For years I had been ignoring a substantial pain in my right knee, thinking it was something that required surgery. Finally, in September, I stopped procrastinating and made a doctor’s appointment. The doctor was quite confident I was dealing with patellar tendonitis. He signed me up for physical therapy, prescribed nitroglycerin patches, and sent me on my way.
Six PT sessions, including two dry needling appointments later, I am pretty confident that the doctor was right. I have a slew of exercises and stretches which have kept the pain to a minimum. Ideally, when you really want to heal the patellar tendon, you eliminate running or jumping exercises first and then do the physical therapy exercises. I have opted for a different route, simultaneously doing the PT and beginning to train for my first 10k on Thanksgiving day. So far, so good. My knee hurts almost every time I start a run, but a mile or two in it does not bother me at all. Couple the exercises with the knee strap I wear, and my right knee feels excellent the whole latter half of the run.
My interest in running first grew when I was swimming for Wyoming. In the fall and spring, the team would often run a 5k before getting into the pool and swimming one, as in another 5k, not a 1k. I wasn’t the fastest runner at practices. There would always be a couple guys ahead of me who were just built for longer distances, but I always enjoyed those runs, even though they were at 7200 ft in elevation. In the years since, I have loved running for exercise, but I haven’t ventured into competition that much. I ran in one 5k in Milwaukee a few years ago and that is it.
With a Thanksgiving 10k on the horizon, I really wanted to do some formal training. Not knowing where to start, I did some googling, naturally, and I found this (the intermediate 10k training program from Hal Higdon). Feeling like that was as good a place to start as anything else, I enlisted myself in a solo training program. Of course, it’s not entirely solo. On many of my runs I have had to push London in the Mountain Buggy. She enjoys it tremendously. I, on the other hand, sort of prefer the days I can run by myself. Although it rests on three wheels, the Mountain Buggy with London in it is no light load. The max distance I have pushed London is six miles. In the beginning, pushing London for 3 or 4 miles was very hard, but now, six weeks in, I can push her for a four mile run and quite easily run under eight minute miles. Progress.
Come race day, I’ll have two big breaks. One, I won’t have to push London around the course. And two, perhaps even more of a boost, the race takes place at about 1000 ft in elevation. There is some bad news though. There is a decent chance it will be cold enough to watch your spit freeze right after it hits the ground. At the start of last year’s race it was 12 degrees.