For the first two miles I was fine. No pain at all. I wasn't running particularly fast but I was passing runners who normally beat me at races by a long-shot going up the hills. I was enjoying myself immensely. And then somewhere around 3 miles the knee started up. It wasn't too bad so I kept going. I walked a little but I was on trails I was completely unfamiliar with so I didn't want to get too far behind the other runners. I talked with a few other runners I caught up with about my knee. Each of them had similar stories to share with me. It seems if you run you will ultimately endure a knee injury of some kind. Each of them told me the same thing, stay off of it until it heals. No one could tell me how long that will be.
By five miles my husband reappeared having long since finished the run. When he saw that my knee was bothering me he understandably shouted at me to stop running and berated my poor judgement for the rest of the run for which I was almost in tears for all of it because I was concerned, embarrassed and wanted nothing more than to run.
At the end of the run I talked with a few of the runners who had told me they had suffered knee pain or more specifically iliotibial band pain. They recommended a visit to a physical therapist and rest. Maybe some ice, but definitely rest.
I have not run at all since Wednesday. I called a physical therapist first thing Thursday morning but I can't get in for three weeks. I iced the knee several times, ordered a Pro-tec Iliotibial Band on Amazon and am working on an addiction to ibuprofen. I vowed to take several days off, though I haven't decided exactly how many, I am going to let my knee decide when it is ready. Then I am going to start especially slow and with distances of about 2-3 miles. Having taken the last five days off my knee is feeling fine but I don't want to rush it. I also have been going to the gym (3 times last week) to work on strengthening my hips and leg muscles. For the past eight months I have focused almost solely on running and cycling. Stretching and strengthening have not really been a focus of my training. I am now beginning to think that my training was suffering because it wasn't really fully rounded. I have also been paying more attention to my protein intake.
I believe this is my running trying to teach me something else about my life and my body. I am trying to listen. Really. I haven't registered for any of the three races coming up at the end of the month though I would be lying if I said I was content not running them. The one I want to run the most is a trail run two days after my physical therapy appointment. I am going to see how the knee is feeling and what the PT says before I make any decisions on that race.
I charted my running for the year last night and found that my running during April had been for long distances but had been fairly sporadic due to illness and other factors. Then in May when I tried to return to a normal routine and reach 15-20 weekly miles I injured myself. Overuse? Increasing distance too fast? Overpronation? I'm not sure what exactly caused the injury but I know that above all else I want to still be running in six months, in six years, heck maybe in sixty years, so I have to be more level headed.
I am not running this weeks Wild Wednesday Trail Run. I am going to sit at home, ice my knee and pout while Todd does.