Monday, March 19, 2012

On Bended Knee

I've really been loving the push, the post race endorphins, the crazy sense of "did I really just do that?"

Until recently, I would never have considered myself an athlete. My friends are athletes, my family members are athletes. But since November, when I did my first adventure race, I've come to think...maybe I am one too?

Three weeks ago I did my first trail race. It was a 1/2 marathon with a nice sprinkling of 3500ft elevation for good measure. It was much, much harder than I anticipated. Waaaaaaaaay more difficult than the 10 mile road race the weekend before, and hella more mentally challenging than the Sea2Summit (which was 2h longer). I got crazy calf-cramp-of-doom followed by inhumane-hamstring-tetany-of-death which stuck with me steady for the last 2 miles. Yeah, I was 'running' as if I had a wooden leg, whimpering, and generally feeling miserable and frustrated. But dammed if I wasn't going to finish it...and then chug a large glass of orange squash concentrate by mistake at the finish line (who has bottles of concentrate and no water at a finish line???)

So I've been kettlebell-ing and running a little and cycling, feeling pretty pleased with my fitness and shiny new upper-body strength.  Ok, maybe the odd twinge to my knee and feeling of fullness in the back of my leg. Then 3 days ago I squatted down in the emergency department and saw can I not squat? Oh, because my knee is blown up like a balloon. Awesome.

So ice, ibuprofen, ice, elevation...more ice...did I mention I bought this sweet gel sleeve that doesn't freeze solid and can cuff right around my knee?

No improvement. No acute injury...hell, I hadn't biked/run/kettled in a week.

Today I had a steroid / lidocaine injection into it just before heading into theater for the day. Ooooooooh maybe standing on it for 8h after wasn't super brilliant. And now I am here. Not allowed to run or squat, my knee hurts like a fecker and looks like it belongs to Rita McNeil.

So frustrating to finally feel like I'm getting into the shape I've always wanted to be in...with an adventure race coming up in 4 weeks, a 1/2 marathon in May, and a triathlon in June...GAHHHHH!


[Reaches for bag of peanut butter cups.]

[Recalls how tight work pants already are, puts aforementioned cups down.]

[Steps away from cups.]

Signs off.

(Photo credit: pic of the race trail taken by my good friend Stephen Bennett.)


The HipCrip said...

Please educate the uninitiated non-athletes among your readers -- what the heck is kettlebelling? Since I can't imagine how they'd turn collecting donations for the Salvation Army into an endurance sport [and it's the wrong season, and continent, anyway], I'm stumped!

Albinoblackbear said...

A kettlebell is a type of weight that is like a steel ball with a handle on it. Training with it involves a lot of squats, lifting, sweating, grunting, burning, aerobics with weights. Good...yet bad. :)

Just Me said...

Are you an athlete? Are you kidding me??? I think if you run more than 3 miles on a routine basis - you are an athlete.

Tell us where and what you are up to these day. I love your blog, but wonder if you back into the wilds of Canada or back in Ireland.

Rogue Medic said...

You know that one of the most important parts of being an athlete is remaining uninjured.

Since divorce is not a practical option - courts are known to be very sympathetic to battered knees in awarding custody of the rest of the athletic parts - counseling would seem to be the best solution.

There are all sorts of interesting ways of being athletic without being in pain.

Repeatedly working through the pain is not what makes you an athlete. Knowing which pains not to keep working through is what makes you able to keep challenging yourself.