Friday, December 14, 2012

Left knee pain/Rose Bowl bound


Inside left knee pain:
While in general my body has been feeling okay recently, I was still experiencing occasional left knee clicking on runs.  Though I generally didn't experience much pain otherwise after runs.  During the Eugene 10K on 11/18/12 and immediately after I didn't feel any pain though, about a week after that on 11/25/12 it seems like my left knee pain increased a lot on my normal weekend run.  Now sometimes during the day I have left knee pain while sitting in chairs, similar to the symptoms I experienced last summer with runners knee.  I haven't ran for 2 weeks, and likely I will extend that break to 3 weeks - I will say that I am gradually starting to feel better with all the cross training and strength training that I've been doing.

Possible causes for this:
  • Maybe I did the 10K race too fast for my body to handle right now and it pushed it over the edge?  
  • I probably should have been foam rolling and stretching more after the Eugene 10K, maybe by not doing so my left leg tightened up
  • I got Newtons in early November and am transitioning to them, maybe I transitioned to them too quickly?  I know they can cause tight calves, which in turn tight calves can cause a tight IT band.  Which in turn can cause runners knee.  My guess is this is one cause of my left knee pain, a tight IT band.  
  • Possibly the fact that I haven't been strength training as often over the past couple months weakened the muscles around my left knee, leading the kneecap to not track correctly, and causing the cartilage around my meniscus to be more frayed
  • Back when I was going to physical therapy in summer of 2011, the physical therapist told me that my left knee plica was rubbing on the kneecap, causing irritation.  It's also called plica syndrome it seems like.  Maybe my left knee got irritated at the increased activity it was being placed under and revolted.  My guess is that the cartilage around my meniscus has been more irritated recently at the increased activity and by the patella not tracking perfectly, leading to irritation in my left knee.  

Knee injury solutions:
  • I'm not entirely sure what to do next on this - I am sure that I should take a break from running at least until I don't feel any left knee symptoms while sitting down.  
  • Not sure whether I should be taking anti-inflammatories for maybe a week or so to try to reduce the swelling or irritation in the area
  • Not sure what activities are okay for me to do - whether biking is okay or if it should only be swimming for now (along with yoga and strength training)
  • Unsure whether I should go see my sports doc, I really don't want him to suggest that I get another MRI
  • Unsure whether I should go to a PT person - maybe some ultrasound therapy and ART will help to reduce the tightness in my calves and IT band, and possibly relieve pressure on my left knee
  • I know for sure that I need to continue to strength train, yoga and try spin class to try to keep my legs strong to complement my running.  I need to consistently do spin or yoga or strength training year round no matter how my body feels - I can't get lazy with this, or I might have to stop running for a bit like I'm doing right now.
  • So there are a lot of questions above, but I'm not sure of the exact solution.  Likely I will end up going to some doctor/specialist if my body doesn't feel better in a month or so.  Just annoying since my running fitness has been great recently - my normal run pace is around 7:45 to 8:30 I'd say.  I'm going to try to bike and swim to try to maintain my fitness while I'm out.  
  • One thing I am curious about is whether spin class is worth doing on a consistent basis.  Based on my research, it seems like it trains different muscle groups than running, so it might be a good complement to running to do on a consistent basis.  One problem though is that I would need to join a different gym (more expensive) to be able to attend spin classes, so this is one problem.  

Stanford vs UCLA pac-12 title game (11/30):
One side note of Stanford's epic 17-14 win over Oregon a while back is that Stanford then was in the driver seat in the pac-12.  The next week they beat UCLA 35-17 in Pasadena to host the Pac-12 title game on Nov 30.  It is awesome that Stanford got to host the title game - but it was setup bizarrely for a variety of reasons:
  • game was on a Friday night - Saturday is a way better day for football for people to make it (I think this was done purely for TV purposes)
  • game started at 5 PM - I had to take PTO to make the game (again I think this was done purely for TV purposes, why couldn't it be at 730 instead)
  • the weather was forecasted to be bad - and bay area fans literally are "fair weather fans"
  • not many UCLA fans made the trip up, since Stanford had just played them in Pasadena the week before, and getting there for a Friday night game was tough (also if UCLA won the game, UCLA would then be playing in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena again anyways)
  • all of this added up to an attendance of only 32K I think - well below the capacity of 50K, which was a bummer, it felt like a preseason game instead of a game that could send Stanford to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 2000

checkout the bad weather and all the empty seats - it ended up raining most of the game, but it wasn't as cold as Eugene at least!  Eugene fans are so much more hearty than Stanford fans - in Eugene the stadium would have been full and rocking.  

