Thursday, 3 February 2011

5am start - the early bird catches the worm

Today I awoke at 5am to get to the gym at work with plenty of time to spare.  The doctor said I can do any sport that doesn't hurt my knee so I decided to try cycling on the exercise bike first.  I did a solid hour at a good cadence, keeping the resistance not too high and felt very good.   That burnt around 700 calories according to the machine, and my heartbeat was somewhere between 120 and 130 most of the time.

After a quick break in order to clean down the machine I hit the Concept2 rower.  I had considered to do an hour on this, but since the longest I have done yet is a 10km piece, and since I had already cycled on the static bike for 1 hour I decided to do another 10km.  I started off at a reasonable pace, faltered a little in the middle and then finished strongly.  The sprint finish was so fast actually, that when I finished I had to go to the toilet and "relieve my nausea" in the nicest possible terms.  But after that I felt fine again.  Final time was 42 minutes and 15 seconds.

Then I did a good 15 to 20 minutes of stretching, especially important considering the physio told me my hamstrings are very short and tight.

Tonight I feel fit as a fiddle and not an ache or pain in sight.  I read quite a few posts on the internet that rowing is a great compliment to running as its works a lot of the opposing muscle groups, and can help to resolve running related problems.  Actually I did notice in a picture of me running in the Geneva half marathon that I had much bigger quads back then, and at that point in time I experienced no knee pain at all.  But of course the knee problems could be a result of the increase from half marathon to full marathon distance.  Time will tell.

Tomorrow I have my 2nd appointment with the physio, and am hoping she gives me lots of exercises to practise at home.  Homework so to speak.  I am 100% determined to overcome these temporary setbacks, to strengthen my body and to kick ass in the Marathon des Sables next year.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Runner's knee

Since my last post I have been doing further training runs, but my knee has still been playing me up afterwards.  Fitness itself is no problem and after running for 2 hours I am as fresh as a daisy energy wise.  But the knee has been a problem.  That's why this Monday I had the meeting with the sports doctor.

The doctor had me walking up and down on my feet, toes and heels, jumping on each leg in turn, tugging my legs in all kinds of different directions and taking some X-rays.  Then came the verdict.  I have in general terms what they call "runners knee".  Thats not so difficult to believe since it has been occurring after running.  But what does that mean for my future running and what is causing it.

Well the cause he says is that my left knee is a little unstable compared to the right, and the knee is rotating and moving whilst running which irritates the tendons that attach just underneath the knee.  The good news is that he says with a little bit of physio twice a week to strengthen my left knee and 3 weeks break from running and some patches to reduce the swelling I will be ready to run again and should be able to still set my sights on the Zurich marathon.  In terms of the Marathon des Sables he said there is nothing to worry about there at all, as the bones and cartilage themselves are in perfect condition, and the problem is purely tendon related. So compared to how bad it could have been, it was pretty good news.

I have my first appointment with the physio tomorrow morning, so I will let you know how I get on.  But in the meantime the doctor said I am fine to carry on with my yoga and rowing and if I want I can add in cycling to replace running as the two are very complimentary.

Last night I also did my first one to one Pilates trial lesson.  I think it will take a while for me to work out exactly how to position my body and how to breathe correctly whilst doing the exercises, but it should do me wonders in terms of flexibility and core strength once I get it right.  The advantage of one to one is also that I get a lot of correction until I have the correct form whilst doing the exercises.  Much better than doing a group lesson.  My next one to one Pilates lesson is on Monday.