TITLE: Runner, Interrupted AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: April 03, 2011 10:07 AM DESC: ----- BODY:

Have you ever confused a dream with life?

I haven't blogged about running in a long while. Then again, I haven't run in a while now. If you'd rather not hear me whine about that, you should skip the rest of this post! I was getting through winter well enough, running 30+ miles each week. The coldest weather wasn't even stopping me; long, cold runs were the norm on Sunday mornings. On March 4, I ran a good track workout, but as the day wore on I knew I wasn't feeling well. What ensued was the worst flu or something that I can remember. It knocked me out for two full weeks, through SIGCSE and spring break. I made it to Dallas for the conference, but my paucity of SIGCSE-themed posts was certainly a product of just how bad I felt. Just as I was ready to start running again, my right knee became the problem. I don't recall suffering any particular injury to it at the time. I woke up one day with a stiff knee. Within a couple days I felt pain while walking, and soon it was swollen and stiffer. It's now been two weeks more. I'm still hobbling around, knee wrapped tightly to immobilize it. The swelling and pain have decreased, and I hope that means I am on a trajectory to normal function. I have a second doctor's appointment this coming week. With any luck, an MRI will be able to tell us what is going on in there. While I don't recall suffering any particular injury to the knee recently, I suspect that this is related to an injury I do remember. In 1999, I was at ChiliPLoP. We were playing doubles tennis after a long day working on elementary patterns. About an hour in, I was back and my partner was at the net. One of our opponents hit a bunny that floated enticingly over the net on my side of the court. I called my partner off and ran in for what would be an impressive smash. My partner must not have heard me. He ran along the net, apparently with the same idea in mind. As I stretched out to strike the ball, he struck me -- solidly on the inside of my knee, which buckled outwards. For the rest of ChiliPLoP, I was pretty well immobile. After I returned home, I went to a highly respected orthopedic surgeon. He suggested a conservative plan, letting the knee heal and then strengthening it with targeted exercise. If all seemed well, we would skip surgery and see what happened. After rest and exercise, the knee seemed fine, so we let it be. And so it was for twelve years. And just twelve years of sedentary lifestyle. Since 2003, I have kept close records of my running, and by my tally I have run about 13,000 miles. In all that time, I've never had any knee pain, and scant few days of running lost to injury. This injury could be the result of cumulative wear and tear, but I really would have expected to see symptoms of the wearing down over time. I do hope that the doctor can figure out what's going on. With any luck, it's an aberration, and I'll be back on the trail soon! (Writing this reminds me that I still haven't posted my Running Year in Review for 2010. I have started it a time or two and need only to finish. You'd think that not running would give me plenty of time...) -----