Two weeks ago, out of desperation, I had snipped off all the yellowed leaves on a pepper plant after the last pest attack and left it barren with only a scrawny stem. I continue to water the leafless stem daily and secretly hoping it will persevere if I give it a fighting chance. Today, I witnessed a miracle: that same pot of pepper plant that was previously blighted by aphids is sprouting new leaves. It didn’t bolt and against all odds, it came back stronger than before.
That brings me to what I’m about to share – overuse injury. A few months ago, I was sidelined by runner’s knee, also known as Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. Weeks of pounding the pavement took a toll on the body, especially the knees. Without adequate conditioning, the body hinted at the impending threat, which in hindsight, I should not have ignored. Sometimes, try as one may, it’s hard to err on the side of caution. The overzealous part of me is bad at pacing, especially when I’m at the top of my game and clocking up good mileage.
For someone who loves to run and work out a sweat, sedentary is not an option. To assuage the dopamine deficient body, I sought solace, albeit short-lived, in cross training. After laying off running for a few days and incorporating strength training and Pilates, the running bug nudges me to find a middle ground where I could still run without exacerbating the injury. While searching the Internet for solutions and suggestions, I chanced upon Bauerfeind’s GenuTrain knee brace. The new ‘toy’ doesn’t come cheap but it sure works! Unlike other knee braces sold at pharmacies or sports retailers, Bauerfeind provides the right amount of stability with minimal movement restrictions. The fabric is also breathable and machine washable.
I ran my first couple of runs with equal parts apprehension and anticipation. There are different school of thoughts on active recovery – some experts suggest giving running muscles a rest and incorporating low intensity training before easing back into running. Then, there are others who believe that running doesn’t have to take a back seat. It could just be a matter of scaling back the mileage and opting for easy recovery runs until the injury heals. At the end of the day, what works for some might not work for others.
Like the pot of shriveled pepper plant, I was able to snap out of the inertia with the help of what I now affectionately labeled as ‘my savior’ knee brace. An injury can be both debilitating and frustrating. To keep it at bay, it’s also important to identify the cause and fine tune the training accordingly. Get your game on, but listen to your body and come back stronger. It is indeed a gentle reminder of how vulnerable yet resilient our body can be.