So, you all know how excited I’ve been to be able to have some of my mobility back now that I’ve had a baby, and to feel like I’m gaining in strength again. In just the last two weeks, I’ve been back to running about three days a week — short runs of 2 or 2.5 miles, with regular walking intervals, and it’s been awesome to not feel so much like a prisoner in my own gigantic body. (I am working really hard to not compare myself with every other runner, mom, or runner mom that I encounter, too, which helps.)
Yesterday morning I headed out for another easy 2.5 mile walk/run around the park by Steve’s parents’ house. I had decided ahead of time to decrease my running time and increase my walking intervals, despite how discouraged I’d be seeing a slower time on my watch, because of this random and sudden pain I’ve been experiencing in my right knee. So off I headed into the oppressive humidity, hoping for the best.
It was not the best. I felt incredibly slow and heavy, my knee and ankle aching with every step as I lumbered my way around the path. I’m sure some (or a lot, even) of my sluggishness was due to how humid it was, and it didn’t help that I started my run at 11 am. But what made my run collapse into a walk was my knee. For some reason, I felt about a hundred years old. Remembering the old question do I want to run today, or do I want to run long term? I debated for a few laps whether to continue what was left of my run intervals at all. By the second mile, my knee hurt with every step, and trying not to be resentful I slowed to a walk for another mile.
I was (and am) irritated — after all, we’re finishing up a long weekend visiting family, which means lots of goodies to eat; I have one more long road trip ahead of me (I snack a lot on road trips); I still can’t both button my jeans and breathe. So my workouts are important to me. But more than that, I was (and am) a little scared — what if I’ve really overdone it, and am looking at a real injury after just two weeks back on the road?
Dr. Google seems to confirm my suspicions that my old nemesis Relaxin is at work here. I am not surprised: this pesky hormone gave me tons of trouble during my pregnancy and was single-handedly responsible for my not running while I was pregnant. From what I’ve read, postpartum joint pain isn’t terribly uncommon, and for someone like me with naturally loose joints and ligaments, it’s basically a requirement. It seems it should resolve with time, although breastfeeding can exacerbate the issue. So after I came home, I did this:
What I don’t know, however, is what to do next. I don’t know if this is the kind of thing that will sideline my running even longer, or if I just need to pop some ibuprofen before I go out. I do know that strength training will help, so I’m going to (finally) really spend time and effort in that area. Squats, lunges and planks, here I come! And of course this is yet another reason to do more yoga.
We’ll see how my knee feels in a few more days. Hopefully I can run again on Saturday, but I’ll be sure to take it really easy. There’s no rush! In the meantime, though, I’ve got my fingers crossed that after two steps forward, this is only one small step back.