Update: Well This Isn’t Fair



Update: Just got back from running 2.5 miles. I was hoping, with all of the stretching, rest and new shoes, that I would be able to get 3.5 without any pain. Knee pain started at about 1.2 miles. At that point, I immediately turned around and ran home. This is good news and bad news. The knee pain was not as bad as the last two running attempts. I also made it all the way back home. I immediately stretched out the IT Band and I feel pretty good right now. No pain at all. I’m gonna try another 2 miles tomorrow. I guess that’s the real test.

Running should be hard. I’ve never argued that fact. I’ve never really whined about it either. I know what I’m doing is tough and I know what I’m planning to do is infinitely tougher. Ever ask a marathon runner about their experience? It usually involves extreme pain, mental anguish and a fair amount of bodily fluids being expelled from their body around mile marker #22. That’s the point.

I’m not attempting to run a marathon because I enjoy pain (although I do call myself a fan of the Baltimore Orioles… interesting). I’m doing it because I want to feel accomplished. I want to say that I did something not many people are able to do. I want to be able to say that I was able to push myself — that I have the willpower. And willpower is the key. It’s a daily fight to get off the darn couch. That’s why running is hard. It’s hard to decide to run 7 miles in the cold when taking a nap or watching T.V. are other options on the table.

It shouldn’t be hard because your body is throwing in the towel.

I’ve talked about my various injuries before. That’s all well and good. They were various aches and pains that — when compared to real injuries — are only annoyances. Truth be told, none of them ever stopped me from running, they only made my running slightly more painful. All in all, I was pretty lucky.

That was before I developed iliotibial band syndrome. What’s that you ask? I’m sure Wikipedia has the answer!

ITBS is one of the leading causes of lateral knee pain in runners. The iliotibial tract (iliotibial band) is a superficial thickening of tissue on the outside of the thigh, extending from the outside of the pelvis, over the hip and knee, and inserting just below the knee. The band is crucial to stabilizing the knee during running, moving from behind the femur to the front while walking. The continual rubbing of the band over the lateral femoral epicondyle, combined with the repeated flexion and extension of the knee during running may cause the area to become inflamed.

You wanna know the best cure for ITBS? Patience. That’s right. If your IT band is messed up, you pretty much have to wait it out. Sure, there are various stretches to loosen it up. Some say it takes 4 weeks of stretching and IT band exercises before you are able to run again. Some say a couple months.

Yeah, that’s not going to work for me. I’m already 1/3rd into my running journey. Personally, I don’t think I’m anywhere close to where I need to be, especially after sitting out eight days with the Swine Flu.

Let’s start from the beginning of the problem. So, after eight days of sitting on the sideline, I just back into my normal routine — seven miles per day. First two days were pretty rough. On the third day, my legs are killing me. Each day I run slower than the last. On day #4, I decide to take it easy and hit up the 3.7 mile trail.

I only make it one mile. The outside of my right knee is killing me. Unlike my ankle pain, the problem only gets worse as I run. By the time I start walking home, the entire upper half of my right leg — from hip to knee, is throbbing.

It takes my about three minutes of online research to discover that I have ITBS. Never before have my knees hurt. Now one hurts so bad that I can’t run. So I don’t run last weekend. I try again on Monday, this time on a track. I last 2 miles. Crap.

I go to a couple of running stores on Tuesday. Each guy that helps me says the same thing. It’s clearly ITBS and the cause is clearly a combination of overwork and old shoes. You see, when I first started running, I slowly built up a tolerance to running long distances. After my eight-day layoff, when I jumped right back into my routine, my body wasn’t ready. Running Store Clerk asked to look at the soles of my shoes.


Notice anything? It’s pretty apparent that my right foot hits the ground on the outside of the foot. With all the wear and tear on the sole, my foot is hitting the ground at an awkward angle. Couple that with an eight day layoff and an idiotic attempt to jump right back into my routine and hello ITBS.

I haven’t run since my failed attempt on Monday. I think I may be too scared. I really just want this to go away. As you can see from the final picture, I’ve purchased some new running shoes. I’ve learned pretty much every ITBS stretch in existence. Good news is that I look really cool doing them.


I’m gonna try again tomorrow. Hopefully, everything will be okay. I really want this stupid thing to be done with. Since the last week of October, I really haven’t been able to run with any consistency. I’m not so naive to think that these 18 months of training would be without setbacks. I just want to be able to run. Is that so much to ask?

One Response to “Update: Well This Isn’t Fair”

  1. The Long Road to Recovery: Part 1 « The Running Jerks Says:

    […] online pointed to Iliotibial Band Syndrome. From everything I read, this wasn’t good. Rest, I was told, was the best remedy. So I […]

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