When I hurt my knee a few months ago (overuse injury that was exacerbated by stepping of a trail wrong one day), I feverishly looked for a way to “fix it.” I was told rest by the podiatrist, other runners, and friends and family. I saw an orthopedic surgeon who told me I could just get a cortisone shot.
OK! Now we were talking! I liked this plan MUCH better. No time off, right? Right, the surgeon told me. Because if you don’t start moving the joint, the cortisone can eat away at it.
That didn’t sound good. So I started googling, asking around, and asking, asking, asking. All I wanted was for someone, anyone to tell me it was a good idea. No one would. I had a bad feeling about it, you know, from everyone telling me it was a bad idea. BUT I really wanted to do it anyway.
I went to a physical therapist who told me I have a weak gluteus minimus on my right side. She said that because it was weak, after running for long enough, my knee would start to collapse in, causing me to pronate, which caused the biomechanical issues with my knee and why it was hurting.
I started doing the exercises she gave me like my life depended on them. To me, it did. I was maybe a little dramatic about it, but not being able to run was depressing. I am very grateful to my mom and boyfriend for putting up with me through the whole thing HA! I don’t think I was exactly pleasant.
My knee did start to feel somewhat better, but I couldn’t get past 3 miles, which was NOT OKAY in my book. So I found a running coach. I tried to get her to tell me the cortisone shot was a good idea, which she would not.
We did a light track workout together and talked about injuries and healing. She said that if I wasn’t eating 2,000 calories a day when I am training, it could lessen my ability to recover from workouts. She also said that training through an injury made me someone who was exercising compulsively, not an athlete.
Well that was just not true. I would show her. I told my boyfriend that I was going to take 4 weeks off from running and fully let my knee heal. He snorted and said something to the effect of, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
Oh my god. I’m a compulsive exerciser. And everyone knew it but me.
That statement gave me the kick in butt needed to buckle down and…do nothing. That’s right. Wait. It. Out. I was rewarded by my knee healing complete in two weeks instead of four. And now I’m taking being an athlete much more seriously. I’ve always felt like I am not an athlete, I just run. I run because it makes me feel good, it makes me happy. However, if I am going to ask my body to be racing all the time, I’ve decided I need to be a little more respectful. I use a lot more strategy when running races than someone who just runs. I plan my pace, where I’ll stop at which aid stations, where the hills are and how hard I’ll push and when. If I do say so myself, my half marathon last weekend went pretty well and I am taking this week to lift weights and cross train.
Do your squats. Eat your protein. Don’t skimp on fats and carbs either.
With love & learning patience,