50 After 40 would be pleased - Pia Toscano of American Idol fame sang the national anthem!

My thought before the game was that Stanford would win 28-24 in a hard fought contest and advance to the Rose Bowl.  Stopping the UCLA QB Hundley and RB Franklin would be no easy task.  I figured that UCLA didn't really open their playbook the week before when they lost 35-17, since UCLA was guaranteed to play in the title game no matter what happened in that game.

UCLA got off to a great start, and was leading 14-7, and they were driving for another touchdown when Ed Reynolds of Stanford picked off a pass and took it all the way back for a TD!  From then on it was a close battle, Stanford did just enough to win the game 27-24 after UCLA missed a 52 yard field goal as time expired.  Rose Bowl bound!

Fun to head onto the field after the win!

I've always wanted to go to the Rose Bowl!  Me and my crew are going to the game on Jan 1 - should be awesome!  Stanford's opponent is Wisconsin, which is fitting since I have relatives there, and I even went to Wisconsin for a football game this year!  I saw 9 Stanford games, and 1 Wisconsin game this year lol.  My initial thought is that Stanford will win 30-21, though Wisconsin is loaded with good running backs too.  They are a very similar team to Stanford, but I think Stanford's D is better than Wisconsin's which will be the deciding factor.

And this is also Stanford's 3rd straight trip to a BCS bowl - with the Orange Bowl in 2010Fiesta Bowl in 2011 and now Rose Bowl in 2012.  All that's left is the Sugar Bowl next year lol.

check out the yardage totals - Stanford at 325, UCLA at 461.  UCLA outplayed Stanford, but Stanford got lucky with that interception that was returned for a TD.  That basically was the difference in the game.

Do you do spin class regularly?  Does it train different muscle groups than running?
Any 24 hour fitness members do Bodypump regularly?  


  1. Sorry your knee is bugging you! That is not good at all. :(
    If it's IT band, I would get on some IT exercises 2
    times a day, and also get a re-evaluation on gait/shoes. Could be that slowing down the easy pace runs a bit might help as well..but i wouldn't stop altogether. I would want to see what going a minute a mile slower felt like after a week. I assume you are going by HR.? But maybe you need to be in recovery zone until the knee improves.
    My thoughts...For whatever they're worth :)

    Thanks for the shout out &
    Have fun at the bowl!!

  2. I thought this video was helpful!
    Also, since you enjoy soccer (if I remember right), why not take the ball out and do some soccer drills (footwork). The cutting and side to side movement would build the muscles that get less use in running.

  3. Sorry to hear about your knee :( What a frustration to encounter after such a successful run in OR. I have to say I'm impressed with your knowledge of Stanford and their team- you really couldnt have called the game any more accurately!

    My knee is still bugging me too- but not to the extent of yours, but none the less feels funky during some of my runs. I am unsure of what to do for it, but keep thinking the strength training is going to take care of it once and for all sometime soon. And i'll use my TP kit to massage out lower parts in my leg in case that is causing the itb to be wonky...

  4. Hey, thanks for the shoutouts!!

    Sorry that your knee is bugging you again. The injury thing just never ends does it -- anyway, I'd be inclined to maybe go to the PT. That seems the easiest of a first step.

    Regarding spin -- I did that while recovering from the stress fracture and while it may not train the same muscles, it will certainly go a long way in keeping your aerobic fitness up. So for that it is good.

    I don't know anything about a body pump class but I'm going to start one of these day (it was supposed to be today but that didn't happen!).

  5. I wish there was something we could do to just get rid of the pain all together but I don't know if it's ever going to happen good luck to all that are having knee pains.

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