back on the Horse

It’s been months since I posted here. It just hasn’t been a priority with so much going on lately. I thought I’d pop in and do a little update post-surgery.

Surgery was back on November 7th. What was supposed to be a quick, get in, pull out the floating body, sew it up, turned out to be a little more invasive. When they got into my knee, they saw some cartilage damage from my 20 year old injury and the floating body. In order to help it regenerate a bit, they did some microfracturing. When I woke up from the anesthesia, I was disappointed to learn it would be at least three to four weeks until I would be able to run. I left on crutches which was unexpected, and I was in some pain. The pain meds did a number on my stomach so after the first two days, I stopped taking them.

Over the next week I started doing a series of recommended exercises to get mobility back in my knee. After my first post-op, I was told that I could ride a stationary bike, very slowly an with no resistance. They also told me I was going to have to wait three to five more weeks to run. WHAT?! That was a blow. Not that I was ready to run just yet, but I started to panic as I was suppose to start marathon training the first week of January.

I listened though. I rode that stationary bike and started walking on the treadmill. A few weeks later, I was given the ok to start running. My first run was on the indoor track of our local sports dome. It felt strange and stiff, but the longer I ran, the better it started to feel. I covered about three miles that morning and had a huge smile on my face.

After that run I followed up with the coach I’d contacted a few months prior. I had decided I would need help getting back from surgery and I also needed help breaking through my plateau. He started me run/walking and after a few weeks of that, slowly (both pace and distance) building a base so I could safely start marathon training. I happy to report, things are going well thus far. My legs are tired but I haven’t had any pain. I don’t have that little floating fragment pulling at my tendons which is awesome. My IT band gets so from time to time, but I figure that’s normal considering they cut through it.

I’ll report back soon about how marathon training is going thus far, how it’s different from what I’ve been doing and why as a coach, I wanted a coach.

A stick in the tendon

Twenty years ago I fractured near the patellar surface of my femur. It’s a long story, but I may be the only girl to ever sustain such an injury at a Bat Mitzvah. After a long winter on crutches and a brace that my Jankos (they were cool back then) were wide enough to accommodate, I thought I was healed. Are you laughing harder at how I sustained my injury or my super cool fashion choices at 13? Looking back it’s both funny and embarrassing.

Well as it turns out, not everything was back to normal. About three years ago, in the midst of a speed interval, I felt a sudden popping sensation followed by an intense burning down from my knee down the left side of my shin. I stopped, stretched and continued running at a steady pace rather than my intervals. Over the past few years I’ve been experiencing this same thing more and more. Sometimes it even locks a bit. After avoiding going in to have it checked out, I finally decided after Boston I had to go in.

After an MRI, we found that a piece of my femur completely disconnected from where it originally fractured and is floating around near my kneecap, occasionally tangling itself in some tendons. This means two things: it can be removed, but it also means that I will eventually need a bigger knee surgery. I scheduled the first surgery for early November. I want that annoying little fragment gone.

The second surgery will involved drilling a hole in the right side of my femur where the bone is larger and is not as weight bearing. They will then take the bone they remove and pack it in the ‘pothole’ where the bone separated after my fracture. That will give me more strength and stability. This surgery also means I will be down for the count for 4-6 months. That’s not really conducive to our lifestyle with two young kids. Since I’m asymptomatic, the orthopedic surgeon said I could put it off until I develop symptoms which could be in a year, five, 10 or more years from now. Phew.

I’m a little nervous.  I’ve never had surgery before. I’ve had several nightmares that they do the major surgery instead of just the fragment removal. I should probably just call the office to reconfirm again to alleviate my concerns. Hopefully all goes well and recovery is speedy.

A Knee(ded) Update

Here it is. I just have to make it to my taper. As much as I HATE tapering, I’m doing it and I’m going to do it the way my plan says I’m to do it.

After three rest days in a row and slightly reduced mileage last week, I tackled my long run on Sunday. I had 20 miles on my schedule but I went out with the attitude that I’d do what I could and stop when I needed. Not being injured was way more important than hitting the 20 mile mark.

I didn’t start until 2:30pm. I ran from my house to the gym which was about 2.35 miles or so. I felt great. I looked down and was surprised that I was easily running just about an 8:30 pace. Ok, it was just 2 miles. It was a hot two miles though, I believe about 95 degrees.

I got to the gym and started right up on the dreadmill. I put myself at an easy 9:40 pace hoping that if I slowed down a little bit my knee ache wouldn’t flare up. I also took this opportunity to try out new fuel since I’ve been having troubles with long run fuel. No better time to try something new than when you have a bathroom just 30 feet away. I gave the chocolate and peanut butter flavors of GU a shot. The verdict, the chocolate is amazing! It felt like someone packaged up chocolate frosting as a special treat for running for a long time. It also did not hurt my stomach and gave me the energy boost I needed. The peanut butter, not sold on. I’m switching from Shot Bloks to Chocolate GU. Done and done.

I had run about 6 miles total when I took my first gel. I walked while I ate it then paused the treadmill to stretch. I was a little tight but nothing major. I repeated this again at 12 miles. At 18 miles I stopped, stretched and decided that if I ran home I’d get in my 20 miles.

By the time I was off the treadmill and made a bathroom stop, my knees were TIGHT. It wasn’t quite painful to walk but it didn’t feel good. So instead of running the last two miles home, I walked. Technically still getting in all 20 miles, but not running them all.

