Friday 2.0 miles/17:48/8:55 average pace
This morning I ran for the first time since December 20th. I only ran 3 short runs in the weeks before that, which is when I realized I was definitely injured. So, in all, I have basically had almost 6 weeks off. That's by far the longest break I've had since I started running in the summer of 2004. And THANK GOD it is over.
(Warning: Super Long and over-descriptive. For summary, scroll to end)
So yesterday was a total roller coaster. First, I arrived at my appt. at 2:40, only to be told that the doctor was running way behind - he does surgery in the mornings- and wouldn't be in until 4:00. The were re-scheduling everyone. :( The receptionist is really really sweet, and I asked if there was any chance I could see him briefly if I came back later, and she said yes. She told me she could print out my MRI report for me in the meantime... Yikes. It's a bunch of medical nonsense, but I understand the word TEAR. Something like: Primarily longitudinal tear, posterior horn, medial meniscus. :( I was heartbroken. I tried not to freak out, because I really didn't know what that means. I really just wanted to get some more info from the doctor. I needed to know what the deal was, how long I would take to recover, would I need surgery, could I ever run again? I called Zach and tried to keep it together, but I was upset. I had an hour and a half to kill, so I went to the gym and did 20 minutes elliptical *hard* thinking "this doesn't hurt, how can I have such a serious injury??" Thinking, "well at least I know what it is, and there is a defined course of treatment." Thinking all kinds of things, but trying hard not to think, which doesn't work at all.
I went back to the doctor's office and waited about an hour to see him. I didn't really care because I'd rather wait and wait then have to reschedule for next week. Finally, I see him and he says he wants to go over the scans with me and talk about it. They pull up the images on the computer (the whole MRI thing is really cool actually) and he shows me the faint white line that the other doctor thought indicates a tear. He then goes on to basically discredit that doctor in a nice way ("We see a lot more of these things than he does" etc) and tells me he disagrees. He says if it were a tear the line would be very dark and obvious and would extend to the edge of this little area. He said that based on the physical exam (where he pulled and twisted and put pressure on various points on and around my knee and nothing hurt) that he doesn't think I have a tear. I was pretty happy, but hesitant... it hadn't really sunk in. He said "I don't think this is a positive MRI." Finally, I start to realize what he's saying. I asked him if that means that he thinks I am ok? (to me "not positive" doesn't sound good.. I was slightly confused) He said Yes, you are ok. I asked him very plainly "So, I can run?" He said Yes, you can run.
He went on to tell me that his primary concern is the arthritis in my knee, and told me he wants to watch that. He gave me advice on helping the arthritis heal, and he gave me another prescription for Relafen, to take "as needed."
We talked about various things I need to do, things to avoid, etc. I asked him lots of questions (he said they were good questions :) ) and he said he wants to see me in 8 weeks. Here are some of the tips he gave me for healing (the arthritis, but also generally whatever strain/injury that caused me the other pain):
- Take it easy. Ease slowly back into running. My leg is still healing, so I shouldn't push it too soon.
- Cross training is still good, it's less impact and will help me heal more.
- Take Rest days. Not just No Running, but No Anything.
- Take the Relafen as needed.
- Ice is good.
- Strengthen my legs, but no deep-lunges. He showed me that I can do the leg press with my feet turned out and only a slight bend- 60 degrees.
- No hills. This includes also hiking, snowshoeing, etc. Flat is good. No skiing.
- If it hurts really bad (acute pain) then I need to come back asap. There's a tiny chance is could be a tear after all!
- I can take Glucosomine, but he obviously wasn't convinced it works. I am going to try it. I need to be taking a multi vitamin, vitamin C, and Calcium supplements.
- Down the road, I may want to consider orthodics, as it would slightly relieve the pressure on my knee. However, he doesn't think it's appropriate now, because it is a solution for a long term problem, and he thinks my problem is acute (meaning it came on fast and will heal).
I think that's it... He asked me if I was planning any upcoming marathons, and I said "well.... I mean, I WAS going to do Boston, in April.. but I realize it's somewhat close..." He was still just looking at me- didn't scream "Hell no!" So I continued "I thought maybe if the next few weeks go ok then I could do a modified training schedule with lots of cross training..." He still isn't screaming no, but rather is kind of shrugging his shoulders. He said "Well, we'll see how you are doing at your next appt." He didn't say it was a bad idea. :)
So, I left the office with a freaking skip in my step. I called Zach, my Mom, Maritza, Inga... I went and bought new shoes. I sang, I giggled, I cried a little (gosh I am a drama queen!).
I woke up this morning at 5:00 am like a little kid on Christmas morning. I laid there until 6:30 (I wanted to enjoy the light of day, or I would have gone earlier) then I got up, put on my lovely new Under Armor tights and my CIM long sleeve shirt, and gloves (it was 30 degrees!). I put on my Garmin (OH GARMIN how I've missed you!!) and my iPod (with my favorite jazz mix). I walked for 10 minutes to get good and warm, and then I ran. Oh, it was awesome. After about a mile, I cried a little and said a little prayer. It was the most beautiful morning. It was cold and clear and the sun was almost up, giving the horizon a gorgeous range of orange/yellow/blue. The moon was beautiful, the birds were beautiful, everything was beautiful. And not even a tinge of pain. I'm one happy runner.
I do not have a meniscus tear, I do have arthritis, I can run, I need to be careful, I can possibly still do Boston, I am overjoyed.