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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Good Doc Visit

Today was the long awaited appointment with my sports doc.  I think I've said it on here a couple of times, but I really like my doctor.  He's an ex-marathoner, who I thought was an avid cyclist, but after conversations today I learned he is a multiple Ironman finisher.  He's competed in IM Florida, Arizona, Canada, and several other full distance races over the past few years.  It was refreshing to know that I was talking to someone who understood what I was doing and had been there himself.  I really lucked into this doctor.  When I started marathon training for Dallas White Rock back in 2009, I just found the number for the sports medicine association here in OKC and dialed it up.  I got assigned to this doctor and it was a great match.  He is an endurance athlete and talks to me like someone who understands the desire/passion for the sport.

Today was a check-up on my knee which had been bugging me since mid-August.  I had put it off for months because I was in the midst of the Chicago/NYC marathon double and I wasn't convinced going to the doctor would actually help.  I thought rest was the only real option to get better so I just gritted my teeth and pushed on.  After NYC, I took nearly 4 weeks off completely and have since started adding back in the elliptical, cycling, swimming, and some very brief spurts of running.  The knee has felt much better and I can honestly say it's the best it's felt since August.  I went ahead and kept my appointment as a way to get a post-season check-up and see if I could find a way to get into see my doctor in a more timely manner next year.

As is usually the case, they took some x-rays before I spoke with my doctor.  He came in and immediately started checking my left Achilles which was the last thing I had seen him about about 2 weeks prior to my first full marathon in Dallas last December.  It kind of threw me off guard because I was expecting him to go straight for my knee.  I told him all was well with the Achilles and told him my real issue had been my knee.  It was my subtle way of moving him to my knee in case he thought I was back for that issue.  Ha, turns out he was just being thorough.

He then examined my knee and as expected I wasn't really experiencing much pain.  Like I said, it's the best it's felt since August.  However, I started explaining to him the issues I had been having and some of the most recent ones that provoked my calling to get an appointment.  The most alarming was when I was on my bike and I pushed my knee out to grab my water bottle and a sharp pain occurred under my knee cap.  He told me that my knee cap is slightly angled to the outside of my leg as opposed to flat/flush like most people.  He said that every time my leg or knee moves out, it's causing my knee cap to hit bone or irritate tissue b/c it's not properly aligned.  He then explained that with most people you can easily move their knee cap like it's floating on water and mine are very rigid and don't move much when he's manipulating it.  Basically he told me he's surprised I haven't had problems before now.  There really isn't an easy way to "fix" it, but I can manage it.  He said it's probably an issue I'm going to have to deal with all the time.  He told me to use self-management techniques such as icing, anti-inflammatory meds, and stretching as much I can and then when I need assistance to come and see him again.  He also told me that it's inevitably going to hurt during Ironman training.  He said if I'm going to be putting that many miles on my legs, it's going to hurt.  He said he would provide further treatment (i.e. cortisone injections) if it became necessary as my training volume increased throughout the summer. 

After our talk about my knee, the subject turned to future races and what I should expect for the Ironman.  He said it's a lifestyle choice and it will consume all of my time.  He told me to be prepared for 8 hour workouts on the weekends and that my social life will be non-existent.  He said he loves it, but you have to be committed.  He also spoke highly of Ironman Buffalo Springs 70.3 which is in west Texas in late June.  He said he enjoyed it much more than Ironman Kansas 70.3 which I'm already registered for next year.  I wish I had known that about 3 months ago.  Oops.  He then told me about some bike shops down in Dallas that I may road trip to go see at some point.  He talked to me about some tri bikes since I'm currently on the lookout for a new one and then he told me good luck and he expected he would be seeing me again in the next 8 months.  Ha, I hope he's wrong, but I think we both know it's going to be a tough year!

All in all it was a pretty good visit to the doctor and I'm glad to have a fellow endurance junkie on my side.  On a bad note, I'm sick currently so no training for me today as you can probably tell from this long post.  I'm bored and really wanted to ride my trainer tonight.  Rest and cold meds are the only thing on the agenda for me though.  Kids are like incubators for communicable diseases.  I see my niece and nephew for 2 days and I come home with a cold.  I guess they are helping me build up my immune system for the cold/flu season ahead.  I hope to be back to the gym tomorrow but we will see how tomorrow goes at the office.

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