No Running For You

Last week’s MRI was encouraging.  The doctor said, “For the amount of punishment you give your body, there’s no damage to your knee.”

After a missive about my left foot in July, I haven’t written much about recovering from my stress fracture.  There was plenty of other stuff to cover.  You didn’t want to hear about how I finally got out to run on a ball field: a soft flat surface for five minutes.  Chipping away slowly, I worked my way up from baby step running workouts.  By September, I was up to 90 minutes of running three times a week.   I targeted the Pfalz Point Challenge at Mohonk Preserve as a return to trail racing.

Everything went swimmingly until the Climb to the Castle in mid September.  The race went OK and I was satisfied with my performance.  But on the drive home, my left knee stiffened up.  The next day, it was still stiff.  Not sore really, but it didn’t flex freely.  My planned OD workout turned into an easy walk on the Four Birds Trail.

I took a couple extra days off.  It felt better, then I went for an easy run.

Mistake.  The run was fine, but my knee felt it afterwards.  Everything was fine with my strength workout the following day, until I went to do squats.  My knee was saying NO WAY are you doing these with your usual weight.

Except for not skiing particularly efficiently, I can’t remember any egregious moves at C2C.  No slips or falls, but I did something there that my body is still telling me about.  Since that race, my knee hasn’t been right.

While there’s nothing that requires an operation, I’ve got this big time sprain that again that has me set for yet another round of physical therapy and sets my winter on its ear.  At present the only thing my body doesn’t mind doing is double poling.

I apologize for carping about this.  But it’s been two years since I was able to run in, much less be competitive in a race.  I finally got the hamstring/IT band deal solved, then this winter the stress fracture came along.  I thought, this is just another roadblock that I can overcome.  And I appreciated the opportunity to get reacquainted with my bike.  But this just feels like I’m being nickel and dimed to death by my body.

Veterans of the NJ running scene may recall Tom Bowmaster.  A fine runner, he always finished ahead of me in races.  Among other accomplishments, he had a sub 3:30 finish in the Escarpment Trail Run, a goal that I once thought was within reach.  But some years ago, he seemed to drop off the running map.  I finally met him a couple of years ago; introducing myself, I asked, are you no longer running?  He replied that he’d turned to another sport – I think it was cycling – because an injury no longer allowed him to run.

While I respect Bowmaster and respect his decision, I hope I don’t have to confront the same.  Yet.