Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Runner's high (and low)

Well,I am definitely feeling the low, and it's frustrating! However, on the bright side, here are a few tips I have learned for all the runners out there.
Last summer, a few months before we moved back to UT from Boston, I noticed my knees starting to hurt when I would run. It was mostly my left knee, just below my knee cap. But, silly me just kept running on it anyway. I also started to notice a crunching sound from my knees when I would climb up and down stairs. When we moved back to UT, my mom made an appointment to see the chiropractor she goes to in North Orem. He works a lot with athletes and helps treat their injuries. So I started going once or twice a week. He recommended a break from running and doing solely cycling and working out on the elliptical. When he asked me if I was willing to stop running for a while, he said another patient of his was so addicted to running she made her family load up the treadmill on the houseboat at Lake Powell. I laughed because I could almost see myself doing that. I didn't really like cycling because it didn't burn very many calories. (although he said spinning class does!) I thought I would just walk on an incline, but that hurt my knees worse and I ended up with tendinitis in my left knee. He had me bring in my shoes to see if they were good, supportive shoes. They checked out fine. He gave me some knee strengthening exercises to do twice a day and had me ice my knees three times a day for 10 minutes.
So, after a few months of a break, I started running again. My sister has been reading a book by an expert runner. For knee pain, he recommends running 4 minutes and then walking one, repeating that cycle throughout the run. It doesn't effect your overall time and it's better for your knees. So, I tried that, and it seemed to be working really well. I had a pretty good pair of Nikes, but to my dismay, they started giving me blisters on the sides of my feet. Since it was about time to get a new pair anyway, Ron and I went to Finish Line to check out some new running shoes. Although I haven't ever had troubles with Nikes in the past, I was surprised to find out Nikes aren't the best running shoe. Kelsee, a girl that worked at Finish Line, also an avid trail runner, gave me some really good tips for looking for a good running shoe. She said Nikes are mostly for style, and looking cute. She would wear them to work, but never to run in (and she was very firm on that!) She pointed out that having shox on your shoes (like most Nikes do) just elevates your feet, and you don't need that when you are running, because it's better to run on a flat foot. She also set me up with a good pair of insoles (if you keep your receipt, you can trade them in for new ones for free, too!) She also recommended getting running socks to wear as well. I got some and they are a great added support for my feet. I tried on a couple of pairs of shoes, venturing away from Nikes to a new brand. I went with Under Armour brand. They were a little less expensive than the top running shoe they had, but Kelsee said that they were another brand that a lot of people had liked. I've loved them! I also got a band for my knee that helps keep the knee cap in place. The Under Armours are the most comfortable running shoes I have had because they don't squeeze the tops of my feet. So, I decided to cut back the running to 3 times a week. Unfortunately, my chiropractor said there is not a permanent fix for my knee problems and recommended more cross training. I alternated running 5 miles one day, 3 the next time and then 5 again. My husband warned me to be careful, and thought I should just keep it at 3. But, I got a little too overconfident and pushed it further than I should have. After a few times of 6-7 miles at a pretty high speed, my knees started to hurt again. One day this last week, I stepped on the treadmill, only to find that after 2 minutes of running, my right knee really hurt. It's frustrating because I felt I had made so much progress. This is another reason that I am reluctant to run a marathon. I don't want to damage my knees so much that I can't ever run again. This knee pain is something I will just have to deal with the rest of my running life, there's nothing that will fix it. There's a high I get from running that I can't get any other way. It's addicting, and hard to stop once you start. As my chiropractor also said, when it hurts, stop. That's your body's way of telling you it's time to stop. Hmm, what a concept. So, I almost feel like I am back to square one. I will take a break again from running and see what happens. For all you runners out there, just be careful. It's all worth it, but it catches up to you, in one way or another. I guess it's just the price we all pay.


  1. Hey Rach!

    This sounds so much like my post! Did you read the one about highs and lows? So. . . would you rather have it be your knees or your internal organs? I can't decide which one is worse!

  2. Nice to know the Under Armor shoes work! I've been waiting on some reviews since they are such a new shoe. Maybe I will have to try them for my next shoe. Spinning class does burn calories baby! It has been a nice cross-training for me since my knees won't hold up for more than a 3-day run week. If you ever get a Gold's pass, you should try it out! Andrea and I also go to a Total Body Conditioning class that kicks my patoot! It would be nice to have you come!