After setting a PR in early December it was clear winter was on it’s way. I bought a new winter running shirt from Lululemon, made from their Rulu fabric, it felt really soft and when I used it for the first time I knew it would keep me warm even in the coldest of weather.
The year before there were about 8 of us that ran together all through the winter, it really helped to keep each other motivated and in shape for when spring arrived. We became known as the ‘Core 8.’ This year the Core 8 wasn’t around, some had moved away, life changes didn’t allow them to run as much, and this winter seemed to be even colder than last so people seemed a bit more reluctant to run, even though the year before we had ran in 7 degree weather! That being said, this winter I had a lot of solo runs, which I don’t mind but on some of the days it would have been nice to company.
The run group I run with on Tuesdays, Tin Roof Runners, continued to run through the winter, but the numbers dwindled. (Sidenote: Do you know there are only 3 words in the English language that begin with the letters ‘dw’, do you know the other two?) I managed to keep the run streak alive, but it wasn’t easy. I like to run when the sun is still up and with daylight being shorter during the winter, that meant I had to run at night sometimes, this year there seemed to be a few more storms than the year before. On day #130 of the running streak we had a winter storm that left snow and ice, I was sliding all over the place trying to run. I knew I had to do something so I wouldn’t fall, I went to City Sports in Harbor East and one of the people I run with sometimes recommended Yaktrax. Yaktrax are basically crampons for runners, they worked great, didn’t change my stride, and I could barely tell I was wearing them on my shoes.
The rest of the winter continued and so did the run streak, pretty uneventful. As the weather warmed up I started to incorporate some hill training in preparation for race season. This year I had picked four races I wanted to do; Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15k, Frederick Half Marathon, Baltimore 10-miler, and the Baltimore Marathon. Though the Hot Chocolate 15k was a relatively flat course I was already looking past that to Frederick and some hills, hence the hill training.
In the beginning of March, I started to feel some pain in my right knee. During the run streak I have had pain on and off in different areas of my legs from running so much, so I figured the knee pain would go away in a few days. It didn’t it only got worse, it became very hard to start a run without limping or wincing with pain; it was time to make a doctor’s appointment. I asked Sarah, who her Sports Medicine doctor was, she has had to deal with injuries before and I remember her telling me she had a really good doctor. She recommend a doctor from Johns Hopkins, I made an appointment, but would have to wait a few days to see the doctor. I really contemplated ending the streak because I didn’t want to jeopardize my race season. I decided to cut back on the miles, run easy, and wait to see what the doctor said before making any decisions.
March 24th, after a physical exam and getting some x-rays I waited for the doctor to come back into the room and give me a diagnoses. When she did, she told me I had Patellar Tendonitis, runner’s knee. She said I would need to go to physical therapy twice a week for a few weeks and I should be alright. She recommended the physical therapist that was right down the hall. I asked about running the 15k on April 4th and she recommended talking to the Physical Therapist to get their opinion, but she did say I could keep running but stop if the pain became to much. The earliest appointment I could get at the Physical Therapist was April 3rd.
April 3rd came and after an evaluation from the Physical Therapist, he told me I couldn’t race the next day, I pretty much figured that was coming so it wasn’t a huge disappointment. He was worried it could do more damage and set me back, putting the run streak in jeopardy. When I asked him about running everyday, he said I could still run, but no hills and I was limited to a mile a day for now. I asked about the Frederick Half and if he thought I would be ready? He said he thought so but he didn’t want to rush my recovery, so we needed to wait and see once the race was closer. Over the next 6 weeks, I went to physical therapy twice a week and did exercises at home, hoping my knee would get better. Several times I thought about ending the streak, in hopes to expedite my recovery, but I did not. Each week the therapist said I could run a little further if it felt comfortable and the pain started subsiding around week 3. By the end of week 6, the physical therapist gave me a clean bill of health and the okay to run the Frederick Half Marathon, which was in about a week.
My knee felt strong and ready to go, but I wasn’t sure if I was race ready. My longest run since the beginning of March had been 7 miles and I only did that once. I couldn’t do a long run now to see where I was at, it was to close to the race. I would have to rely on my base of running and pace myself a little more than I may have if I hadn’t been injured. I was really happy to be able to race and that I didn’t have to end the run streak! My next challenge was in front of me…the Frederick Half Marathon…
How was your experience running last winter? Have you had a running injury, what did you do?
-Veggie Fueled Runner