Yesterday I went for a run.* No, this is not the thing that indicates I have a screw loose. That comes later, but going for a run was a catalyst for my realization. This will, however, take a bit of back story.
I’ve run off and on for about three years or so. And for the most part I enjoy it, except for once every year or so when my knees say to me, “MJ, we’ve discussed this and we just don’t like you. Well, to be perfectly honest, we hate you. And yes, it’s personal, so in protest we’ll be achy and sore every time you run, climb stairs, or ride your bike.” To which I respond, “Ow. What the fuck, knees**.” The first time this happened I whined to my doctor hoping she’d intervene. She told me to stretch. Thanks a lot, Doc, I could have Googled that. Nevertheless, I took her advice and I stretched more. It certainly made things better, but still, the pain. And achy knees in your early twenties? Fuck that noise. Back to the doctor, where I learned about the magic of Running While Being a Lady and all of the things that can go wrong.
You see, there’s a thing called a Q angle. I don’t know much about it other than it measures how your hips and knees are aligned, but I know bigger Q angles are bad. Bigger Q angles also go hand-in-hand with having medium to large hips, which I happen to possess. So my asshole Q angle, combined with running, was causing my IT band (look it up, I won’t even attempt to explain it here) to be tight and fuck my knees up. Hence the soreness and aching.
Enter the foam roller.
For those of you unfamiliar with this particular device, foam rollers are ancient instruments of torture cleverly disguised as unassuming tubes of firm foam which are designed to turn people who have IT issues into blubbering messes. I would not be at all surprised to learn that foam rollers are included in Section III of the Malleus Maleficarum, along with the choke pear and hot pincers, as instruments for interrogating suspected witches. They also stretch and massage soft tissues.
Rolle the legges, and rolle them welle. If she doese notte curse and screame as the deamonf leaue the iliotibial band, ye shall knowe her for a wytche.***
I was, however, blissfully unaware of this fact and only knew that my doctor said foam rolling could help make my knees stop hurting. I thought this was fantastic, so I happily went out an bought myself one. I swear the athletic store clerk actually snickered when he rang my chipper ass up. I discovered why when I tried it out.
A brief explanation: to foam roll you basically lie down with whatever muscle you want to work on lying on the roll, let your body weight sit on it, and roll back and forth until you hit a knot or sore spot. How do you know if you hit a knot? Because it will hurt like you’re being stabbed and then you will want to cry. So my inner monologue the first time went something like this:
Well, this isn’t so bad. It actually feels kind of nice, like a gentle AUUUGGGHHH CHRIST ON A CRACKER I’VE BEEN SHOT.
I may have shrieked a bit. I definitely wanted to quit. But I’m kind of hard headed and in the interest of not letting my knees get the better of me****, I persevered. Over time, both the foam rolling and my knees stopped hurting. This was great, until I took one of my many, many breaks from running and then started back up a few months later. Because the thing about IT issues is that if you’re prone to them you have to do preventative work to keep them from coming back. Like foam rolling. Which hurts almost as much after a break as it did the first fucking time. Only the problem is, now you know how bad it sucks. And if I don’t foam roll in conjunction with other stuff, my knees revolt and I’m back at square one.
So now to tie this all in with my run yesterday and my head issues. Yesterday was the first time I’d run since back in October. I quit running then because a) I’m lazy and b) I didn’t keep up with my knee issues and they started to get sore requiring a little time off. On my walk back to my apartment post run, I knew my first order of business, pre-shower, pre-lunch, would be to stretch and hit the dreaded foam roller. And I discovered to my shock that I was almost gleeful about foam rolling again. I wondered how long this disturbing glee would last and, when I actually lay down on the floor to foam roll I found it stuck through all of the pain and suffering. I was whimpering from the discomfort and having the time of my life simultaneously.
Clearly I have a few wires crossed and I need to get out of the house more, but still. This is even more sick and wrong than I’m used to and I’m not sure what to make of this development. I really hope I’m not turning into one of Those People. Please feel free to shoot me if I begin using phrases like “hurts so good,” or “no pain, no gain.” The world will be better off.
* I, MJ, blogger of SomeSummerSunday, hereby swear that this will not become one of Those Blogs. There will be no discussion of my “fuel.” I will not pretend to understand how training plans are put together, nor will I suggest you use one of my invention. I will not blabber on about race times and paces, and you will never read a complaint that MY GARMIN showed that the race course was 0.0000012 miles too long so by MY GARMIN’S time I clearly PR’d (or you wouldn’t if I ever ran races). I will not post pictures I forced R to take of me post-run, standing pigeon toed and sweaty. Sneakers, race bibs, and awkward shots of my running shorts will never grace the header. My blog title will never be changed to anything involving the words “Run(ner),” “Peanut Butter,” or “Eats,” nor will it follow Verb, Verb, Verb format. There will be no, I repeat, no, photographs of any chafing or discussion of potential mid-run gastrointestinal issues. Those who know me have my permission to piss on my grave should I ever post a duck-face photo. Running will only be mentioned if something humorous is involved. Thank you.
** I’m using the plural, because even though it’s really just my left knee that’s a whiny little bitch about everything I’m pretty sure my right knee is in on it too.
*** Language nerds: I know this is a butchered version of Early Modern English, rather than anything remotely resembling the language used when the Maleficarum was written*****. I’m too lazy to find an actual translator or a dictionary and my knowledge of Middle English can be summed up as “Was used some time in the dark ages and they weren’t too fond of standardized spelling. Also, they had that weird f-shaped s thing.” Let’s just pretend I’m really sorry and save us all the trouble of an internet slap-fight, okay?
****Showing my various body parts who’s boss is an important part of every single health decision I make.
***** Yes, I know the Maleficarum wasn’t written in English. Sheesh.