I had no idea what I'd done wrong - I got good shoes, I started my running program as if I'd never exercised before, I'd even taken almost a week off - yet here I was on a Sunday afternoon, laid up with my knees on ice. This isn't how it was supposed to be.
So when things weren't better this morning, I finally decided to go to an orthopedist. I may not know how I got here, but I hoped the doctor could tell me how to get better. After describing the workouts I'd done the last week, checking both knees for pain, and doing an x-ray, he confirmed what he'd expected. "Pez Bursitis"
Well, "pes anserine bursitis" to be technical (but I swear it sounded like "pez")
Apparently, even though I was convinced it wasn't the reason, my running down that hill last Monday did more damage than I imagined. All the first week, my first running interval didn't start until after I'd gone up, over, and down the hill near my house - but last Monday, it started at the top of the hill. And down the hill I ran, trying not to fall in the dark, pounding my knees in a way they've never been pounded before. It was no wonder they felt like somebody had whacked them with a board. In a way, I had.
Fortunately, the diagnosis - while frustrating - results in a prognosis I can live with: Rest the knees as much as possible, ice 1-2x per day, take Tylenol for pain (my Crohn's prevents any ibuprofen or related anti-inflammatories), and let them heal. And, most importantly, I can keep running - "Just take it easy, and No More Hills."
That shouldn't be too difficult for me. It's pretty flat around here. I can extend my warmup walk to the bottom of the one hill close by. And during my years of cycling, I've become pretty adept at avoiding climbs - now, at least when I'm on foot, I'll have to avoid descents too.