"I kinda like the freedom of just wearing sneaks, jogging shorts and a t-shirt.”
I made the above declaration back in July, and while it’s still true — I do like that freedom — it doesn’t really apply anymore, as I’ve started to accrue — *shudder* — “running gear.”
Initially wanting to be able to gauge my progress, I took to bringing my iPhone along with me. The stopwatch function on same let me know how long it was taking me to wearily complete my runs. More recently, after I decided to get a bit more serious and increase my runs to twenty-minute sessions, I decided that music would probably help me, so I started bringing my precious 160 GB iPod Classic. In the wake of revealing that, however, a concerned reader named Greg sagely advised that I might not want to do that, as “the disk inside can get damaged from too much bumping around. Best to use a shuffle or something else with a flash drive."
Being that they’ve since discontinued the iPod Classic (and I’ve been thus far unsuccessful in procuring a sealed back-up for when my current one dies), I thought this was prudent advice. As such, I went ahead and got myself a purple iPod Nano.
Even though it’s a comparatively lightweight device (it’s the width of a Trisket for chrissakes), it still carries a hefty amount of music *AND* comes equipped with specially tailored fitness functionality. I just plug in my height and my weight, set it for a twenty-minute run, and it actually gives me progress reports through my headphones as I’m trudging along.
I was initially skeptical, but it’s pretty great. I loaded it up with a slew of quick-tempo’d tunes and it’s made a world of difference. Set on shuffle, I kicked off the other morning scored by “Aces High” by Iron Maiden, which segued into “Nuclear Boy” by Killing Joke (which matched my stride perfectly) which was followed by “Sleepless” by King Crimson, then into “A Promise” by the Violent Femmes and culminating with the splenetic sprint of “We Bite” by the Misfits. Wrapped up in the music, and always anticipating what song was going to come next, I didn’t find myself worrying about how much time I’d spent or had left. The Nano would tell me in five minute intervals how I was doing. It was all working out perfectly.
Well, it was working out perfectly, I should say, until the pain started.
After only a few days of running in these more intensified sessions, I started to feel a little wobblier in the knees. I hadn’t fallen or banged me my leg into anything, but I was started to feel a dull-but-insistent ache just below my right kneecap. Yesterday morning, even though I wasn’t feeling totally great, I dutifully suited up for my AM run, only to swiftly curtail it a few minutes in. The pain in my knee was too distinct to ignore. As I’ve suggested in the past, I’m not out to punish myself — the moment something feels wrong, I’m wise enough to interpret the signal my body is sending. And this signal was coming through loud and clear.
Do I have “runner’s knee”?
I did a bit of Googling, and came up with an informative piece from Active.com, featuring this telling tidbit:
A term used to describe a number of knee issues, runner's knee often occurs because of an increase in mileage. While some harriers will experience sporadic pain, others have problems nearly every time they add miles. The condition can also be related to poor running form and core strength.
Sounds like someone’s got my number. Being that I am indeed experiencing the pain in the wake of increasing my mileage and that — not to sound too self-deprecating — I'm doubtlessly practicing poor running form and probably boast lamentable core strength, it seems like this is indeed the issue I’m grappling with.
Regretfully, I’ve since decided to take a few days off from running to see if this pain will subside. I also invested in a pair of Future knee support braces. I’m disconcerted and discouraged by the development, but I’m convinced there has to be a way around it. I’m just kind of amazed it’s happening already.