Sunday, August 13, 2006

4 Miles Short

*This is a really long post of my rambling. I wrote it more as a journal entry for myself to keep track of my knee problem, so at best—just skim. :)

I have been training for a September marathon for the past few months. I haven’t mentioned it a lot because I haven’t taken my training as serious as normal. I planned the marathon to be a ‘fun run’ to help prepare me for my 4 hour marathon goal this fall. I have been getting in my long run miles, but I haven’t worried about my pace or skipping a short run every now and then.

Today I had a 20 miller on my schedule and a 5 mile road race, which I planned to incoperate into the 20 miles. I wanted to finish most of my miles before the race so I woke up early and drove to the starting line. It was a peaceful, beautiful morning.

~ 5 mile race course – pace 9:23

~ pick up race number, refuel

~ 1 mile random location around the starting line – pace 9:33

~ 5 mile race course, second time – pace 9:55 (I am not sure what happened. I felt like I was running the same pace the entire time, although my knee started hurting so maybe that slowed me down.)

When I finally made it back to the finish line/starting line area, I quickly realized all the runners were already lined up and someone was singing the national anthem. I looked at my watch and saw that it was 9:02 (the race started at 9:05). I sprinted to my car, pinned on my race number, took off my long sleeve shirt, and started cramming my mouth full of clif bar bites. I felt like a chipmunk, storing seeds in my cheeks for winner. Looking back, I’m not sure why I didn’t just take the clif bar with me. For some reason I thought I had to finish before the race started. Weird, I know. :)

The Race – After 11 solo miles, it was fun to have people running next to me and I made a few race day friends along the way. It was a beautiful day for running! I started out fast, but it felt good. As the miles ticked on, my right knee started to ache a little more. During the last mile, I had no choice but to slow down.

Old man in gray sweat suit passed me.
Father with baby jogger passed me.
Girl with dog passed me.

What was going on? (side note-I had a great run on Thursday but after the run, my knee started to hurt a little so I iced it and my knee felt completely fine yesterday.) I haven’t had a running injury since high school when I had a ‘mild case’ of shin splints, so I wasn’t sure what was going on with my knee.

Eventually I finished the race (43:38). I slowly walked to my car to quickly refuel and then finish my last 4 miles. After the break, I started to run but I immediately stopped. My knee was in so much pain. This can’t be happening. Not today. I have to finish 4 more miles. Wait, what if I can’t run the marathon next month? As you can imagine, there were some tears, a call home to the parents, and more tears.

After I gained my composure, I called my friend, running partner and now personal doctor---Dianna. Of course she knew exactly what to say and told me the right things to do. I have been icing, stretching, resting, and keeping my knee up for most of the day. Right now my knee feels better, although I don’t have any plans of running anytime soon. I will probably take most of the week off and will cancel my tennis lessons (bummer).

I never made it to mile 20. I was extremely disappointed, but honestly there is no way I could have moved my knee for another 4 more miles.

Despite the disappointment there is some good news. After 16 miles (besides the knee) I felt great. The clif bar bites were wonderful. I had good hydration during the run and a healthy pre-race meal so my energy level was high when I finally had to stop.

Also, I didn’t have to use the bathroom at all!!! For the past 4 months, any run longer than 8 miles has resulted in several ‘emergency’ bathroom stops at grocery stores, gas stations, etc…just use your imagination. I haven’t talked about the ‘bathroom issue’ because, well….it’s disgusting. I tried not drinking milk before long runs, I cut ice tea out of my diet, I kept a food log for two weeks and nothing seemed to work. But today, today was a good day.

If I keep doing the right things, I think the knee will heal soon. My fingers are crossed and I feel hopeful.

I hope you are enjoying the beauty of the outdoors! Happy Running!


David said...

Let's refocus on New Haven in three weeks.
Other than the knee everything else seems right. Thank goodness for Dianna, huh?

Jon (was) in Michigan said...

I think you called the right person. Ease up and heal the knee. Do stuff to keep the cardio up and you'll be golden. You didn't mention where the knee pain was. On the side, in the back? Hope it feeling better.

susie said...

Is New Haven really 3 weeks away? Oh my, I will miss you all. Take care of the knee, AA. Ice! I'm hoping for the best for you.

neese said...

i didn't skim, good post. i'm sorry about the knee, you have been given some great advice.

oh, and thanks for the Clif Bar Bites mention i need to look those up, i need something small for a quick pick me up, something healthier than jelly beans :)

neese said...

duh i mis-read, you took bites of a clif bar, not "clif bar bites" lol. sorry. i discovered power bar has bites though.

carry on

Anne said...

Other than the knee pain, sure sounds like everything else went well, even if you fell a little short of goal. Great visual of the chipmunk cheeks stuffed with Clif bar pieces. Don't worry -- I'd have panicked and done the same. Take it easy and let that knee heal.

Anonymous said...

You weren't 4 miles short, you were 4 miles smart. You have to listen to your body, and if not - Call Dianna and she can translate for you. Smart decision to stop. You know already that you can finish a marathon, so just let that knee repair and just do it.