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Knee Problem — The Psychology

My left knee has been bothering me since early January. It started with a crackling crepitation and then turned into achiness. I have an old meniscus injury in that knee, but after ~3 years of hard training with no knee issues at all, it’s frustrating to say the least— why now?

It’s hard to say why a problem should pop up now— it comes 6 weeks after my bike fit change. It might just be too much too fast— running 10-15% more watts in a new position might just have been enough to provoke a latent problem. Since then I’ve gone back for a reevaluation and all tracking, etc looks spot-on. And I’ve gone back to prior orthotics. But sometimes the legs (with 30,000 miles on them in the past 3-4 years) are “old dogs” that don’t like to learn new tricks as quickly as the “driver” would like.

I’ve made some adjustments and it seems to be stabilizing and I’m cautiously optimistic that it might even be improving. But it’s a dark cloud psychologically as well as an impediment to the 2-3 hour rides that I really need to put in now, not a month or two from now, but can’t, yet.

UPDATE: two days of rest have helped. A ride after those two days went OK, with only mild knee discomfort.

The most difficult thing is the pyschology— as the season is now underway for training for the Everest Challenge (starting with the Death Valley Double a month from now) I feel an urgency to log base miles in earnest. And at the same time I’m scared shitless that the knee problem might delay training by by weeks or more— or become chronic if I’m not careful. And is it even possible to go back to the old “fit” and see the knee resolve? Impossible to say. Any improvements do not happen overnight, so it’s not like I can go out for a ride and say “that tweak is better”.

This uncertainty is the most difficult thing to accept, more difficult than any race effort in mental terms, because it’s an amorphous unknown challenge.

My best advice to myself is to not do anything stupid, not to overuse my legs until I see signs of improvement. This is harder than it sounds, because if I rest for a day, my leg muscles say “let’s go, lay the power down!”.


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