Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Runner Stranded By A Bone Bruise

Marathon Plan - Regressive Countdown - Week Two
04/19/10 - 04/25/10 - Week Total: 16.6 (still injured)

Three weeks before the marathon:

n idiotic sprint to shave some seconds of my 12K finish time, proved to be really idiotic. A crowd of 5K walkers arriving at the same time; a happy mom with a happy baby in a happy stroller in front of a happy me; a brusque lateral movement to avoid falling over mom and baby. End of the race. Great. I felt like a million bucks... till 24 hours later.

Monday: left knee hurt just by walking. Not at rest, nor bending, squatting, bringing knee to the chest, nor biking, nothing. Only walking (Pain 6/10). We know the drill. RICE, aspirin or ibuprofen, arnica. Rest the knee.

Tuesday: continued hurting while walking, more RICE, more anti-inflammatory, more arnica. Stepped on the treadmill, at 0.1 mile it hurt, pain 7/10. However, didn't hurt if I walked with incline, so I did for 1.2 miles at 12%. No pain.

Wednesday: still hurt while walking. Panic. Marathon in 2.5 weeks. Called 5 orthopedic clinics and got an appointment for Thursday. Saw a physical therapist who moved my leg and knee in all directions and no pain was present.
She concluded it was a bone bruise. RICE, ibuprofen, arnica, absolute rest in bed after work.

Thursday: Doctor's appointment. She tried to provoke the pain moving the leg and knee in all directions and pain was again, not present. MRI requested.

Friday: MRI, worked from home, at this point I decided not to RICE it anymore.

Saturday: Pulled out of a race "Wenatchee Half Marathon". Can't gamble. Stepped on the treadmill. 0.75 miles, it hurt. Stopped.

Sunday: Jogged very slow two loops around the lake (1.6 miles each). It felt good. No pain.

Two weeks before the marathon:

Monday: MRI results showed bone bruise of the medial side of the patella. Doctor said no running, no nothing, from 2 weeks to 6 months. How do I know? No clue. Come in two weeks. When I asked about an explanation of the MRI terms, she answered: I don't have time to go through the MRI details. I already explained to you with the drawing I did.

Because I had a Mother Theresa moment, I contained myself and didn't tell her what I should've told her (i.e.: Should I ask for another appointment to go through the details so you can answer my additional questions? Who pays the bill here?). The type of doctor that is not a person, not common in the US according to my experience, but definitely they exist. This doctor is from Seattle Orthopedics International.
I highly NOT recommend her EVER.

I needed a runner's experience. Somebody that has gone through this to learn how he/she recovered... and while googling I stumbled onto ultra-marathoner Annette Bednosky. I would say her case was way more serious than mine. After she fell multiple times running a 100K in Dec 2007, she hurt afterwards doing pretty much everything (e.g. elliptical, bike). Her MRI diagnosis: a moderagte bone bruise. On February,
one month after the MRI, and two after the injury, she was back to running, not at her best, but she was back. Case accepted as my model.

My physical therapist told me the same that the doctor told Annette: Use pain as a guide. And so I did. On Monday I jogged 3 miles and stopped as soon as it hurt. Backed off for two days. On Thursday I jogged the first 1.6 miles and alternated jog/power-walk for two more loops for a total of 4.8 miles. I had more of a soreness than pain (3/10?). Backed off for two days again. Pulled out of my last race before the marathon, a 10-miler in Rochester, WA (I like the place, don't I?)

I went determined to make my decision. Planned on a 8-10 miler at marathon pace with the mandate to stop as soon as it hurt. It didn't hurt. I completed 9 miles with no pain, none whatsoever. Should I assume I am healed? If pain was my only parameter to know, then Eugene is a GO. I am giving up my initial goal of a sub-5 after three weeks of extreme tapering, but that's OK. I am thankful that I am able to run and I am relieved.

I will continue taking care of the knee, not running for a couple of days. On Wed I'll have my final run before the marathon. Then a 4.5-hour road trip on Friday with son and daughter in law. I'll enjoy the stay with my cousins Alvaro & Gladys and their two daughters, Mariale & Camila....I will run in Pre's territory and
visit the place of his accident. We'll drive the course to know where I will be running. This will be the first marathon out of my state and may be the trigger to start my 50/50 quest.

This is the story of A Runner Stranded By A Bone Bruise that felt like a runner stranded in the eight inning, but with the chance to win the game in the 9th.


JeffM said...

Wow- hope it works out- you've done the time and training. I'll be there doing the half.

Petraruns said...

OH my honey - what have you been through? What a tough time you must have had - mentally apart from anything else.

Doctors like yours are NO help. You pretty much knew the problem by that stage - she should have explained things much more specifically. 2 weeks to 6 months? What kind of ballpark is that? Physical therapist sounds much more sensible and I would say from your experience that it has proved right.

My advice for race strategy (not that you're asking but anyway..) is don't go out too slow. Don't set yourself a time target but if you're comfortable at your target pace, go for it. Don't by any means go faster than that but you have trained a lot at that pace - you may have it in you for a lot longer than you think after this taper. Extreme tapers are very often not a bad idea..

ShirleyPerly said...

I guess there's a reason why my coach doesn't want me doing many races in place of training runs. Even though it's much nicer to run with others and to have the support stations, there is higher risk involved in overdoing things.

Hope your knee continues to behave so you can enjoy your Eugene Marathon. I'll think of you while I'm in Rhode Island running a marathon this weekend. Good luck!!!

lizzie lee said...

Shirley, I'd agree w/your coach if you were as dumb as I was...but you aren't. You know how much I race and this is the first time (I hope the last one) I do something that stupid... I really need to race. My 20 milers were all about 12 min/mile with the exception of the one I raced (11:20) and really, I did not race it, I was fresh when I finished telling me than when the 26.2 time comes I have more in the tank. I just perform different. Mentally is great for me, but as my daughter says, my training is REALLY EXPENSIVE, as it is about $50-$75 per week!!!

Irish Blue said...

Gosh Lizzie, hope you are healing nicely by now. You've trained so hard. I've thought about your training stategy too (doing races), but have not tried it. Instead, I've found running with my running club, running friends from said running club, really, really helps on those longer runs. (Personally, I don't mind doing the short ones alone.) Have you thought of joining a club? I absolutely LOVE mine. They put the fun in dysfunctional!! (And let's face it, misery loves company. ;-)

JeffM said...

JeffM said...