Knee-hab (January Update)

I ran last night.

Not much.

But I ran. Outside. On a trail.

And I can still walk this morning.

If running three klicks through on a random Thursday evening in January sounds less than impressive, let me introduce you to my Medial Collateral Ligament injury and the fact that I haven’t had a pain-free run outside or beyond the confines of a physiotherapy-prescribed treadmill run in over six months.

I pushed myself back in September in the park near my house and ended up limping home and elevating my leg for nearly a week.

This morning, fourteen hours later, I feel pretty normal. Good. Strong. Hopeful.

Back in July of 2022 I injured my knee ligament.

I don’t know how. I don’t know when. I don’t know why. All I know is that one day I was running and training and planning adventure runs through the city. The next day I was struggling to climb a few steps in my house.

I figured a couple weeks recovery.

After a month I went to see the physiotherapist.

He told me it may take a couple months, but maybe as long as four months.

It’s been six months and I’m finally feeling like there is something resembling hope in a recovery.

It was -15C on the trails.

My crew meets sporadically but regularly at an elementary school parking lot near an access point a ravine.

In the spring, summer and fall it’s a beautiful asphalt trail descending into the river valley under a canopy of big old trees.

In the winter, its dark and icy and hauntingly creepy.

I recorded a walking tour there just last week and the view hadn’t changed much to last night, except that I was plodding along at one minute run to one minute walk intervals, and listening to the crunch of my feet through the dark forest trail.

My four companions kept my pace for the first of my one minute intervals, but then I purposely slowed and they dashed ahead. On my second interval I almost felt like if I pushed it I could catch up with them. On the third interval they were little more than bobbing headlamps in the distance and by the fourth I had descending into a canopy of eerie trail that was as much like a haunted pathway towards some frozen hell below as it was the scene of my running recovery run.

At eleven minutes I made a u-turn and returned to my truck, logging exactly three slow kilometers of winter plodding and setting the stage for a “now we wait to see how I feel in the morning” scenario.



I already spoiled the lede, of course. I feel fine this morning. I can still walk… have walked. Gone up and down the stairs a dozen times and…

I have an appointment with my physiotherapist tomorrow. Now I need to fess up that I pushed the program. I suppose it all worked out tho, huh?


I hate blog posts that are just excuses for not writing.

That said, I have been quiet for quite a while.

That deserves at least a little excuse for not writing.

The summer was a bust. Back in July when I wrote about my knee I was still moderately hopeful that whatever my self-diagnosed ailment turned out to be, that it would (at most) result in a couple weeks of healing and I’d be back at it. Hiking. Running. Doing things I loved to do.

What I didn’t expect was that finally seeking some medical intervention would set me on a path that has sidelined me for what is now almost exactly four months.

It turned out that yes, I damaged my MCL, a ligament that runs up on the inside line of the knee, but no, it’s not a simple injury. I’ve been going to physiotherapy and have severely reduced my participation in the things that would have brought me a bit more balance this past summer through work and life stress. There have been days I can barely walk. Sleepless nights. Urgent calls to medical professionals. And a lot of frustration and…

It’s been a tough span. Nor one I wanted to remember, let alone raise up and publicize online. Thus… no blogs were writ.

I mean, there was not much for adventure either when you’re injured, to be honest. Some car travel. Me limping around the local park to make sure the dog was walked. Watching the weeds grow in a garden I couldn’t bend down to deal with. Getting fat off sourdough bread.

That’s my little excuse.

Like I said, I’ve been pushing through physiotherapy … and things are improving. Slowly.

I’ve started running a bit. Mostly short thirty second or one minute intervals until the pain builds up and I need to stop for another day. My physio has me working towards a big goal, running the Chicago Marathon, which I (reluctantly) signed up for as I had a free entry leftover from a deferral from the 2020 race cancellation. That’s next October. Eleven months from as I write this. I’m hopeful.

And then the weather arrived in force this week. It started snowing on the second day of November and hasn’t really stopped for more than a few hours here and there. It went from a mild autumn to a blustery winter in the span of a single night.

Winter adventure is a thing, right?

I haven’t written for a while, and that’s my excuse. Not a great one, but an excuse nonetheless. And now I’ll keep writing. I haven’t left. At least… not yet. Hopefully not soon. Stay tuned.


Ten days ago I was climbing up a mountain trail near the Crowsnest Pass, a low peak along the continental divide on a sunny Sunday afternoon, looking at views like this:

I could feel the start of some bit of twinging in my right knee, but like anything else for a guy in his mid-40s, aches and pains are sometimes something to worry about … but usually just the biological squeaks of rusty joints and complaints of underused muscles.

That logical gamble didn’t pay off for me this time, and after a week of continued mumbling and grumbling noise from my knee joint, it finally stopped pulling punches and objected outright and fully to my continued lack of care to it’s needs.

I’d say it walked out on me, but walking is something that we do together and not as much for the last few days.

I seem to have developed a bit of a strain or a tear in my MCL, or medial collateral ligament, an important tendon on the inner side of the knee joint that is pretty important (I’ve found lately) for doing things like standing, walking up stairs, and (of course) running.

I’m on a break from running for at least a week or two.

Instead, I’ve grudgingly renewed my municipal fitness centre pass and paid up for a whole year of access to the weights, machines, and lap pool. I’ve been reintroducing myself over the last week to the joys of lane repeats. It’s a kind of cross-training, rehab, knee therapy that I hope will reduce my down time.

But in the heart of summer, despite the heat and humidity, I’m more than a little sad to be missing the sunny trails and green-lined river valley paths because of an injury I don’t even really know the origins of: suddenly it just started aching, and progressively got worse.

In the meantime, I may be able to use some of that down time to write a few more posts about hikes, runs, and my recent adventures in the mountains.

Them Feets

Sunday Runday, and I didn’t.

For a whole week I’ve been sidelined by a heel ailment that I’ve self-diagnosed as a touch of plantar fasciitis, or runner’s heel.

Them feets!

The thing is that I’m supposed to run a half marathon in a little more than a month.

The thing is that I need to keep in half marathon shape while not exacerbating an injury that could take a couple weeks to recover.

Them feets!

The thing is I’m a stubborn guy and I’m having trouble sitting it out. Resting. Healing.

I have a stationary bike in my basement tho, so while my running crew plodded out on the winter trails I descended to my little exercise space and spun out twenty klicks of aerobic fitness.

Them feets!

Then I met the runners for coffee where we can actually, finally, go inside and sit for a bit at the local recreation centre, proof of vaccination required, and all in all not quite back to normal, but close enough.

The countdown is on to race day and I’ll cross that finish line, hell or high water. Right now, tho, it might be with a limp rather than a leap.