Monday, November 29, 2010

In the Dumps

I can’t say anything more.On Saturday I decided to give the trails a short tryout. 3.5 miles or thereabouts. Slower than 14:00 per mile. And by Saturday night my right knee was in a ton of pain and discomfort. I tried to head out mid afternoon Sunday, but was unable to make it more than a few dozen yards before the pain had me throwing in the towel. This does not bode well for my next few planned races. If I can’t do a couple trail miles without pain, how do I tackle 10?

I supposed there’s always a silver lining. From Cool Running:

“The pain often feels worst when running downhill or walking down stairs, and the knee is often stiff and sore after sitting down for long periods. You might hear a crunching or clicking sound when you bend or extend your knee.”


“How did your knee get off track? Probably because of relatively weak thigh muscles and a lack of foot support. It's your thigh muscles that hold your kneecap in place, preventing it from trying to jump its track. Running tends to develop the back thigh muscles (hamstrings) more than those in the front (the quadriceps), and the imbalance is sometimes enough to allow the kneecap to pull and twist to the side.”

Okay. How do I fix it?

(To treat and prevent runner's knee)

Standing Leg Lifts
Stand with your back against the wall. Lift one leg up as high as you can with the knee straight. Hold for five seconds, then bend your knee to relax, hold for five seconds. Straighten your leg again, and do five of these before switching to the other leg. Over time, see if you can build up to ten seconds.

Foot Turns
Lie down or sit in a chair and stretch both legs out, knees straight and feet pointed up toward the knees. Tighten your thigh muscles and turn your feet out as far as you can, holding for ten seconds. Now turn your feet in as far as you can and hold for ten seconds, keeping your thigh muscles tight for the entire exercise. Do three of these sets.

Foot Press
Either sitting or lying down, put one foot on top of the other and pull up with your lower foot as you push down with the upper foot. Hold that for ten seconds, and then switch feet and repeat. Try five sets of these.”

Which means there is hope. And I should count my blessings that it’s a whole lot better that some of my blogging/running buddies with legitimate injuries.

On tap for this week:

  • Monday: Scheduled rest day. I’m going to give my knee one more day of rest. (It’s feeling much better today).
  • Tuesday: 5 easy miles. Quad exercises. Core exercises.
  • Wednesday: 3 easy miles.
  • Thursday: 5 easy miles. Quad exercises. Core exercises.
  • Friday: Scheduled rest day.
  • Saturday: Schedule calls for 10 miles. I will reassess on Saturday morning. At any rate, if I’m physically okay, I’ll put in at least 6 miles.
  • Sunday: 3 easy miles. I’ll need to try the trails again. If this goes better than this past Saturday, then I’ll do my race the following weekend. If not – anyone want a bib to the Crystal Cove Xterra 17K?


  1. So sorry to hear about your knee. I have a bum knee! I get that clicking and stiffness too...downhill/stairs..yep! I know yours isn't as serious as mine, but I found these pain relief patches and they have been great. I just stick one on when it hurts and no more pain. Salonpas. Good luck, hope the rest day does the trick!

  2. Bummer about the knee! Cycling is a great cross-training exercise to build opposite muscles as well.

  3. I hate reading about knee problems. I have a chronic knee issue myself. Blah.

  4. Ya know, I would seriously go have that knee looked at. It does NOT appear to me it's due to lack of poor quad muscles. I totally understand the insurance thing and your deductable, but I just had a client diagnosed with a very bad case of meniscus tear and I'd HATE for you to keep running if it were something like that and making it much worse. So go have that looked at! Ok??!!

  5. I have patella femoral syndrome myself. you really should have it checked out, there are just sooooo many different things that can be wrong with knees. it's hard to self diagnose and treat...

    i ended up in pt doing similar exercises, but the only thing that REALLY works for me is euflexxa injections, which I'll probably need about once a year for the rest of my life.

  6. I think you need to cycle. I'm not talking full kit and carbon frame, just a hybrid bike and do your thing around the back bay. That'll help your quads. It's worth it to make your running stronger.

