Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Knee Deep in Self Pity

So after all my moanin' and groanin' about my severe knee pain and its untimely return early in the marathon, I finally sucked it up and visited the doc. And this wasn't just any doc. I went to a guy that has run 35+ marathons and ultramarathons, including the Grindstone 100 (with the totally awesome belt buckle to boot). So I had a hunch this guy would immediately be able to size me up and know that it was amateur hour when I walked in the door. 

I talked him through the history of my knee pain and described the moment when my IT band first flared up. I also shared with him that the pain is no longer limited to just when I'm running - I feel it nearly 24/7 these days. He nodded and asked a few questions here and there, but basically gave me a look that said, "You're a newbie and a wimp. Suck it up." I took no offense though, because he was completely right. 

We did a few exercises in the mirror and he pointed out how different the movement is between my right and left kneecaps, which is primarily caused by my extreme bowleggedness and a definite factor in my painful stride. He then put me on the table and tried a few resistance exercises - and that is when things got interesting amusing for him... and rather humiliating for me. He pressed against my leg as I pressed back, and though he tried, he could no longer contain his laughter. He looked at me and said, "Well, how do I say this nicely...?" I saved him the awkward moment and filled in the silence... "You're calling me a wimp, huh?"

Though I've never exactly claimed to be Wonder Woman, I didn't think my strength was that bad. But apparently I was mistaken. He taught me the proper way to do several stretches that will build strength in my hip and butt (so that I can give my knees a little rest).

And here they are (sorry for the creepy Internet pictures, but it's better than self photography)...

#1 The Bridge - with a resistance band around my thighs/just over my knees so that I'm more conscious of my form. It was also particularly challenging to quit doing the bridge like a yoga move - I kept rolling down my spine rather than lowering from the hip. 

#2 The Clam. I've always hated the clam. It feels so Jane Fonda-ish and completely unnatural. But doctor's orders...

And speaking of Sweatin' the Oldies... #3 The Leg Lift - against a wall. I told him the reason I hadn't been doing this exercise is that there's not a wall long enough in my apartment for me to do this against (wall space is limited in my glorious 429 square feet). He rolled his eyes for the 17th time and told me to friggin' find one. The reason the wall is so helpful with this exercise is because it ensures that your leg rises straight up - and it forces you to pay more attention to your form. 

Obviously, none of these exercises are really new. But the way in which he taught them was. I need to focus on doing 2 reps of 20 each as slowly and controlled as possible. And you just wait, before you know it, I'm going to look like this...

Dr. Ultramarathon won't know what hit him.

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