Guys, diagnose my medial knee pain.
My post-marathon return to running encountered a bit of a curveball earlier this week.
I was trotting on flat ground past boathouse row, 3.5 miles into what I imagined would be perhaps a 7-8 mile run, when I felt a novel tightness creep into my medial knee area just alongside the knee cap. It got a little tighter and a little tighter. I decided to turn around and start heading back, but jogged on through it hoping it would shake out and subside. It didn’t. Half a mile later, I called the run quits and walk-limped the remaining three miles home.
Nothing preempted the pain, no acute incident. I was jogging easily on flat ground. I’ve never had this kind of knee pain before.
Figuring that marathon recovery month would be an asinine time to acquire an injury, I opted to walk home and take a few more days off. I have my erg (rowing machine) here with me so I did some erging on my off days. Erging doesn’t bother the knee, dancing doesn’t bother it, going upstairs doesn’t bother it, and even walking is mostly fine. The only thing that seems to hurt is the pull-back/pushoff motion during running.
I jogged easily today to see if it had subsided and gave up after 20 minutes. Running downhill (even on slight declines) seems to exacerbate the pain. Something about this just feels… unwise to run through.
I keep wondering if it’s a meniscus issue, but a lot of the letsrun people (hey, I’m not the first one to use letsrun as a diagnosis tool) say that squatting down should cause pain. It doesn’t. Nothing seems to cause pain except for running. It doesn’t feel super localized; sometimes I can’t tell if it’s moving around a little or what. Some kind of tendinitis/inflammation issue? Something with the pes anserine (which I had never heard of prior to letsrun…)?
If I have to be injured, three weeks post-PR-marathon at the beginning of winter is the perfect time for it, but… let’s hope it will ultimately be another case of me overreacting. In the meantime, I’ll keep up with the erging and try to address some of the weaknesses (glutes?) that might be instigating the pain. I’m pretty out of shape for rowing, so I really can’t be going at the volume I’m accustomed to, which essentially means I’m going to continue to take it easy with exercise.
Whenever I have a pain that lasts more than a few days, I do start questioning my entire running existence and wondering if I’m doing something bad to my body. Recent posts from Gracie and Roserunner on this matter really struck a chord with me in terms of whether distance running and high mileage are really… worth it in the long term. Should I go back to being a combination athlete? Maybe I should just become a person who is chill and walks and does yoga and stretching and some light casual jogging here and there. (UGH NO NO NONONONONONONO. Maybe when I’m 40 or if I have little kids or something, this approach will be fulfilling. But for right now, I still have the bug: the hunger, the desire to train, improve, compete.)
Anyway, yeah. That’s what’s going on. Otherwise, things are pretty low-key. I’m nearly done with all my work for the semester and of course it’s the ongoing saga of feeling like I generally don’t have my act together in life, but… day by day, right?