  7. Sorry to hear about your knee Glenn. I know the feeling - going through the same thing! Hope those exercises help!

  8. I am glad that there's hope. And even if it was a more severe injury, there'd still be hope. My hip is getting much better with strengthening exercises, anti-inflammatories and physical therapy. I trust in the process.

    I've not had what you have, but I hope you will get better soon. Smart to take an extra day off.

  9. Bummer about the knee. Sounds a lot like a knee problem I had about a year ago. Deep tissue massage helped me. I would use the back side of the tv remote and push really hard on the muscles and tendons. Probably not good advise since I have absolutely NO medical training, just experience from a fellow Fat Runner. I've never posted to your blog before just lurked in background for a while. Thanks for all your efforts, I've learned a ton reading your stuff. If your knee doesn't clear up and you really don't need that xterra entry I'd take it off your hands. My parents live right near back bay. I could visit them and race in the same weekend. Thanks again and keep up the good work!

  10. Hey Glenn, sorry to hear about your knee, and I feel your pain. Kovas mentioned cycling, and that really helped me get through some knee issues a couple of months ago. Good luck.

  11. boo knees. cool running, i used to use that site all the time (until they merged with active... boo on that too). be faithful to those exercises!

  12. Why is it so difficult for us to accept that rest is what is best for our injuries! Why are we so dedicated? Oh yeah! Because we love it!!

  13. Bummer! Sorry to hear the knee is not cooperating on schedule Glenn. But I think Jill might be on to something - go have that puppy checked out. It is not like you're a slacker who all of a sudden wants to run 100 miles. You have conditioned your legs, so it seems maybe something is awry. BTW, when can I make my reservation for next Thanksgiving - That bird looked divine!!!

  14. Sorry to hear about your injury. Hope you heal quickly!

  15. More "sorry about the knee" wishes (Is that the right word?) I know it's been bugging you for awhile, so you probably should have it checked out...

    That being said, I agree with the advice from Cool Running to strengthen quads...That's all I did in PT.

    Keep us posted. I hope it works out for you.

  16. I'm so sorry, Glenn.

    I have to say I am very lucky because after doing the knee exercises my doctor recommended, my knee is much better.

    Perhaps you'd like to pay him a visit?


  17. Ouch but yes it's all about balance...time to get on that bike!

  18. Sorry to hear this, Glenn. I hope you can get past your injury and take care of yourself.

    In addition to the exercises you mentioned, are you wearing the correct shoes? I know when I started running several years ago, I developed runner's knee. I went to a running store where they analyzed my stride and I found I was wearing the completely wrong shoe that wasn't giving me the right support for my overpronation. That made all the difference in the world, and I have had no issues since. My apologies if you have already been down that road, but I wanted to throw that out there since it helped me. Best of luck!

  19. I've been through TONS of injuries myself and can totally relate. I'm sure you know the best thing you can do is REST. :(

  20. Hope your knee is better Glenn. Hang in there!

  21. Glenn,
    I'm so sorry for the pain! I'm such an advocate for trail running and I hate that you are now going to go forward weary of running dem trails.

    Eager to hear how the recovery effort goes. I'm so scared of future knee troubles and want to know what works so I'm prepared!

  22. Ahhh the knee issues . . . I've had plenty of that in the past. It's due to what I jokingly refer to as a weak ass syndrome.

    But really that's it - I have weak side butt muscles. It has a more technical description but that's how I recall it.

    I do hope your knee gets better soon!

  23. So sorry to hear about your knee, I hope it's better by now!
    I'll look for you tomorrow at the race, I will be ringing the bell with pride!!

  24. Oh I am so sorry to hear about your knee. Injuries suck, I get the down in the dumps feeling whenever I am injured. Like Kovas & Patrick said, if you can cycle, it will build those quads some and help keep your cardio going strong...and the bonus is that it might help keep you sane when you are not able to run. Helped me anyway. Good luck.

  25. I've battled with runners knee for a VERY long time. Work hard at it and it'll heal itself. You're on the right track!

  26. It seems the cure all for just about anything is everything you talked about, squats and lunges, and then the bonus abs/core exercises. Welcome to my world!