I was scrolling through old Facebook posts yesterday looking for a photo, when I came across a blog post I wrote in August 2017. I was trying to pump myself up, trying to get out of a funk, trying to come to grip with the fact that a few things were probably always going to bother me when it came to running, and to try to make the most of it.
I bring that post up now because I wrote quite a bit about how my left knee always seems to hurt and that feels like so long ago. It used to be every time I went for a run, that knee hurt for a least the first mile, and it always hurt after the fact. No more.
It was a couple months after I wrote that blog post that my right knee started to act up and finally put me on the shelf. While trying to figure out why I had a shooting pain in my right knee, I finally decided to address the issue in my left knee.
I read that post and I tried to remember what that felt like. My knee is not 100 percent, it probably never will be. I still feel a twinge here or there (it happened tonight as I warmed up for my speed workout), but the days where the first mile of every run has me wondering if I should stop, limp back home and get someone to put my knee back together, are long gone.
I’m not 100 percent sure exactly what was/is wrong with that knee. From what I’ve gathered from the doctors and physical therapist I saw there are a few things going on in there, including arthritis. It bothered me off and on for years, pretty much since I went knee to knee with a base runner during a baseball game while playing in an over-30 league.
It’s such a relief to run without always worrying about that pain. It’s taken a consistent (I need to do better) physical therapy routine and rebuilding my form to alleviate that pain. It has been a long, tricky road to stop heal striking and over striding, one I’m still working on over a year later, but running with better form has made an enormous difference.
I do worry how my knees will react when I start to really ramp up my mileage. Last year started with Couch to 5K and I never logged more than 40 miles in a week. When marathon training really ramps up, I’ll be running in the 50-mile per week range. Will my knees flare up when I do that? I have no idea and I’m not going to stress out about it. I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing (hopefully a little more, actually), doing what I can to keep myself healthy, and try not to stress about what the future holds for that creaky knee.
My hope is that the future continues to get better. I’m in a much better place as a runner than I was when I wrote that post. I’m not as fit or fast as I was back then but running feels a hell of a lot better.
And that pumps me up.