Friday, May 18, 2007

Patellofemoral blues

After Wildflower, I took most of a week off from training. I was amazed at my lack of soreness--I raced Saturday, then Sunday I was tired and my hips and legs were stiff, and then for the rest of the week I was fine--except for being unusually and persistantly sleepy until Wednesday.

I went for a light run last Friday that felt awesome, and then got up early for practice with the rest of the team (still training for King's Trail in Maui) on Saturday. I had an awesome swim. Jumped on the bike headed out with the fasties for a 30 mile ride, and was soon met with an unpleasant surprise.

Knee pain. Persistant knee pain. Instead of coming right, it got worse and worse the farther we went out. At the intersection of Arastradero and Alpine, I opted to head back in with the people doing 25 miles. Even spinning hurt.

I assumed I'd just neglected stretching too much after the previous weekend's hard effort. My knee really bothered me for the rest of the day, making it hard to get in and out of a seated position. Went for a hike the following day, and by the end of the hike, the pain was all worked out and gone.

Forgot about it until I went out for a nasty little hill ride on Tuesday afternoon. Not ten minutes into the ride, the knee kicked up again. Dammit. I thought a little bit--well, I HAVE been scooting back constantly on my saddle for the last few months. I wonder.... Hopped off my bike somewhere deep in Atherton and raised my seat by about 1/2 inch, just to see what would happen.

Immediate relief, for a bit anyway. By now the knee was so pissed off that it just kept getting more and more irritated.

And since I'm so type A about my workouts, I went ahead and did Valparaiso 4x like an idiot.

This time the pain (which I'd now self-evaluated as acute patellofemoral syndrome) stuck around longer. I talked to Steph in a panic and made a few calls to try and get in for some bodywork (no dice yet). Made another call to Mark over at the Bicycle Outfitter to get back in for another fitting on my bike.

Um, yeah, so it turns out that as you become a better and better cyclist, your pedal stroke changes and becomes much more efficient...thus you should periodically get refitted to your bike.

The long and short of it--after about 45 minutes of Mark taking measurements, dropping plumb lines, and evaluating my pedal stroke on a trainer, he concluded that my seat was a WHOLE INCH too low. Oh yeah, and that my saddle had too severe a slant on it and was dumping me way too far forward.

I can't believe I trained for and raced a long course tri on that shit. No wonder it hurts.

So, this is troubling me for several reasons.

1) I used to being invincible. I am a total headcase when anything hurts.
2) I have Alcatraz in 2 weeks, which is very hilly, was very expensive, and which several members of my family are coming out to see me participate in.
3) I'm signed up for a century ride on Sunday (as in, the day after tomorrow). Bought, paid for, and subjecting me to major peer pressure if I wimp out.


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