I can't run today, so I might as well blog!
For the first time in my running "career", I have an injury. It was probably only a matter of time, but this is not a good time for this to happen. With 7 weeks until Chicago, I was out on an 18 miler when I felt some discomfort behind my left knee around mile 7. I opted to run through it, but it got gradually worse, and by mile 10, I had to walk. I used a run/walk combo for the next few miles, and ultimately had to finish the distance walking.
This morning I finally got to talk to Dr. Williams, who diagnoses it as a ligament strain in the lowest part of my hamstring behind the knee, but it's really not the knee at all.
Prior to the diagnosis, and immediately after last weekend's run, I was concerned for the timing of it all, and decided I needed to get something figured out quick. No, I didn't call 911, I took a facebook poll of course! Most of my trusted runner friends told me to stay off it, while many suggested pulling the miles back. I had every recommendation from amputation to voodoo dolls.
At the end of the day, I agreed on a regular regimen of ice 3 times daily with ibuprofen, and greatly reduced miles.
Monday was a rest day, and I skipped Tuesday's run and Wednesday's. Decided to test it on Thursday and only got 3 miles in, of which only 1.5 were pain free. On Friday I took a very casual 3 mile walk, and again rested on Saturday.
Feeling like the pain was mostly subsided, I decided to test it again today. Today was scheduled to be a 13 miler, but I knew that wasn't going to happen. I thought I might go 3 to 5. The first 2 were pain free, but some tightening crept in, so I walked a little, then ran a race pace for 1.5 miles, and ultimately walk/jogged my way home for a total of 6.5. I would rate it at 80% today, but realize I need to continue resting and ice.
The pain of not running the way I want, or worse yet, not running at all, is actually more painful than the injury. Skipping Chicago is not an option. I will walk the marathon before I drop out.
Other factors with this injury include shoes and terrain. I recently got a new pair of shoes, but they didn't have the exact pair that I had been using so I changed them up a little bit....DUMB! They even told me it was suggested, but I didn't want to wait or have to come back, so I settled for the closest thing they had. Thanks to a generous return policy though, I was able to exchange them this past Friday and broke them in this morning. They felt great!
As for the terrain, I am a safe runner who always runs against traffic, but when I'm running in the country where the road has more of a crown to it, the road is falling off to my left which means I'm reaching more with my left (injured) leg. It is safe to assume this has contributed to the cause.
Chicago is 6 weeks from today. I think so long as I can get one more good long run in within the next 3 weeks and have a solid taper I will be okay, the struggle now is finding the balance between rest and staying fresh. That will be painful!