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Running update December 2008


Pffr just about sums it all up.

Somewhere end of September, beginning October, my knee went from stable when running with a bandage to painful in one night. I had run 3 times that week, plus a first session of Tai Chi. My guess is that the number of runs plus the Tai Chi session did it for me – I probably overstressed my muscles afterwards when taking the ‘rest’ posture in that first Tai Chi session, a friend of mine explained to me that I was overdoing it. Your knees shouldn’t be further than your toes when standing in rest, and I probably was not doing that.

A few days later I woke up convinced that my knee had somehow been dislocated during my sleep and that my kneecap was hanging loose – it’s an excruciating pain !

A visit to the doctor the morning after gave me the verdict : tendinitis in the knee, an injection with Cortisone, a painkiller prescription and the recommendation to ‘give it plenty of rest’.
It took about a month before I could walk without a limp, and in November anytime I ran for the train I had to cope with pains afterwards.

Since a week or so, my knee feels normal again, or at least no more pain. Even a run for the train has no painful effects. I’ll wait a bit more, though. And as a side effect, I’ll probably start floating off the ground – I’m ballooning again with no or barely any exercise and will probably float like a blimp off the ground after all the festivities of the New Year…

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Running update September 2008

The problem with running is that you stress your muscles more than when you are just walking around.
That means that you discover problems with your body that you thought you didn’t have. In fact, I thought everything was hunky dory until then. Compare it to a car that is always driven at 40 an hour. When you speed it up to 80, you’ll find out that it can’t take the strain without something giving.

I still run regularly about 4 kilometers once a week (hoping to find the time to bring it up to two times a week) but I need a knee bandage on my right knee. With the support of this I can run without any problem. Without it I can run short distances.

I’m hoping that this situation remains stable, or even improved (although I doubt it).

One of the alternatives I’m looking into now is finding a not-too-expensive fitness center where I can go run on the threadmill. I’ve noticed that this is much, much softer on your feet and knees that the actual road. Trouble is that nowadays almost all fitness centra work with an all-in formula, where you can do everything and anything you want, but you pay quite a large sum for it. I’m hoping to find a small old-skool one, where you can just select what you want to pay for.

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Running again

Yesterday my wife started running again, the first time after the festivities. Inspired by her and my once-again bulging belly, I resolved to go running as well, so after the children were off to bed, I went out in the dark, windy and cold evening for a small 3 kilometer circuit. The last time I had gone for a run previously was the 24th of december, and before that only twice in November (for which I don’t have data as this was in France on weekend vacation).

For the first and a half kilometer I was cold, with cold sweat on my brow. Even though my head was covered, the cold wind managed to chill me. Breathing was very hard, probably also because my seasonal asthma is kicking in. It couldn’t be because of my speed, as 7.25 minutes per km or worse is not exactly fast !

But after my half-way point it seemed that my body suddenly remembered what it was supposed to do, and suddenly I was no longer cold, my breathing became easier and my feet found their rhythm again.

And wonder of wonders, my right knee/upper leg decided to play along and didn’t give me any trouble at all. Perhaps because I stretched my leg muscles before starting to run ? I’m still apprehensive that this pain in my upper leg will return, so we’ll have to wait and see.

It was a good run. I didn’t really like the darkness, I prefer seeing where I run, I like running with the setting sun, but all in all I was very glad that I had done this.


Running into problems.

Hmmmm. Lately while I’ve been running, after a few kilometers a persistent pain shows up in my right knee on the outer side of my leg. If I stop running, the pain immediately goes away. If I keep running, it’s becomes worse, so bad I have to stop. It’s a real letdown.

I’ve been meaning to go to a doctor, but a search on Cool Running brought me to this description, which fairly well describes what I have :

Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Pain on the outside of your knee (not usually accompanied by swelling or locking). The pain may be sporadic and disappear with rest, only to reoccur suddenly, often at the same point in a run. Depending on the individual, this could happen at four miles, two miles or just 200 yards. The pain often goes away almost immediately after you stop running.

Likely causes:
This is an overuse injury. The iliotibial band is a band of tissue that begins at the outside of the pelvis and extends to the outside part of the knee. The band helps stabilize the knee. If it becomes too short, the band rubs too tightly on the bone of your leg and becomes irritated. The tightness is usually the result of too much strain from overtraining.

Patience. This one takes a while. Give yourself plenty of rest, reduce your miles and ice frequently. You can keep running, but cut your run short as soon as you begin to feel any pain. Cut way back on hill work, and be sure to run on even surfaces. Look into some deep friction massage with a physical therapist.

Try some leg-raise exercises to strengthen your hips and be conscientious about the iliotibial band stretch. You might supplement that stretch with this one, doing it gently but often:

To stretch the IT band of your right leg, stand with your left side facing the wall. Cross your right leg behind your left, while putting your left hand against the wall. Put your weight on the right leg and lean against the wall by pushing your right hip away from the wall. Be sure that your right foot is parallel to the wall during the stretch. You should be able to feel the stretch in your hip and down the IT band (in this case, along the right side of your right leg). Hold for five seconds and do this ten times. For the left leg, do as above, but stand with your right side facing the wall, and put your left leg behind your right.

Overuse ? Heck, I didn’t even know I was overusing it, my other knee is just fine. This knee is more sensitive, I guess…

The exercices they recommend for this are not exercises for the knee, but for the hips :

Hips and Groin
(To treat and prevent iliotibial band syndrome)
Side Leg Raises
Lie on your side, with your upper leg straight and aligned with your body. Bend your lower leg at the knee. Your lower arm should be under your head and outstretched, aligned with your body. Place the palm of your top hand down in front of your chest for support. Slowly lift the upper leg, leading with the heel, until you’ve reached as high as you can, then slowly lower it to the starting position. Keep your leg aligned with your body, knee facing forward. Don’t let your leg move in front of your body. Do two or three sets of 10 or 20 repeats for each leg.

Inside Leg Raises
Lie on your side, with your bottom leg straight and aligned with your body. Bend your top leg and place your foot on the ground in front of your lower leg. Your bottom arm should be under your head and outstretched, aligned with your body. Slowly raise your bottom leg, leading with the heel, as far as you can and then slowly lower it to starting position. Do two or three sets of 10 or 20 repeats for each leg.