Well tonight was my long run, and it felt amazing. I know that 5 miles isn’t actually a “long” run in marathon terms, but it’s the longest I’ve run since last fall, so I insist on being proud of it. And the best part is, I ran the whole thing and I’m not tired.
Not only was this my longest run in months, but I skipped one of my workouts this week, so I wasn’t sure how I’d feel today. Joe and I took a couple days off and skipped town, and I was wayyyyy too disorganized to fit in all my workouts while we were traveling. I really thought I could do it, and then I threw all of my plans out the window in favor of long walks on the beach and football games on the beach, and other awesome beach-related activities. So while I wasn’t sitting on my butt all week, I still skipped a 3.5 mile run on Thursday night, and have been wondering if I’d be up for my 5 miler today.
But in the end, I felt more then ready. Today’s strategy was not to worry at all about speed, and just settle into a nice easy 10 minute mile pace. In fact, I made it my goal to run steadily for 50 minutes, regardless of distance. (See this really helpful post on minutes vs miles and training for marathons. I definitely took this advice tonight.) I really want my body to get used to maintaining aerobic activity for long periods of time. So rather than focus on the mileage, I just relaxed and let myself jog at a comfortable pace. And seriously, I felt like I could run forever.
Until my old friend, knee injury from last fall, decided to show up again.
At about mile 4, my left knee suddenly felt like it was full of cement. It just completely froze up and every step after that felt like there was a bunch of gravel filling up the entire joint. This is the same feeling I had when I tore my meniscus last fall, and had to be sidelined from running for weeks… this is a big deal, in the worst possible way. This is a freak-out moment.
Now that I’ve decided to run a half marathon in the fall and I’m really putting my mind to it, I am totally unwilling to stop running for even a few weeks, and I’m completely not ok with this happening right now. So as soon as my knee started to hurt, I got this crazy sinking feeling in my stomach… of course, I’m having an amazing run, I feel like a champ, so of course my knee has to get all messed up again.
What’s a girl to do?
1. Yes, that’s right. Think about Beyonce in the elevator and keep your sh*t together. This may feel like the end of the world (yes it does, it really feels like that) but it’s NOT. So calm down.
2. Since I decided, for better or worse, to finish that last mile of my run, I put all of my energy and focus into maintaining perfect form. As a nurse, I would probably advocate for stopping once the acute pain started, but I was not in nurse mode at this point, I was in stubborn me mode. So instead of stopping, I thought about my core staying strong and keeping my hips aligned and not tightening up through my hip flexors, and I kept going with my focus on maintaining good form. This actually helped a lot. Whether it was a placebo effect or not, my knee hurt a lot less with each step, and my whole body felt more efficient. I should think about my form every time I run, injured or not.
3. Take a step back, and come up with a long term plan. Now that my run is over, I’ve hobbled back home from the gym, (it hurts more to walk than it does to run) and I’m sitting with a huge bag of ice on my knee, it’s time to really face the situation. My hubby and I are moving back to Canada at the end of the week, so logistically, the timing here is tricky. But I think my next step once we’re home will be to see a Sports Medicine specialist or a Physio Therapist and really get to the bottom of what’s going on inside my knee. And then…
4. Tackle it. Fix the problem. Do whatever it takes to stay in shape and rehab my knee safely so that I’m back running as soon as I possibly can be. Whether it’s doing a bunch of weird exercises every day to strengthen my knee, or getting my knee scoped, or doing all my training by running on my hands instead of my feet in order to stay in shape… whatever it needs to be. I’m determined not to slow down. I will channel all of my current frustration into finding a solution.
Let’s end this post on a happy note. Here is a picture of the beach from our little getaway this week. 🙂