My first baby, Phoebe, was born on a Thursday. Two days later, I came home from the hospital with my auburn-haired, pink-cheeked baby; by Sunday evening, I felt the urge to get outside and move. My friend Willow had stopped by to meet Phoebe, so I had Willow join me for a slow and gentle stroll in our neighborhood. The January evening air was cool and smelled vaguely of damp leaves, a refreshing change from the antiseptic atmosphere of the hospital.
Willow and I headed west, on the flat street lined with tall trees and 100-year-old homes. Before we’d even gone a block, I asked Willow to slow her pace. I cursed a corner that didn’t have a wheelchair cutout in the curb, forcing me to take a bigger step up than the lower half of my body wanted to take. (And I’m not only talking about just my legs: I’d delivered Phoebe after 6+ hours of pushing--and some tearing.) After little more than three blocks—a quarter-mile, at most—I realized my mistake. “Willow, we have to turn back,” I admitted. “My stitches down there are killing me!” I minced (and winced) my way back home.
Despite that walk taking place more than 11 years ago, I was acutely reminded of it last week: I set out to run in the pre-dawn chill, but got slowed to a hobble right about where I had to turn around post-Phoebe.
As I wrote last month, my knee has been giving me some issues. What started last fall as occasional twinges when hill climbing had progressed to soreness during runs and some tightness and limping afterward. I’d been getting acupuncture treatments for it (and a minor flare-up of plantar fasciitis) and living in 110% compression gear from the knees down, and I was almost pain-free. I was feeling lucky. Then, a week ago Saturday, steps into a 16-mile training run for the Vancouver Marathon, the pain returned—and shot down into my calf. It was part Charley horse, part sucker punch. But I kept faring forward, intent on getting in the mileage with my pal Molly. (Go ahead, I’ll type what I know you’re thinking, “Way to not practice what you and Dimity preach, SBS.” I know, I know.) I could barely walk when I got home, and for days afterward I lumbered like I'd just raced 26.2.
I took a break from running for four days and had acupuncture, then tried running again. About a mile from our digs, I switched to walking, dejectedly hanging my head in the spitting-rain. The next day, I switched my line of defense and put my legs in the hands of a talented, intuitive certified athletic trainer (AT-C), Ali Novak. After a fair bit of grimace- (and wimper-) inducing work on my IT bands, my legs felt almost as good as new.
But the next morning I set off on the run that ended right about where my sun-don’t-shine stitches sent me home more than a decade ago. Since then I’ve seen Ali again (good) and tweaked my bad knee coming off the bleachers at Phoebe’s basketball game. (bad) As Dimity herself commented after that blunder: I’ve been hanging around her too long!
Next up: an MRI and a consult with a physician assistant/AT-C. Ali is thinking my problem might be a Baker’s cyst. I’ll let you know. For now, I’m hoping to make it past that ill-fated intersection sometime soon...