Monday was a stunningly good day. I’d had a good weekend, spend doing physical activities outdoors. I got the dirt in the garden and planted my spring seeds! I rode my fancy new bike outside! Twice! Then, when I got to my PT appointment that afternoon, I was asked if I wanted to try running on the treadmill for a bit.
Did I? Of course I did! Let’s go! It was all I could do to get through the warm-up exercises, because in the back of my head it was all, “wegettorunyayrunningyayayayayayayay!” I got on the treadmill and walked for a bit, then I picked it up for 5 minutes of running. In one minute segments. With a minute of walking in between. At a very, very slow jog. In the 15 minutes I was on the treadmill, I covered less than a mile. Less than half of that was running.
But it was fantastic. The knee felt fine and, despite the fact that I felt like I was clunking all over the place and had sort of forgotten how to run, I felt fine. Everything looked great. The clouds parted, angels sang. It was basically the high point of my week. At 4:30 Monday afternoon. I was told to let the knee rest on Tuesday, but that I could try and do the same thing on Wednesday.
By 7:30 Monday night, it was a slightly different situation. The knee was sore like it hasn’t been in weeks, and I seriously contemplated tossing back some ibuprofen before falling asleep. I didn’t, mostly because I was already in bed when I had that thought and couldn’t justify getting up to do so. However, when I woke up Tuesday morning? It felt fine. I listened to instructions and took it easy on the knee, skipping my planned bike ride in favor of doing some swimming. When I woke up Wednesday morning with no pain? I hit the treadmill again.
Once again, I ran my slightly-less-than-half-mile in one-minute chunks. I took my one-minute walk-breaks in between. And I added a nice long walking warm-up and cool-down to bring me to a nice even 30 minutes on the treadmill. All of which my knee tolerated like a champ. Until Wednesday afternoon, when I noticed the soreness creeping back in during class. By the time I got home, it was aching enough that I actually threw an ice pack on it for a bit. Again, something that I haven’t done in weeks. As much as I wanted to ignore it, I couldn’t: the knee was not at all happy about running again.
So when I went in for today’s PT appointment, I told them exactly what happened. I rested. I ran. Inside and on a treadmill, as per instructions. And the knee was very clearly unhappy about it. Heck, the knee was still sort of sore off and on today. Clearly, this new activity was not, as the PT would say, well-tolerated. She simply nodded and said, “OK. So we still need to do more strengthening work. Let’s try pool-running for now and see how that goes, and then maybe we can get you back running on land again in a week or so.”
So, that’s what we did. We progressed the strengthening work I’ve been doing there up another level, so that my quads can hold my kneecap right where it needs to be, and I left with instructions to try pool running and yoga this weekend to see how those go.
I’m not going to lie: it’s disappointing. I was so very sure that I was on the tail end of this, but apparently there’s still a good deal more work to be done. My PT asked me today if I was getting tired of all the cross-training, and I said, “Sort of… but mostly I’m just tired of not being able to do things.” Sure, the list of things that my knee can do is growing, but it’s definitely the limiting factor on how hard I can work. I miss finishing a workout and feeling like I’ve actually done something. Blessedly, I’ve been given the all-clear to get back to yoga, which will at least provide some sort of challenge.
But what I really, really want to do? What I would just about pay someone for the experience of? Is to go out and spend an hour sweating and panting and end up feeling sort of like I want to throw up and/or pass out. I don’t even care if I do that running or biking or in some sort of crazy boot-camp workout. I just want to get back to that sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing a crazy-hard workout like that.
So, yeah, not the “WOO YAY RUNNING I’M BACK BITCHES” post I was hoping for just a few days ago. Maybe next week.