Monday, June 06, 2011

I have dreams to fulfill, its time to end this crazy knee pain!

Ironman Texas May 2011. 

First things first, an update. This morning I did really well on the bike today. I did 23 miles in just over 61 mins and really worked it hard on the hills. My cadence was strong and I ended up with an avg mph of 22.4 which is a bit higher than my fastest avg when I was1 doing my tris ( 21.2 mph ). I was VERY happy with how well I did.  After the ride I took a soak in the jacuzzi and did a bit of stretching. My ITB started hurting again and I started to feel frustrated once again. I really do hope the cortisone injection will help with my ITBS, I want it to go away!!!

For those of you who have followed my journey on sparkpeople for several years now, you know that challenges motivate me like nothing else. It seems I am always working on something each month and I remain proud of this.  Proud that I never settle and that I am always reaching towards something, no matter how big or small the task may be. I am currently on day 6 of my juicing challenge and doing great! Each day we consume a variety of fresh juice either made here at the house or when we are out thanks to Hubbell and Hudson, Whole Foods Market, Field of Greens and Pure Eatery. I wish more places would provide fresh juice, it is so nice to have when away from home.

Now back to the knee. Yes, the same right knee I have been blogging about for years now.........

We have now 14 days left until we leave for San Francisco and Seattle for my next HM and I am nervous!  Knowing how my knee is doing I fear  I will not be running most of the race but it will still be a wonderful experience. I go back to see the doctor today at 4 so we will see what he says. I keep replaying his words in my head over and over. " I do not want you to have a total knee replacement by the time you are 40!" This was his way of telling me to SLOW IT DOWN when it comes to the running. My right knee is afflicted with a good dose of arthritis and there is a bone spur, and he feels if I continue running as I have been I will hurt myself in the long run. I told him I did not want to have a cane at the age of 80 and his response was about the knee replacement, so obviously it is more serious than I thought.

There have been tears when thinking about the possibility of letting go of my dreams. I want to see myself racing across the line of an IM someday, can this still happen with my knee, I do not know. I am looking for other races to do to cure my need for competition. There are so many short sprint triathlons I can do and if you remember from before I was pregnant, those were a favorite thing for me to do! I have done 6 of them to date and my best leg was always the bike. Knowing this brings me hope that maybe I can find road races to ride in such as the BP MS 150 which is in April every year here in Texas. I feel if I can do a few half marathons, along with some road races, I will not only have the activity I need to tone up and lose the rest of my weight but I can fulfill that NEED to race. I know so many of you understand what I am talking about.  That burning desire to compete, even if you are not going all out, just to get out there and be around others who are striving for more! I LOVE it so much!!!!!

I am having a flashback to a blog I wrote in Russia when my knee pain really started to flare up. I remember sitting there feeling SO defeated. Here I was in the middle of losing my weight, doing SO well and BAM - my knee was killing me and I had to scale back. I longed to do plyo exercises and more high impact stuff but every time I did, I was in such pain.  I came across that blog I wrote several years back and it helped me today. I want to remember my words when I go into the doctors office this afternoon...This is NOT the end of the world. I will find new ways to create wonderful goals for my journey even if all of them do not contain running races. I want to read this blog I wrote back in 2008 over and over so that I do not forget my own inspiring words. When I see how far I have come since writing this, I am amazed and I know that someday, years from now I will look back at this very blog with an Ironman medal around my neck and I will know that all the hard work, diligence, patience and smart training was worth it.

Remembering back. Here is my blog entry from November 2008 titled, I am NOT giving up. I wrote this  while living in Siberia and suffering with the same knee issues I am at this time....

I am sitting here once again with ice on my knee thinking about all the great possibilities that are going to be soon before me and I cannot help but feel a bit frustrated. I feel as if I am trying so hard to make all of my dreams come true and yet I cannot start anything and take action as I am here in Siberia. I want to run and race, I want to train and see where it leads me. I can do all of these things soon but in the here and now I have to be patient and know that what I do today will prepare me for my someday! I want to train hard as I have in the past, but I have this never ending knee that is driving me mad. Today it is doing ok, but last night it swelled up quite a bit.

