I posted a while back about my knee problems and my hopes/goals going forward with regards to what activities I would be able to do. In short, I was diagnosed with chondromalacia after limping off the soccer field and being unable to walk without pain 3 summers ago. It sometimes hurt on the bike and always hurt when running. Slowing down, running downhill, cutting to my right or kicking a soccer ball were all pretty much not options. I had been a long time athlete who had taken a break after college and was trying to get back in shape/enjoy the outdoors more again. I felt like the care that I'd been given was poor and all options certainly weren't explored on a medical level, but didn't see a lot of options without incurring bills on top of other bills I couldn't pay so I just sort of did what I thought would be best. I double checked the fit of my bikes and avoided running. I did some specific exercises etc. etc..
It has now been about 34 months since the initial issues came up. What has been most interesting to me is that I've made steady progress thoughout that entire time period. It was slow at the beginning and has been slow throughout the whole process but now I find myself able to do things that would have hurt previously and without thinking about it. I'm still afraid to include running in any of my training- and I do really miss trail running. However, running to stay out of the rain, running a few blocks to get somewhere faster or the running necessary for cyclocross is no longer painful. It took until this spring before I could rollerblade without any pain. Rollerblading used to seem ok, but then the knee would hurt doing regular things the next day and sometimes on my bikes. I learned to skate ski two winters ago and really braced the knee up, but still had to endure some pain (and the worry that I was making things worse). This year it was a bit better, I could ski to exhaustion without any significant issues.
Downhill skiing is the biggest question mark for me. I'm sure it was the actual root of the damage and it's also something I really don't want to give up forever. Skiing has been a large part of my identity for most of my life. I've not gone to any 'real' ski areas since the first winter after the pain. I'm sort of clinging to the hope that over time as my strength increases, time passes etc. that I'll be able to aggressively ski again. I remember one trip to Welch three years ago where I was completely unable to ski whatsoever.
I've also lost 20-25 lbs since that summer (more on this in another post). I believe that much of the gains I've seen this past winter/spring are directly related to the weight loss. Weight loss and increased strength cannot hurt! That said, I don't want a recurring problem that requires me to always work my ass off or have pain. I felt like that was basically the direction my doctors wanted me to go with lots of physical therapy etc. and no other hope for the future. I am hoping that by resting it and strengthening it I am buying time before an appropriate medical solution can be found and paid for. I do have a new doctor who is much better with sports stuff now and I may bring it up again this year as well, although it was my provider's sports specialists previously who really left me with no hope.
Last year I posted that I had a long-term goal of being able to run the 6 miles or so each way to work and back. I did try running a few times last fall and found that I didn't feel "ready", or maybe didn't have just the right brace, or maybe was just too worried about setting myself back. I'm not sure when I'll get the motivation to get back at this. At the very least it might be fun to be able to run a pain-free 5k or two with my friends.
Numbers. - Saturday I biked a tad over 4 hours on the fat bike, all within a few miles of my house. We received a bit of snow overnight, an inch or so. I had though...
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