Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A New Year Begins

ORN: 2.5 miles

One of the fun things about running locally is our running club’s annual “Run in The New Year” or RITNY, race. RITNY got started in the early 80s as a midnight run on New Year’s Eve. It has continued, uninterrupted for over 25 years now, kind of an amazing feat for a small running club in a small city.

Somewhere along the line, sane thinkers shifted the run to New Years Day morning, with a breakfast afterwards. It’s a nice format and over 70 people came out today in snow, 25mph winds and a minus 4 wind chill to run. We have a two mile course that folks can run as much or as little as they’d like…it is billed as “less than a race, more than a training run.” The folks at the local hotel where we gathered and then ate looked at us like we were crazy. Then again, they decided we were all sober-crazy, much better than the drunk-crazy people they had seen last night! I enjoyed seeing lots of folks I know and making some new friends.

Looking ahead to the running year, 2008 starts, in many ways, like 2007 started. I’m injured and fuzzy as to goals.

I came to the reluctant diagnosis of “injury” last Saturday. My plan called for an easy 17 mile run. 5.5 miles into it, my right knee, the one giving me fits since Rocket City, packed up again. I walked home and decided to own up to the problem, after all 4 of the long-ish runs since the marathon have triggered the same pain. Reviewing my running log and the relevant literature, it seemed clear to me that this is a case of Chondromalacia a.k.a. “Runner’s Knee.” It is a general pain below the kneecap, exacerbated by use. Reading several sources suggested I probably injured it as part of the difficulty of finishing the Rocket City marathon. The pain is markedly different from the ITB pain I had a year ago.

Treatment is not complicated. Rest for a couple of weeks, then low mileage for another couple of weeks, followed by a gentle easing back to longer runs. Prevention centers on strengthening the quad muscle to provide better alignment of the kneecap. So, that’s the plan. I was happy two easy miles this morning went smoothly.

The immediate implication of the injury is no spring marathons. I had been planning on running in St Louis on April 6 and Traverse City, Michigan on May 24, but there is no way I can or should ramp up by then. Interestingly, my new global goal to “run the best race conditions allow” proved very helpful. Conditioning won’t be there; I can deal with it. I need to find a way to get healthy and stay that way. Two consecutive winters with injuries triggered by fall marathons has me thinking a lot.

As I erased five months of running plans from my calendar Saturday night, feeling a little blue, I came to a wonderful and encouraging realization. There are four, count ‘em, four half-marathons here in Indiana between late March and the end of May. I’ve run three of them before, the fourth is in its first year. It became evident running these four halves is quite a suitable and doable goal for the spring. You can see the race links and dates on the sidebar. There is also a 15km trail race in early March which has some appeal. So, for now, these become the targets.

I’m also paying attention to core strength. Sounds grand but just consists of 25 push ups and sit ups every morning. Astounding what that does for the abdomen, when you do it every day. I’ve also just added leg extensions on the weight bench for quad strength. And, to add something else new for fun, I’m trying out an on-line training log, RunningAHEAD. I’ve never done an on-line log before and this was free, simple, with some tools which may help me. Thanks to new blogging buddy Nick for the tip.

Have a great year, as we all persevere.


Sarah said...

That is a major bummer about your knee! : ( But I'm glad you are able to adjust your plans and find other races that can fit within your goals. I admire your attitude! Take care.

David said...

Hey, four halfs equals two marys.

Good luck with that knee. Like a race car driver, I don't want to think about it.

Darrell said...

Have I not been paying attention? This is the first I've heard of the knee. I'm really sorry to hear that its been bothering you. I haven't decided if it is better that it is a different injury or a repeat, but it seems as though you've come to terms with it and have a plan of action.

I know you'll keep this in perspective. Enjoy the grandkids this week and the big reunion next week.

Wes said...

Ya! Running Ahead is cool. I've switched my log to that one. I'm pretty happy with it. Maybe enough to donate soon :-) Maybe this is your year of shorter races? Might not be a bad idea. Think about it, and have a great 08 :-) :-)

Backofpack said...

Joe, you always have such a positive outlook. One of the many things discussed during our marathon yesterday was the allure of the half. All my aches and pains start after the halfway point, leading me to think that I could really enjoy running the half distance. I am not quite done with marathons yet, but someday...

Have a wonderful New Year Joe!

crossn81 said...

Thanks for the shoutout! Good luck with the knee recovery, I went through knee problems in 2006. I would highly recommend DINO's 15K races they are great fun. You can see some of my race reviews from 2007.

robtherunner said...

Sorry to hear abou the injury, Joe! You always play it smart and I am confident that you will persevere and come out in good shape by spring time. I wish you all the best in 2008. Happy New Year!

WADDLER26.2 said...

So sorry to hear about your knee. Isn't it true that all of our goals are dependent on staying healthy.

Sound like a good plan B.

Take care.