My former coach, John G, used to prescribe three days off, no cross training, when ever we were confronted with an injury. So when the problem cropped up again on Monday ten minutes into my run, I walked back to the house and told myself I would heed his advice from years ago. Yesterday, I went down to Mammoth for a brief check in with a chiropractor and a massage. When I told my massage therapist I was interested in environmental writing and journalism, she casually revealed she was a climate change skeptic, and proceeded to try to prod me into a debate, which made me wonder if I was really in good hands. But, surely the massage helped; it hurt, at times--in a good way--at least.
The chiropractor, of course, gave me the once over and said all kinds of things were awry, which I absolutely believe, sort of knew, and in some cases could see: one quad muscle 20 percent bigger than the other, my left hip rotated forward, my right leg an inch or two shorter. He told me to see how it goes the next few days and come back Friday, or next week, if I decided I wanted further help. Nice guy.
Today, I tried running on the flat section of Aqueduct Rd that traverses William's Butte. I stretched, walked for a spell to get the blood cycling, and started up. But ten minutes in the symptoms returned, then grew mildly painful. It seems that I have IT band syndrome, or a form of "runner's knee." My IT band is inflamed, and so rubbing against my knee bone--side to side action seems to aggravate it. Likely, of course, it stems from problems at the hip, including my glute muscles; after all, the IT attaches up there. It's all one system.
I stopped, stretched some more, felt despondent, and began to walk back to the car. But I decided to attempt jogging again, to be sure I could describe the situation correctly (still can't). But surprisingly, I was able to keep it up for another hour, at a slow pace--maybe 8 min miles--with out any real pain. I felt the occasional twinge, but nothing as alarming as I had during the first ten minutes. So, I know that the injury warms up, rather than getting worse--perhaps I need a more rigorous warm up routine if I'm going to work with this thing. In any case, a slow jog is a thousand times better, to my mind, than resorting to a pool in June Lake.
Afterward, I drove to Lee Vining Creek, and jumped in right beside 395 for 12 minutes, sitting on a granite stone so that I was covered to the waist. Totally frigid, but healing, I hope, like the legendary icy waters of the McKenzie up in Oregon, which are known to vanquish shin splits after a single soak. I wore two fleeces and a towel with pink, yellow, and orange flowers over my head, and felt the blood rushing back into my expanding veins as I drove home.
So, we'll see. Going to try again tomorrow. Hoping for the best.
~ 9 mi, 70 min (with break after the first 10 minutes); Aqueduct Road on William's Butte
Tuesday, Wednesday, 10/12-13: Off
Monday, 10/11: Off -- 1 mi, 10 min, and then a walk home