I actually do know myself … Knee and Backing out of races

1 06 2008

Well — I got pegged for not listening to Alicia with respect to my knee. What people don’t seem to realize is that I *have* been listening. I had an extremely good conversation with Dave before and through the Clinic. Mike Mc. and I have talked through things. I’ve cut out or cut short trainings but there is something that people don’t quite get – and I’m going to make very clear:

Knee braces are very hard to fit on my leg.

I get really sick of fighting on this one and that’s part of why it’s taking an act of personal God for me to actually *say* something and acknowledgeknee pain or any other. I’m saying something because people do care and I am hard headed.

Like everything I write – I’m writing about myself. I know braces help many, but …

When they were first trying to have me in a patella stabilizer after I started walking again I was told this neoprenewonder would be a part of my life for forever. It was a good thing I wore long and wide clothes as the thing was bulky, ugly and perpetually reminded me that I was broken and no longer able to be athletic. Worse yet were the rashes I would get as it appeared I had some kind of allergy to the neoprene. I would do my level best to rinse the braces out, but I was in them for hours  and they never cleaned properly. I was doped up on a variety of pain meds, so the rashes didn’t really hurt per se, but they were disgusting.

Over the past 20 years, I’ve worn them off and on. I clean them carefully and every time I end up with a rash. Also I end up with the thing slipping at inopportune times wherein I find myself having to pull the stupid thing up under my jeans while pushing gear or working a show. I also would feel my entire self lose faith in my ability to be a whole person. When I first moved to Colorado, I decided to try skiing again … and wore the old brace. It was like an old friend … wrapped in an itchy old sweater.

I was accused of not knowing how to properly wrap my knee with an ace bandage. I learned how to stabilizea patella when I was first running cross country at Del Mar because of the gopher holes in the field. I also got quite good at wrapping ankles for the same reason. The problem I had then – as now actually – is the construction of my legs is not even. I’ve got fairly stocky legs for my size: Wide thighs, narrowish knees, heavy calves. Things just don’t like to stay up. Over the past month or two I’ve even tried sports taping them and that just becomes a mess.

This means that what I need to do is strengthen and stretch. Um … yup!

I did give the knee brace thing one more try after I couldn’t find my old ones. I had to take my car in for a much needed oil change and thought since I was taking care of that, I would try one more time to take care of me. I tried a wide variety of these braces on — but unlike my skating days, I needed a patella stabilizer. I found pull ons, spring sided, wrap arounds and more. The materials seemed to be better for breathing. I dumped the packages in the cart as I kinda racewalked pushing a shopping cart around the store. Each and every time the stupid thing started to slip. I must admit that I held out the most hope for the one with the spring sides, but when I felt my knee clicking under it … I pulled that pup off quick.

So – Gang – I do listen. I see the care in the eyes of those closest to me who know I love my racing and I’ve got a lot more of it to do. Don’t think I don’t listen. Realize, however, that there is more at ‘stake’ there than simply going out and buying a brace. When I would wear that brace … I would be very stupid and self destructive because I was wearing it.  Seriously! Knee’s braced, let’s take on whatever and if it hurts at the end, whatever  –  I’ll wear it longer.

Bite me!

I don’t like meds, pills or braces for me. I acknowledge that I’ve had a bit of an adrenaline powered death wish for the majority of my life and I’m getting over that. When I discovered bio-freeze, I realized this was a very cool tool but that I would have to be very careful with it. I’ve used it as a bit of a preventative before long races – but I make sure I warm up very carefully and slowly. Right now, I’m sick that I had to use it after the Trophy Series race to deal with the pain of my knee clicking back in to place and the back of my overused right one. I’m really embarrassed that I showed a weakness with it when it tricked. BUT I am thankful that I used the product to keep me OK so I could walk around, stretch slowly then go out and do some cool down safely.

I try to acknowledge my injuriesand not hide behind them. I’ve not been happy with my brain-space for the last couple of races because I’ve been trying to get my brain around re-bracing the knee. It ain’t gonna happen. I’ll try to find a sports med program at the University of Colorado in Denver and go there first. I would prefer to back off, know what’s wrong, deal with it and race until I’m 110 over taking meds, unnecessary surgery and being dependent on braces, canes, crutches or wheels (I’ve been there already).

I’m thankful for those whom are realizing this about me and finding ways around my blocks by giving me slightly slower times to nail, being there, being supportive and caring.


I was asking for trouble really. I’ve pounded each race and coming in after landing on both knees from the Tripping of the Green … I need to get a life.

RMRR 4Mi PR –> Belleview Chiropractic 5K PR –> Cherry Creek Sneak 5Mi PR –> RMRR 5 Mi PR –> Colfax 1/2 Marathon PR (Knee) –> Dave’s Clinic (green eyed stare to TAKE IT EASY) –> Bolder Boulder 10K PR (?) –> RMRR 2.2 –> Garden of the Gods 10 Mi –> Stadium Stampede 5K

I did this partly because I was bored. When I get bored, I just listen to my running friends who say “Hey Shep – this sounds like fun … are you going to do it.” If I’ve got the money at the time, I just do it … much to the consternation of Coach Dave. It’s that last vestige of a death wish probably. The thing is it really messes with training and this year is the beginning of judged races for me.

With sanity prevailing, I dropped out of today’s San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon. I’ll be eating the entry on the Tri-For-The-Cure also – can’t take getting kicked in the face again and triathlons might be fun, but really not my gig. Third on the list is the San Antonino Rock and Roll Half Marathon. Pfew. Ok – it’s out now. I’m not doing any of the above.

I would love to do a few things, but Let’s Face Facts – I’ve got some busy things coming up that I knowI’m doing. I’ve got to settle down and get my times stable. I want to try the judged racewalks. It’s fine proving to people that a walker can do the running events, but the real challenge for me will be going around and around and around and … you get the point … being judged in my own sport.

The paid for events after July are below! Thanks for being an amazing group of friends and virtual friends.


Park to Park 10 Miler
Skirt Chaser 5K (?)
RMRR Chatfield Race 10 miler

San Jose Rock and Roll 1/2 (on my birthday)
Denver Marathon (HUGE GOAL FOR THIS ONE)
Denver Gorilla Run 5.6 Miles for gorillas

RMRR 9 Miler
Dave’s Class in Florida
Thanksgiving Panicking Poultry or Turkey Trot if here.

RMRR 4.4 Mile … unless icy


Surf City 1/2 Marathon

Huntington Beach Judged Racewalk – some ungainly miles




2 responses

3 06 2008

Stupid Question: Have you considered a cotton layer underneath the neoprene brace, as an attempt to reduce the rashes? Something like a piece of an old dead t-shirt?

6 06 2008

Ah — not so stupid a question – quite logical. Before I got back into athletics I did use old t-shirts under my various braces. Some worked to various degrees depending on the brace.. The problem, however, when you’re doing athletics where sweating is involved cotton is *DEATH* because it just gets wet and stays that way – keeping the salt nice and close to damp skin … funky ‘diaper rash’. Good thought, however! 🙂

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