Leading up to Mud Hero, I has started to feel a small amount of pain in my knee. Nothing too piercing, but it was growing gradually. It felt somewhat familiar – patellar tendonitis is a problem I battled when I was running half marathon in my early thirties, and this felt pretty much like that, only what it started, it was a bit more dull. Prior to Mud Hero, we had been building up a fair bit of volume of squats. I did;t think much of it at the time because I was never pushing myself too hard on them. But the volume did add up, it seems.
And so I steamed headlong into Mud Hero – I had been registered for months and I didn’t want to give it up. And while my knee actually felt ok during the event, I did feel a pronounced change in my knee in the days that followed. I’d clearly exacerbated the tendon issue. And it was now getting worse just walking around. So even before I could get in to see a doctor or physio, feeling confident that my self-diagnosis was fairly close to the mark, I immediately stopped doing any form of squatting in class. Yeah, I could have taken a break from Crossfit altogether, but I didn’t want to lose the fitness I was still building and I knew from my experience with my last go around with tendonitis that it would take a lot longer to heal than I could possibly take off anyway. So modifying my workouts was the next best thing. I just had to be disciplined about it.
So that’s what my focus has been throughout the month of August (really since Mud Hero in early July). Working out, but babying my knee. When i did finally get in to the doctor, he confirmed the diagnosis. Initially I thought I would simply manage it on my own, but by the early part of August the progress in healing was so slow that I thought I should go into a physiotherapist and get it looks at to see if I could get some targeted therapy to help move things along. So that’s exactly what I did and it certainly made a difference. Is it healing as fast as I would like? Nope. But is progress being made? Yes.
One thing that has become clear to me is this: knees factor into your workout in ways you don’t imagine until you’re forced to find ways to workout while avoiding using them. I thought my broken ribs were tough to work around, but this had been even harder. And when I do avoid using my knees, often the scaled workout feels even tougher. For example, any time a run is on the board, I sub in a row of the same distance. But I’m doing the row with one leg, leaving my left dangling off the rower as straight as I can keep it but avoiding throwing me off balance. That’s exhausting. And when air squats come up, I sub in pistols on my good leg, using the rig for balance. And I don’t usually cut the number down until my leg just can’t do it any more. So the compensation makes each workout just a little tougher. And it also means I’m developing strength in my right that I’m not developing in my left. So I may have to do some balancing work later on.
The coaches at Rocky Lake have been great about it – Shane, Mike, Ticia, Michael (the team of 6am crew coaches) – all have been very accommodating to my injury and very helpful in suggesting scaling or modifications that allow me to workout in spite of my knee trouble. I’m sure I could have played with it on my own, but their support makes it easier for sure.