A Change of Pace

Three weeks and two days.

That’s how much time I have left.

I mentioned a while ago that I was training for the Eugene Marathon. I registered and paid (no refunds) so that I would have to stick to my training program. And, minus a week or two since January, I have.

However, I have run up against a bit of a problem (ha. run.)… My body, my right knee in particular, does not seem to have bought in to my plan.

It might be an IT band problem, but it is not fitting all of the symptoms. It might be related to the fact that I’ve been running with Kenya for the last three months, and I hold the leash on my right side, and she pulls a little. It might be that my shoes are old, but the new ones made it worse.  I’m more worried that it is related to my really bad running form.

In my head, being a runner is synonymous with grace. Strength and grace and precision. Not unlike a ballet dancer. Long limbs and sinewy muscles. Understated power.

As this is my blog and I am allowed artistic license, I should tell you that seeing me run would bring phrases like those to mind. Especially as a single girl, I should be presenting myself in the best light possible because hey, you never know who’s reading. Unfortunately, I’m gonna be honest. I’m pretty sure that if I ever saw video footage of myself running, I would never set a running shoe-clad foot out the door again.

I have pretty flat arches, and I overpronate, and I think my toes turn out when I run, because I tend to stand like a ballerina if Im not thinking about it.  None of those things are good for my knees. And my last long run came to a stiff and painful early conclusion.  I’m actually scared that I might not be able to do 26 miles, after all this.

So this week, I’ve started doing everything I can think of to help. I have a month.

I’ve read a lot of articles, and come up with a few things.

First: Reading up on Chi Running, and POSE running.

In a month, I think I can work on changing my stride enough to help. Focus  on form, and pace, and  not getting sloppy and lazy. I can also work on strengthening the muscles around my knees that are most likely weak or imbalanced.

Second: Supplements

Starting taking a glucosamine and chondroitin, a Fish Oil (Omega-3, EPA, DHA), a good multi-vitamin, and a calcium supplement. Also doing a little NSAID therapy, because if I can control inflammation for a month, it might help more than anything, for the short term.

Third: Stretching

I always stretch after my runs, but I bought a foam roller… which is more like an excruciating massage.

It really helped a couple years ago when I had an IT band bothering me (and gym access to as many foam rollers as I could ever want to torture myself with).

So, now there’s one in my living room. In fact, I went to the store, still red-faced from a run, in my sweet running tights, and figured that would guarantee that I ran into students and their families, but I think I escaped unseen.

If you have never had the pleasure of foam rolling yourself, I highly recommend it (with an evil laugh). The innocuous little cylinder of hard foam works to produce exquisite pain using only your body weight. It gets right into those tight muscles.

In fact, it’s probably good that Kenya is a canine and not a child, or I would have to worry about the expletives she has overheard me gasping and hissing through clenched teeth.

It is the poor man’s sports massage.

The foam roller would actually almost work for a back/shoulder massage, but my hair is too long, and my ponytail gets rolled underneath and then my head gets pinned to the floor, which is awkward. (There is another image of my grace as a runner for you.)


I am also cutting my mileage down some, and still puzzling out shoe issues.

I am not ready to concede anything yet. Or speak of worst-case scenarios out loud.

If there are any other runners out there with advice, I’d be glad to hear it though!


~ by Lindsey on April 7, 2011.

One Response to “A Change of Pace”

  1. As often as possible, leave the dog behind. It has probably already occurred to you, but since it’s not actually on your list of changes I might as well put it out there. Your theory that running with the dog is a contributing factor to the problem seems highly plausible. Even what feels like a rather mild pull can represent a pretty dramatic shift in body weight distribution.

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