I feel as if my journals are becoming an injury report or the bummed knee chronicles instead of what they used to be, a celebration of my weight loss. If I really stop and think about it, a part of me gets frustrated and depressed, feeling as if I will never conquer this problem once and for all. It would be so much easier if I was in the US and I could just make an appointment with a doctor, then I could move on, but that is not the case and so I must deal with it and move on.

So now I have two choices, I can sit and sulk in the fact that I am not able to run as long as I used to, I cannot go as fast and I will most likely need to adjust my goals for the first half of 09 as a result, or I can adjust my plan and go with the flow. Ok, so I may have to run slower or heaven forbid even walk some. Is this the end of the world? Goodness no!

Life and its unpredictable journey is going to be filled with all kinds of twist and turns, ups and downs, and so I choose to make the most of where I am in my own journey, injuries and all. I cannot help but think once again of the man outside of my building who has no legs. I remember running past him so many times and wondering how he feels when he sees me. What would he give to be able to run or walk just one more time and here I am complaining because I may have to slow my pace down for my upcoming half marathon. Does it make me any less of a champion if I cross that finish line 10 or 15 mins behind what I had planned for? Or am I still a champion because I made the most of out the days I was blessed with and reached for all that I could. I am having to come to grips with the fact that where I want to be someday and where I am now are worlds apart. That does not mean that I cannot get there, it will just take some time and with this will come great success and I am sure many defeats. I need to always remember the old Chinese proverb –

“Be not afraid of going slowly; be afraid only of standing still.”

Now, I have to decide what it is that I can control and what I cannot. Every victory first starts with a plan. And so I am reviewing my whole entire workout schedule and looking at where I can improve to make the most of this time. My abs are not strained, my biceps are perfectly fine and my shoulders are as strong as ever. So let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons, the good and the bad, the right and the wrong, and try to figure out a solution that will be lasting and will help get me back in shape for my races soon to come.

Things that I cannot control at this time -

1. My knee is hurt.
2. I do not have access to the doctors in the states.

Things that I can control at this time -

1. The pace and duration of my runs
2. My strength training and core workouts
3. Increasing my yoga and Pilates workouts
4. Taking time to ice my knee more
5. Anti-inflammatory meds and joint fuel, omega’s etc…
6. Taking time to do specific stretching for ITB etc…
7. Continuing to watch my diet and log all of my meals
8. Water, water and more water
9. Getting back to the basics – long slow cardio, watch my intervals
10. Stay clear of all plyo and lower body work such as lunges

So I can see that there are far more things that I CAN control than that I can not. So it is now up to me to take control, stop the sad pity party and get to work. Things happen, deal with it and move on and some day when I do cross that finish line it will be worth it!!

My goal for the next 4 weeks is to follow the 10 points I listed. I am reshaping my program to fix each one into my daily routine. There was a time when I first started out and I could not run. So I increased the length of time on the treadmill and I walked. Something must have been working because I lost so much weight and I have kept it off. Now my fitness level is far different that it was before so I am going to need to be creative but I know it will work.

So that is the plan. Will it help? Only time will tell. All I can do is continue to be consistent in my efforts and give each and every workout 110% of all that is in me. If there is one thing that I know for sure, it is…. 

“In the course of achieving anything, nothing is more important than persistence”.

And so now, I press on


Jennifer said...

I'm really surprised in all of your health and wellness research you have not consulted a chiropractor for your knee and ITB. There are chiropractors out there that specialize in sports medicine. Misalignment of the pelvis and even feet, as well as the knee itself can all contribute to knee pain..not to mention your ITB connects to your pelvis and knee...they are all connected. As with anything, structure affects function. If you are not properly in line, and your joints aren't moving well, your body has to compensate, which will decrease function. All function. From everyday activities to endurance activities. MDs generally will not recommend chiropractic care because a) they aren't fully aware of the benefits, or how safe it is or b) they're trying to keep money in their pockets. SO many elite athletes swear by chiropractors. You should look into it. I used to see tons of runners in my practice.

Jen's Journey said...

You are right!! I have done PT and seen a TON of doctors but never a chiropractor. Maybe it is time. I am seeing a sports medicine doctor as of now and like him so far, but I would be more than willing to see a chiropractor. Thank you very much for making me aware of my options! Wish you lived closer I would come see you!!

Becca's Dirt said...

Very good post Jen. It sounds very encouraging hopefully to yourself and to me. Being optimistic in the midst of your training with a road block is encouraging to any of us.