Self Love

My body is cattywompus.

Truth be told, I really just wanted an excuse to use that word.

No, my body really is a hot mess. Having started running on a regular basis, imagine my frustration when not only did the ol’ knee pain flare up, but the shin and ankle on my OTHER leg started to ache something fierce.

It is as if the universe is telling me to not be a runner. Lets be honest, what I call “running” is most likely considered jogging– with a soft “J”. Whatever it is I am doing, it is causing me some serious pain.

So I bit the bullet and scheduled an appointment with a sports medicine doctor. He spent a good hour making me hop around the room, bending my knee and hip into weird positions and hemming and hawing over the weakness of my right hip. It was a combination of humiliating and enlightening.

He insisted that I see a physical therapist. Which led me to another hour of hopping, running on a treadmill and watching in horror as I watched myself run in slow motion. There are things a person should be spared from seeing, your white WHITE legs running and shifting in uncomfortable ways is one of these things.

Needless to say, I have a bum knee caused by an extremely weak thigh muscle that leads to a sad sad hip, and a lack of ab/glute muscles. Who knew that running/walking/yoga-ing and biking doesn’t build enough muscle… WTF.

So my new life plan includes physical therapy once a week, cutting back on running for a while, adding in spin classes and diving into the unfamiliar world of pilates.

When all is said and done, I adore this wacky body of mine. True, I have more ailments than a 25-year-old female should have. Yes, I threw out my back bowling. Yes, sometimes I need to go up the stairs REALLY slowly to avoid pain in my knee, and yes– I creak when I bend down to wipe the mud off my dog’s paws.

But you know what? This body allows me to walk six miles with my pup if the day calls for it. It allows me the flexibility to touch my toes, hold myself up in crow and hover proudly in chaturanga dandasana (heck yes arm muscles, here’s looking at you).

Anything that takes this much wear and tear is bound to rebel a little bit. My vessel just rebels a bit more than the average bear, and I will respond to all of these quirks with compassion and love.

You know what? my body is a freaking temple.

Yes. I went there. Deal with it.


My Knee

So my runner’s knee is flaring up again. All I can hear is that damn doctor a few years ago that warned me, ‘If you don’t do your physical therapy, this will come back to haunt you.” DAMN YOU DOCTOR! How right you are.

Of course this happens right after I sign up for my very first marathon ever. I am now committed to running 26.2 miles in October. Really, knee? REALLY?

It is okay. I know how to combat this. I just need to be diligent with my exercises, and make sure to send positive thoughts to my right knee. I love you knee, I love you hip, I love you random ankle pain. Luckily, all of these aches and pains are allowing me to get some medical massage action—that is something I can get behind.

Needless to say, after my morning run I was a little disheartened to have that familiar twang as I bent down to towel off my dogs muddy feet. Three miles caused it to flare? What happens when I get up to the 12 mile training runs, or the 20 milers? (ugggghhh, the thought makes me all squirmy inside)

I spent quite a bit of time researching runner’s knee and how to solve this all too common ailment.

Here is what I learned:

  • Runner’s knee can be caused by overuse, misalignment, weak thigh muscles or flat feet. From my previous trips to the doctors and physical therapists I have discovered that I am all kinds of misaligned, my right thigh muscle is almost 2 inches smaller  than my left (WTF) due to this misalignment and I pronate. Awesome body, just AWESOME.
  • To cure this you have to rest, ice and ibuprofen it up. Just like any sports related injury. In order to keep the pain away? Lots of stretching and exercising. Most of the time us runners have tight IT bands, tight hamstrings and tight hip flexors. Combine all that tightness with a body that is off kilter? That just spells disaster… that spells ME.
  • I should start running again when I feel no pain in my knee when I bend or straighten it, no pain when I run/walk/sprint and when my right knee feels just as healthy as my left.

What I learned left me feeling defeated. It also resulted in me cursing my lack of symmetry and the fact that my misaligned body is leading to so many damn physical ailments.

Negative Nelly over here, sheesh. Snapped right out of this mind-set when I was flipping through the roomies Runner’s World magazine and stumbled upon an article about the world’s oldest marathoner. He is fucking 100 years old. You KNOW that dude has aches and pains like you wouldn’t believe. You know that my little case of “runner’s knee” is like peanuts to this guy. Yes, it took him over eight hours, but HE IS 100 YEARS OLD. WHAT THE SHIT. I CAN DO THIS SHIT LIKE WOAH!

Take that Doctor, take that bum knee, take that any one who doubted THIS girl. I’m going to use that 100-year-old Indian man as my guru for my marathon training and keep plugging along.