Well, I made it through week 10 of the Higdon training plan without a hitch, but last week I was suddenly struck with a new type of knee pain early into a 7-mile run.
In retrospect I probably should have stopped running as soon as the pain hit, but it seemed to be near the top of my shin so I concluded it was just a shin splint that I could ice when I got back home. I never had shin splints before so I didn't know what they felt like (as I wrote in a previous post, they seem to be very rare for minimalist runners). When I finished my run, however, I poked around my leg and realized that the pain I thought was coming from my upper shin was actually located in the lower outer area of my knee.
I did some icing and stretching and felt no more pain. Actually, it stopped as soon as I stopped running. All seemed well and good until I began a short 4 mile with my running club the next day. I made it about half a block before the pain shot through my knee and I began limping. I bailed out of that run right away.
I quickly made an appointment with the miracle-working chiropractor who cured my ankle pain last winter and met with him earlier this week. He examined me and concluded there was too much tension on the muscles around and behind my knee, which was causing my kneecap to glide incorrectly (from what I've read online, that seems to match the definition for runner's knee, or PFPS). He was confident that an alignment of my legs and back would show improvement. That worked like a charm with my old ankle problem so I was happy to let him do it. Sadly, I've tried to run a couple times since the alignment was done and the pain still persists.
I'm doing my best not to panic, but the Maui marathon is in mid-January and I already felt my training plan had little room for failure. So far, I've missed a full week of running from this injury, including a big 15 mile long run last Saturday. I did some long bike rides over the weekend to maintain fitness, pain free. Yesterday I dusted off my old gym membership and hit the elliptical machine for the first time in my life. I used it for 35 minutes with zero knee pain, which boosted my confidence and prompted me to try my luck on a treadmill. I think I made it 0.2 miles before the pain set in full force.
The good news is that I can run very short distances without pain, though nothing remotely close to my training runs. I'm not giving up on the marathon just yet. I've already invested a lot of money into the travel plans so I'm definitely motivated to find a solution. Another doctor's appointment is scheduled for next week and the elliptical trainer is now my new best friend. I'll let you know how things work out.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. I hope your Turkey Trots went well!
P.S. - Any tips on how you overcame knee pain are very welcome.
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