I stretched and iced as soon as I got home. I also may have eaten half of a Newman’s Own pizza that Josh had sitting out when I got home. Not the most nutritious but I was ravenous. Monday is always a rest day for me, so I did just that. I rested, iced and foam rolled.

Tuesday morning I was still feeling a bit achey. I elevated my leg at work and then foam rolled when I got home. I successfully completed my 12×400  @ 7:30 speed workout for a total of 7.25 miles last night. It should have been about 7.75 with a one mile cool down, but I just did a 1/2 mile cool down with 5 minutes of walking at the end. Again, stretched and iced.

This morning I am happy to report the knee is feeling good. I’m going to continue to ice and foam roll. This week is my final taper week before my last long run. Only 15 miles to run this weekend. I can do it and I can do it well.

We’ll see how I feel once I hit the taper. If my knee is flaring I’ll likely replace my weekday runs with cross-training and extra strength training and just do a long run on the weekends. We’ll see how it all plays out. I’m just so relieved that I have not been completely sidelined (knock on wood).

Knowing when to rest

You may have noticed there was something missing from our mini-holiday recap. I didn’t fail to mention my long run, because I didn’t do one. It was a taper week, with 15 miles on the schedule. I wasn’t just being lazy, I was being cautious.

You see after my 19 mile run almost two weeks ago, my knee felt a little tight. Nothing major or unexpected after running that long, more annoying than anything else. I ran my two weekday runs. Never hurt during my runs, but by Friday the ache was a little bit worse. I decided resting was more important that the 15 miles.

Monday I ran again. I cut about a mile from  my distance and felt pretty strong. No pain. I ran again on Wednesday, again cutting it short about a mile, just being cautious again. Little bit tight and achy. I rested again on Thursday. I have 20 miles on the calendar for this weekend.  The thing is, I’m scared.

I’m scared that if I run I’ll end up injured with just 5 weeks to go before my marathon. I’m scared that if I skip another long run I’ll start losing my fitness. I’m not sure which scares me more right now. So I’m icing. I’m getting a massage to try to make sure my IT band is as loose as possible. It’s worth a shot.

I’ve made it this far. I’m so close to the race. I’ve been strong and healthy. I’ve gotten faster than I’ve ever been. It might not be fast to some, but to me, it’s a huge improvement.

I’ve worn my body down.

For the past several weeks I’ve not taken care of myself after my long runs. Sure I’ve stretched and had my recovery chocolate milk. But I haven’t rested. I just shower and continue on with our hectic schedule. I’m busier than I’ve ever been at work because I’m now basically my own department.  Great careerwise but exhausting. I’m sleeping maybe 5 hours a night with at least one interruption from Ella calling to me for comfort for what I’m sure are her sore gums (her 3rd and 4th teeth have to be coming in right?). I’ve become lax with my strength training because I rarely get to the gym before 8 pm. By that time I need to do my run and get home so I can get those few precious hours of sleep. I’ve made rookie mistakes and now I’m paying for it.

I’ve moved my long run to Sunday which will allow me three more days of icing. I can’t say I’ll be relaxing as I’m heading to Estes Park to be a bridesmaid and celebrate the wedding of one of my oldest friends.

Hopefully it’s not an actual injury, but just a minor ache and annoying setback. Worst case scenario, rather than running for a few weeks I’ll have to crosstrain. Not the end of the world but a serious blow to the hard work that I’ve done and my confidence on making this my best marathon yet.


I’m a klutz and injury prone. The klutziness I inherited but the injuries, I think some of that fault can be placed right on my shoulders. My knee hurts. Not badly but just enough when I bend it, it pinches a little bit right under my knee cap. Boo. I was feeling a little bit sore after my awesome 10 mile run last weekend, but I stretched (not enough) and iced (not long). I did my interval run on Tuesday which I accidentally lost count of how many I’d done and added an extra one. I didn’t really feel it during that run but Wednesday it hurt a little more.

I’m stubborn and thought oh its fine. I went to my weekly class where I’m pretty sure I tweaked it ever so slightly during one of our crazy circuits. Woke up yesterday and it hurt. Not throbbing pain but I knew that I should not run. What’s recommended when you’re feeling a little pain, R.I.C.E.HH of course. Rest, ice, compression, elevation and happy hour. Happy hour is my personal contribution. Good friends, food and drinks are always a good distraction from being annoyed that you’re missing a run. Last night instead of my Thursday tempo run, I meet three of my favorite ladies for happy hour.

Ella was a total angel. She happily sat in her high chair chowing down on pita and hummus and some blueberry oatmeal.

She put it away; I could not believe how much she ate. She flirted with the table of men sitting behind us and smiled sweetly at the waitress which caused a back-up because they were all stopping to say how adorable she was. I eat that up. For real, I never get sick of people saying I have a cute kid.

Back to the hurt. Happy hour took my mind of my sore knee and today it’s feeling better. Today is a scheduled rest day and even more importantly marks date night! I’m thinking that I’ll try to do my long run for the week still. Luckily it’s a taper week so I only have 6 miles to do. From now on I’m going to be way more dedicated to stretching post run and need to be better about icing after long runs. I can’t expect my body to put up with the crap I put it through if I don’t give it a little love.