Sole-searching…

Terrible title, I know.

So after a week of self-inflicted rest, I started to ease myself back in to running on Monday.  I managed a 4.5 mile treadmill run before a tough spin class.  A few knee niggles, but the physio said run through minor irritation, stop if there’s sharp pain.

Tuesday I did pump, combat and power yoga.  Using my new ‘toes forward, knees-over-toes’ technique demanded of my by the physio, I managed the squat track with no pain!  I also managed combat, which is pretty high-impact, and didn’t feel awful afterwards.

Wednesday was a 2.5 mile run.  It would have been closer to 4-5 if I hadn’t idiotically locked myself out of my flat, resulting in a mad rush to pick up my spare keys from my boyfriend before the gym.  I also cracked out another 45 minute spin class.

Today?  I stopped by Run4it on my way to the gym, as the physio had also suggested I get some insoles to balance out my ‘flat feet’, as it will put less stress on my knees and also give the outer calves a bit of a rest (they were tighter than an Aberdonian at a car boot sale).  I bought some female-specific ones with extra cushioning (it all helps, I suppose) and upon enquiring about the price, managed to somehow avoid a minor cardiac event when I realized they’d set me back £41!  Entire pairs of running shoes can cost as little as FORTY-ONE FREAKING POUNDS!!!.  Still, think of the knees…

The insoles are for shoe sizes 6.5-8 (UK), and so it is expected to have to trim them down a bit.  Being lazy, I just shoved them into my shoes at the gym and ignored the ‘bunched up’ feeling my toes were experiencing, deciding to hit the treadmill and suck it up like a man.  The actual stiff part of the insoles felt weird to start with, but after about 10 minutes the felt really comfortable.

Best of all?  No knee pain during a 6 mile run! Worst of all?  That pain you get when you’re running when you know a toenail has pierced the skin on an adjoining toe, and you’ll be putting bloody socks into the washing machine later.

So – what I have learned over the last couple of weeks:

  • Bodies are really complicated
  • Rest is frustrating, but sometimes necessary
  • Knee pain can be caused by a zillion things
  • I have ‘flat’ feet
  • Foam rolling is painful
  • There is a 16 year old boy at school going about telling kids that kangaroos have 3 vaginas.  I have come to the conclusion that this is mainly accurate.

Tip: always trim insoles to avoid 'toe bunching'

On my knees!

Or, more accurately, on my hands, rolling my shrieking quadriceps into the ninth dimension of hell.

I’m getting ahead of myself.

My knees have been giving me bother for a few weeks now.  There is a dull ache, on and off throughout the day at the bottom of my knee cap, and sometimes behind my knee cap when I do squats.  This has caused much frustration and swearing at my knees under my breath.  The kind of swearing that would make sailors look at you in disgust.  I’ve been to the GP.  He said rest.  I’ve been to the physio.  She said keep going, but do some squats do build up strength around the joint.  I went for a sports massage.  She said “foam roller the hell out of [my] lower leg.”

Since Tuesday I have been resting.  So far, minimal change.

Today, I had my boyfriend venture to the local running shop for a limb destroyer foam roller.  I’ve just been in, outright abusing my lower body, and can honestly say it is not one of the most pleasant experiences I have had.  The same pain you get during a spots massage when you’re told to “take deep breaths, this might be a bit intense,” is on par with what this foam roller can inflict on you.  I had no idea something so benign-looking could cause my heart rate to spike just by staring at it and remembering that merely 5 minutes ago, I was yelling “Mother Fucking Shit Fists!” in my empty flat whilst “relaxing” my muscles.

In fairness, my legs feel pretty good afterwards, and I might even notice a slight improvement in knee pain (or it could be that the aforementioned quad-rape has distracted me temporarily from my ailments).  I’m going to keep up the torture, and hopefully I’ll manage next Saturday’s parkrun.

Knees.

Well, I guess I can’t just go from lots of hard gym classes straight into lots of mileage, because my knees are protesting ever so slightly.  I always get weird about my knees because they’re noisy buggers (lots of creaking/crunching sounds when I go from squatting to standing).  I’ve seen my doctor about it a couple of times, and they just say it’s not abnormal.  I never really get any pain, but the sound is enough to make me flinch!

Recently though, after increasing miles, I’ve been getting a bit of discomfort, so to be on the safe side I’m taking another rest day (I know, 2 in a week – mental!) and I’ve booked myself in for a physio appointment next week, just to check up on a few things and to give me peace of mind (you should know I am a TOTAL hypochondriac and any weird and highly rare flesh-eating disease that has cropped up in a remote village in Japan and features for 2 minutes on the news – I have the symptoms.  I actually piss myself off, I can’t help it).

I have also booked myself in for a sports massage next Friday.  My first one.  I have heard what others might consider ‘horror stories’ about sports massages being painful, but tell me, how can an activity really be considered fun if it doesn’t involve slight bruising afterwards?  I’m psyched.  It is something I’ve been meaning to do forever, and something I’d like to get into the habit of, so ‘step one: book appointment’ is done!

In running news, I’ve registered for the Aberdeen Parkrun group and have printed out my bar code.  Because I’m a teacher, and teachers are stationary fetishists, I actually own my own laminator, so tonight, with no gym to go to, I can laminate my personalized bar code cards.  You would think less of me if I fully explained how excited that makes me.  I’m hoping to jog down there (probably a couple of miles), run the 5k at a reasonable speed, and then meander along the road to my gym where I can do a Pump class and then Power Yoga to pummel some balance into my chi-hole.

For now?  Taco time!