So I went to the Orthopedist today to check out the pain in my left knee that has kept me from running this year so far. It was not that bad in terms of how much pain it was but even with rest it wasn't getting any better so I was worrying a little bit. If you have read my previous posts, you already know I'm the type of person who avoids going to the doctor so I won't be told I can't run. These type of person is also known as an idiot. However, I want to run my first 10K at the end of February so instead of putting it off any longer I just went and got it over with.
So the Doc took some X-Rays of my knee and checked it out. As he was checking my whole leg, the conversation went like this:
Doc: So it hurts after you run? (He stretches my leg up)
Me: Yes, it bothers me when I run but after... ouch!
Doc: (Stretching more) OK... ummm do you stretch?
Me: Uhhhh, not enough as I should... (translation: No)
Doc: Well, your hamstrings are very tight.
Me: Oh, thank you Doc, aside from running I don't really work out...
Doc: I didn't mean it like that.
Me: I know.
As it turns out, I have never been happier being told there is something wrong. I have tendinitis. A very common thing, usually related to repetitive work injuries. For example, people who work with computers all day get it on their wrists. Many guitar players develop it on their fingers. You know who else gets it? Runners! Runners, like me! I am a runner apparently.
Anyway, the Doc said it was normal, that my knees were OK (a pleasant surprise considering my weight) and that the pain would subside. He gave me some anti-inflammatory meds and told me to take it easy for the moment. He also recommended to stretch before and after runs. He mentioned that tightness in some muscle groups (like the hamstrings) can cause imbalances that can affect your form and bring pain, discomfort and stuff like... tendinitis.
I never thought much about warming up. I figured since I run so slow, the beginning would count as a warm up. Stretching however, I never gave it much thought. I guess I should now. Funny thing is, I used to play guitar in a band and was really into it so I'm very familiar with the concept of tendinitis. I never got it though. Why? Because I was so afraid to get it, that I thoroughly warmed up and stretched my fingers before every gig, rehearsal or practice session. Maybe I should try that warm up/stretching thing when I run to see how it goes.
So I'm taking my meds and take the rest of the week off. Then, next Tuesday, it's on! Kind of... Gonna go back down to three miles and work my way up, paying special attention to avoid falling too hard on my feet to protect the knees and, needless to say, I will warm up and stretch before running. Maybe even stretch after the run. Of course, I'm crazy to try out my new Garmin 410 which has been laughing at me from my nightstand all this time.