I guess I am turning this blog into a weekly update. This is not intentional, but it's just the way the schedule has been lately. Another crazy busy week, another week closer to Chicago/NYC. I have started a daily countdown at my office on my dry-erase board. It's crazy to see the numbers just continue to tick down. I am only 49 days away from Chicago. Wow!
This week's training has been bittersweet. I really felt like I was running strong and I continue to gain confidence in my ability to do well in Chicago. Tuesday's run was awesome. Wednesday's long ride went without a hitch. Then Thursday rolls around and all hell broke loose. I knew going in Thursday was going to be rough. I did my long ride on Wednesday after work. The nature of long rides after work are that I never get finished until sunset and then by the time I stretch, eat, and shower it's late. This was the precursor to a very rough Thursday morning.
I had customers in town Thursday, so my evening was booked up and I needed to find a time to run. Being the dedicated (aka stupid) runner that I am, I set my alarm for 4 AM on Thursday to get in my 8 mile run before work. One bad thing about my job is the inflexibility to roll in a little late. My job requires me to be on the clock by 7 or so because I have to do the majority of my daily transactions by 8 or 815. I knew I needed at least an hour and fifteen minutes for the actual run, time to warm-up, time to shower/get ready for work, and still be there on time. I also was covering the trade desk for another guy on vacation so I really couldn't afford to be late. Recipe for disaster.
The run itself wasn't too bad. The weather was semi-decent, but it was pitch black. I could hardly see on certain sections of my route. I even picked out a really nice neighborhood with street lights, but I guess even those don't illuminate everything. I misstepped several times and I think this was part of the reason I am in the situation I am in now. The second reason I think I am in my current situation is that I was running a bit late and didn't get a chance to properly cool-down and stretch. I literally stopped running, jumped in my car, headed to the gym at work, showered, changed, and went to the office. No stretching. No ice. Straight to my desk. Ouch. I knew at that point I was going to have some problems the next few days. The situation has returned. What situation you might ask? The knee bug has struck again! AHHHHHH!!!! Just when I thought everything was going so well!
After sitting at my desk for a few hours, I got up to go get some water and a snack, and BAM! That all-too familiar feeling of lateral knee pain. Dang it! I knew it immediately. It was the exact same pain I had back in March/April. The only difference - this time it was the left knee. Crap. I was hoping I could manage to get through this stretch without any major hiccups. Marathon training isn't easy though. I guess this is just a bump in the road. The good thing is that I am not freaking out like I did last year during training. I am bummed, yes, but as of now it's manageable. I think it's just IT band issues. The great thing about IT issues are that they are the type of injury that you can run through if it's not crippling. However, I want to keep it from getting to that crippling point so I am trying to play it safe.
Friday I went to the pool and got in a really great swim workout. After helping out with Team-in-Training practice on Saturday, I spent a lot of time on the foam roller, icing, and stretching. Surprisingly the knee felt pretty good Saturday evening so I decided to go ahead and give the long run a shot. I used the old trusty KT Tape to tape up my knee for lateral knee pain and hit the streets this morning. I made sure to make plenty of time for warm-up and started off on my run at a pretty slow clip. I had some minor discomfort at the start, but nothing crazy so I pressed on. I was doing an out-and-back course today which probably wasn't the brightest idea, but my normal route was being used for an IronKids triathlon. About 6 miles into my run, my knee really started to scream at me. I think it was due to the bank of the road so I tried to stay in the middle of the street when there wasn't any traffic. I also really had to shorten up my stride on any sort of incline. It was the only way to keep pain from shooting up my leg. After a grueling 3 or 4 miles though, my knee loosened up again and the last 5 miles were fairly decent. I would still get a twinge of pain when I stepped wrong or went up a hill, but it wasn't awful. I actually felt really good at the end of my run. The mileage was about as routine as a 15 mile run can be when it's 80s and humid. I was absolutely soaked after the run. Shoes, shorts, shirt, hat, fuel belt, and socks were all wet. There was a not a dry spot on my body because of how much I was sweating. I continue to think of how great it's going to be when I get to run in cooler weather.
The knee is now back to its old tricks after a few hours. It's not horrible pain, but I can definitely tell it's not 100%. I hope taking the next couple of days off will put me back on track. My plan is to rest tomorrow, throw in some elliptical Tuesday, bike on Wednesday, and try to run again on Thursday. This coming weekend is also my 100K bike ride down in Wichita Falls, TX, so that means my long run will have to be Thursday if I get one in this week. I have 16 miles on the schedule, but I think I will switch next week's 12 miler and move it to this week. Hopefully I can use RICE to my advantage the next few days. The one thing about having this injury before, I know what to expect. I ran the OKC Memorial Half Marathon with the same issue. It's doable, but not nearly as fun as it would be if you are healthy. Off to foam roll the crap out of my IT band! It's going to hurt so good.