Monday, February 18, 2008

A day off but bummed

After working a straight 12.5 days since my boss was out of town, I finally had today off. It was really needed too. However, I had expected to sleep in until at least 7 AM. That didn't happen as my lovely you know who Mr. Baxter decided it was time to get up before 6 AM! He must have been set from the day before, because I did get up at 5:30 AM just to vacuum. Yes I know a bit bizarre, but I desperately needed to vacuum and kept putting it off and making excuses. Therefore, I figured if I just got up in the morning and didn't think about it, I'd just do it. It's kind of similar when I decide to do an early morning run. I have to not think about it.

I ended up remaining awake and checking my e-mail, reading articles, forums, etc. Then I had to leave for a Dr.'s appointment. This is the part that got me bummed. First I should say, I was exceptionally happy to ask NOT to be weighed. I'm not underweight or anything, so there isn't a real need. It was just one of those days when I couldn't face the scale. I know it probably had to do with both being on my menstrual cycle and gaining weight from five weeks ago. Even though I don't know the number, I can just tell by my clothes. I know that this should not matter but it's still hard. Anyway, the nurse was fine with it and just took my blood pressure. Then Dr. M. saw me. Dr. M. is a physiatrist and I met her in April 2006 when I had my first dog bite which resulted in parasthesia. This time around it was also for a second dog bite back in late September which resulted in a hideous bruise and probably some muscle damage. Since late November, I've been doing physical therapy for that, and it has helped. At the previous appt., I mentioned to Dr. M. my left knee was bothering me as well. She diagnosed it as patello-femoral pain syndrome. Basically, there is pain around the kneecap, but it's not certain specifically why. There are a number of theories for the pain, but I won't go into all of them. Just google it or "runner's knee," or chondromalacia patella.

I told Dr. M. that not only was my left knee now bothering but my right knee was too though in a slightly different location form the left. She checked them both out and did some manipulation exercises. Both knees have some popping going on, but my left knee is a lot worse. The theory we have come up with is that I've probably changed my running gait in order to compensate first for my hamstring and then my left knee. The last several weeks, I've had some pain in all three of these locations where previously I had minimal pain and felt great. I'm not exactly sure what happened from that time to now. Dr.M. said at this point I had to take a NSAID. I was bummed with that. I am not a medicine person, but at the same time this is kind of what I'm left with, so I need to comply and see if it helps, especially if I want to continue running. Dr. M. wants me to try it for a month and then reassess. If it's not better, then I could get a second opinion with an orthopedist. We're holding off on an MRI unless things get worse, well at least in my terms which would mean like unable to walk. Yes, I have a high tolerance to pain. In the meantime, she said I needed to try to back off my running mileage.

This is really hard for me. First off, I've planned to run a marathon in early May. I'm really excited about that and want to be in one piece by then. Secondly, I just do not get the same endorphin rush running low distances. Dr. M. was really understanding of this as opposed to my father who just keeps saying "don't run, rest for a month." He doesn't get it, and it drives me crazy. He says I'm OCD about it which I'm not. I don't run everyday, I have rest days, cross training days, etc. Do I get periods of anxiety build up? Yes, but I do not think the earth is going to shatter if I don't do a run. Most of the time, I am able to keep this in check seriously. Dr. M. and I discussed the endorphin rush thinking. She was saying how after a few days, runners do feel lousy because of not having that endorphin rush. I have tried to do other exercises like biking and such, but it is just not the same. I will admit the endorphin rush phenomenon is controversial. There are proponents who believe that strenuous exercise releases endorphins which are similar to opiates and produce a "feel good" feeling. Others think the endorphin rush is mythical and not measurable. Still others believe it is all just in one's head. Here's a nice article outlining the controversy of the "Runner's High." All I know for me is that I really do feel better after running, and it always lifts my mood.

Anyway, I kind of got off topic a bit. After my appt., yes, I did got for a run which I had already planned and felt better afterwards. It was a good run overall too. My highlight of the day however, was some woman who said I had pretty hair as I was walking into Whole Foods. And this was after my run, so to me, I didn't look too hot. My hair was down, combed out, and spritzed with some nice smelly stuff. In another post, I'll talk about hair which is actually kind of part of my identity.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am a Registered Massage Therapist and I have seen cases like yours. You might not need to take meds or stop running altogether...If your quads muscles are tight (which happens all the time with runners) especially Rectus Femoris that passes the knee joint, they compress this joint causing pain. If you go to a MT and get a good massage on your legs/glutes, loosen up this muscles, your problem might be solved.
You need to see a good massage therapist! Good luck!