Back to running, that is. I’ve traded trails for sidewalks, mountain vistas for suburban rooflines, and roadrunners for ibis, but I’m running again.
Over a year ago — January 2013 — I injured my knee in a snowshoe race. It was a seemingly minor thing, just a little tear on the lower part of my quad, but it had major consequences. Almost to the day that I felt no lingering pain when going up and down steps, I hiked the Inca trail. On a day where we descended 1000 meters on Incan stairs I was overcome with what I interpreted as IT band pain on the same knee. Post-hike, that pain haunted me when I ran. I was devastated. It was incapacitating. And it took me a long time to figure out how to run again.
I thank my therapist, Jessica Kisiel of The Pain Free Athlete, (she’s in Los Alamos, but I get therapy over Skype) for helping me reach this point. I’ve done what is generically called “posture alignment therapy” — a regimen of active and passive exercises and stretches designed to align your posture and make the appropriate muscles do their jobs — since 2007, and I started working specifically with Jessica sometime 2010-2011-ish. Her therapy combined with adopting a new running form has got me back in running shoes again.
I finally got this figured out sometime last November, and I progressed very cautiously. I’ve just barely got up to the 5 km distance, which is all I had hoped for, but I don’t feel limited to that. I have to be vigilant with my form, but it feels easy and natural now. I feel like it is now ok to declare victory.