This is a knee:
My knee looks nothing like this. I know this because after nearly 40 years of more or less non-stop running and racewalking and the countless injuries that come with such a streak, I finally submitted to my first-ever MRI.
It isn’t pretty.
I’ve always politely declined suggestions to get my knees or back looked at because I knew there would be a lot of bad stuff in there that I didn’t want to know about. How right I was…
Rewind two weeks.
At a Fall festival with Loretta and the kids, a string of escaped balloons blew by us and naturally Liam wanted them. I was tight from a hard 35k the day before but I ran after them anyway. In flip-flops. On wet grass.
About 10 strides in I was taking off to jump for the balloons when I heard a loud pop–and it didn’t come from the balloons. When I came down I couldn’t put any weight on my left leg. I’ve had iliotibial (IT) band problems for years, but this was much, much worse.
Very long story short, I had dislocated my fibula, the smaller bone in the lower leg. I discovered this at the chiropractor’s office several days later when he tried to fix my back, which had gone into spasm after a week of gimping around on the bad knee.
Getting me into position to adjust my back, the doc bent my leg and there was another loud pop as the fibula snapped back into place. Bam! An instant of searing pain, but then almost complete and instant relief after that!
I got back to light training, first in the pool, and then back on the road. I was able to get through a solid 30k on Monday without much trouble. The IT band is still an issue, but with stretching, ice, and massive quantities of ibuprofen I’m managing.
Heading into the last six weeks of training before the US 50k Championships on November 22nd, I regained some confidence by getting through some solid workouts this week. Until I opened up the MRI report…
In addition to the dislocated fibula and the IT tendinitis, it seems I’ve been walking around with a 20% tear in my ACL, a torn and apparently completely detached (!) medial meniscus, a ruptured Baker’s cyst, and a ganglion cyst in the ACL.
As far as I’m concerned this MRI is TMI!
Since most of this stuff has probably been going on for years without affecting my training I’ll handle it the way men have for millennia handled ugly realities in life: Complete and utter denial.