The Non-Running Saga: Knee vs Brain

by Heather

I keep waiting to write my running comeback post. It’d go something like this:

I ran! 3 miles pain free! Only that hasn’t happened. So I’m not writing my comeback post. Yet.

running track

While I can hardly believe it’s December for many reasons, what strikes me the most is that it’s been six months since I’ve ran any distance worth writing about. This used to be a blog about running in spite of a chronic pain disorder. That was it’s entire purpose. Now it’s a blog about food and random other things to fill the space while I sit here and wait for my knee to handle running again.

You can only be so patient while reading or hearing about others’ great running adventures. I can only write so many posts about not being able to run. I mark the time by crossing out squares in the calendar, each penciled in with a race I was hoping to be ready for… I don’t write them down anymore.


Things started looking up last month after I found a new doctor– one that wasn’t so eager to cut into my knee. He said of course I’d be running again; surgery was crazy. Like a good little patient, I diligently visited him bright and early twice a week for a month, each time full of hope and excitement.

He knows what he’s talking about- he answers my 5,000 daily questions and my “what ifs” and “whys” without hesitating. He points out the parts that aren’t working on a giant drawing of the human muscular system. Every morning he asks expectantly, “How’s the running?”

I answer “Great!”, because at this point, a slow mile on the treadmill is victorious. But I think he’s on to me… I should be running farther, and it’s not happening yet.

But now the question is, can my knee not handle running more than 2 miles, or can my brain not handle it?

north face race relay

I know, without a doubt, had I stopped running that race when I first felt that tug of pain in my knee, I wouldn’t be here writing about not running. I’d be training for Disney like I’d planned, the last race I have yet to cross out on my calendar.

Now when I run and I feel that familiar shot of pain on the outside of my leg, I become absolutely terrified. Almost literally paralyzed with fear. If I keep running, am I dooming myself to another 6 months on the sidelines?

I’ve been down this road before. I’ve put on my game face, and powered through. But 6 months on, 6 months off isn’t really the game plan I had in mind.


So now it’s back to the doctor, yet again, to figure out whether it’s my knee… or whether it’s my head.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Jim December 1, 2010 at 10:24 am
You know, you could take up swimming while you wait. Swimming is a great core builder for any type of athlete, runner or triathlete. When I busted up my knee last summer I swam for a while I came back stronger and faster than before. Just an idea! :-) Happy Holidays! Jim Just blogged...RB1- Day 3 Swim Run and some diet changes
Heather December 1, 2010 at 2:53 pm
Thanks- I do swim! I want to run :)
Honey B Nutrition December 1, 2010 at 10:59 am
Use this time to take up other forms of working out! I think you are doing the right thing - no running through pain, bad idea! Honey B Nutrition Just blogged...Bored of Water
Theresa @ActiveEggplant December 1, 2010 at 11:15 am
Hope you get this figured out soon! I was sidelined a couple years ago because of an ankle injury and it drove me crazy...but it wasn't anything like what your'e dealing with b/c I could still walk long distances (was able to walk all of the races I had planned instead of running). Keep your head up - you'll find a solution & some day look back on this 6 months as a relatively short time. Good luck! Theresa @ActiveEggplant Just blogged...Temporary Post Used For Theme Detection 37d271b8-783f-4517-a907-31a3231b97ca – 3bfe001a-32de-4114-a6b4-4005b770f6d7
Heather December 1, 2010 at 2:54 pm
I'm impressed with your dedication to walk your races!!!
Karyn December 1, 2010 at 12:27 pm
good luck with the doctor. sending positive vibes that you get some answers! December 1, 2010 at 2:56 pm
Get a nintendo-wii and take up bowling? LOL :-) What about biking?
Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun December 1, 2010 at 3:26 pm
That's got to be so hard. You don't want to take any chances, but you don't want fear to hold you back either. I wish there was a way to know 100% sure when its safe to push and when not. Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun Just blogged...high school date night
Liz @ IHeartVegetables December 1, 2010 at 4:40 pm
I'm sorry you're still having pain in your knee :( I know it sucks when all you wanna do is RUN And you can't! Keep up the good attitude. I hope it gets better soon :)
Christine (The Raw Project) December 1, 2010 at 4:50 pm
So sorry, I hope it works out for you soon. Hang in there and keep a good attitude!
Nichole December 1, 2010 at 6:22 pm
I just want to hug you. Thanks for opening up to us, I can't imagine how hard this is for you. I like to think about all the awesome things you DO talk about:) Lots of goodies here - Nichole Just blogged...We’re gonna have the hap hap happiest christmas since Bing Crosby tapdanced with Danny fn Kaye
Lisa December 1, 2010 at 6:50 pm
This post makes me sad....because I'm going through it too. I was so happy last week when I ran 2 miles (very slowly) on the treadmill with NO PAIN. Then I tried to recreate it another day and...discomfort. Not sure if it's pain yet. My body hates me right now! Lisa Just blogged...So Much to Be Thankful For
Jess December 2, 2010 at 12:20 pm
I can totally relate. I discovered a stress fracture in my shin last August. I realized in October that I would not be able to do the half marathon that I planned on doing in December. I had too many bad runs. Finally in Mid November I made it back up to 5 miles. Last week I ran 3 days in a row and the fracture is back. All my friends and family are running the half this weekend. I will be there to cheer them on but it's going to be heart breaking that I won't be doing it.
Bekah @ December 2, 2010 at 5:41 pm
I am so sorry that you are having such a hard battle with running right now. I admire your will and desire to run again. Best of luck to you girl, we are rooting for you! Bekah @ Just blogged...Share Your Passions
Erika @ FoodFitnessFun December 2, 2010 at 7:08 pm
You still have your determination and that's awesome! If I were side-lined for 6 months I probably would have given up and stopped running. Hope your knee gets well soon! Erika @ FoodFitnessFun Just blogged...What Black Belt Means To Me
kate December 2, 2010 at 9:36 pm
Hang in there sister! I hope that you find the answer to your running situation soon!
Sock Runner January 28, 2011 at 12:26 am
I really admire your determination. I think that you shouldn't push it too hard though, because you might be risking your knee more if you keep going. It'll take time to be able to know how to get you back on track again and maybe it'll also be better to try other activities, just to keep your body fit. Good luck! Sock Runner Just blogged...ZEMgear Heads to Outdoor Retailer Show

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post: