If you hang out with me on the reg, you know that I’ve been lucky enough to “never” been injured (and then always say *knock on wood* right afterward). Well besides that time I sprained my ankle in a high school field hockey game two days before Homecoming and proceeded to attend Homecoming anyway and dance on my bruised and swollen foot all night. The good news is, I can still say I’ve never been injured, but this recurring pain in my knee is probably the closest I’ve come since my endurance sports career started just three short years ago.
About two weeks ago during a 88 mile bike ride with about 4,000 feet of climbing, I began to have some pain in my left knee – right on the top, like on the knee cap. It was more of a discomfort and popped up about halfway through the ride. It was more pronounced during hills and got slightly worse as the ride went on and was located on the top of my knee – like on top of the knee cap. After the ride, we ran just over 4 miles and my knee felt fine, not aggravated by running on it so I took that as a good sign. The next day, I ran just over 20 miles and I could feel a slight amount of discomfort but not a lot. It seemed to be affected mostly by riding.
The next week was the weird week where I took a lot of time off of working out due to the knee, schedule conflicts and overall lethargy. We took Wednesday off of work and rode 40 miles on the coast and my knee felt fine. I didn’t ride again until the Monday of Memorial Day weekend and was sad that not only did my left knee start hurting earlier on in our ride (70 miles of hills) but BOTH knees started to hurt. By the end of the ride, the dull pain turned into sharp pains at times. Not good. I took the ride easy but the end was painful.
I iced the knees but still ran last week (without pain) and then attempted 1.5 hours of spinning on the trainer mid-week but stopped it at 1 hour due to my knees still feeling a bit of pain. Thursday I bit the bullet and paid a pretty penny for a professional bike fitting using RETUL technology to get the exact right fit. I talked to the fitter about my pain and he felt that the new bike fit would definitely help. I was hopeful that the solution would be immediate, but was disappointed when I went out for my ride on Sunday (hoping for 90 miles) and my left knee was still acting up. About 10 miles into the ride, I knew I wasn’t going to make the 90 miles I was hoping for. Luckily, my right knee was 100% fine and the pain was not sharp and less intense than previously. I could tell that my new fit was putting less pressure on my knees, but I didn’t want to test it out by climbing 70 more miles of hills, so at mile 20, I headed back to the coast (via 20 more miles of hills) and added on about 17 miles of flat coast riding, for a total of 57 miles.
So where am I now? I iced my knee last night and I plan to rest it until at least Thursday. I plan to attempt to spin for an hour on Thursday and see how it feels – if it immediately is still sore, I will skip the workout. I am going to focus on quality sleep and quality food for the entire taper to ensure my body is primed and ready to heal. I know that the bike fitting won’t miraculously heal me – I need to treat my knee right and get it there on it’s own. I’m glad I got the fitting done because now I am assured that the bike fit is not going to aggravate the problem. I know that all the hard work for the race is behind me but there is a big part of me that is VERY worried that the pain will come back on race day. The good news is that running doesn’t seem to aggravate my knee so hopefully even if my knee acts up during the 112 mile bike portion, I can at least attempt to run the marathon. I have three weeks to get to the start line healthy and healed and I intend to take every measure to get myself there.
Do you have any tips for heeling a bum knee? Have you ever had similar pain? How long did it take to go away!?