So a big dose of reality hit me hard today. The realization came that I not only did I piss off my IT band on my last 20 miler this past Sunday, but I did some serious damage to it. This is the series of events that have taken place, leading up to the big lesson.
* Week of 1/4-1/10- due to a schedule change, had to move my long run to Saturday, so end up having a 49 mile week this week. Body felt pretty good muscle wise...I could tell I was pretty low on the energy tank however.
* Week of 1/11-1/17- to recover a bit, no long run during this time...totaled about 23 miles. Bod felt pretty good...full of energy, rolled everyday, no real issues. Since I was house sitting for jeff...I did have 4 runs in the garden of the gods this week...probably too many hills.
* Set out for my final 20 mile training run on Sunday (1/18)...in tow with my favorite girls, beautiful mid 50's weather, a new route, and plenty of sleep the night before. The first alert of IT was at mile 5 when we walked a bit to get some water, a gel and collect ourselves for the hills soon to come. I noticed I had a pretty sharp, particular pain on the outside of my right knee. Never having problems with my knees ever in my life, I though "hum, I wonder if it's just my IT that is tight and it's really tight right there for some reason?".
The next 5 miles through the Garden to Balance Rock only beat IT up worse. Stopping to take a gel and say goodbye to our friend Jamie made it feel super weird, tight and tugging a bit more...ooh, not so good. But, this was my last big 20 after all...surely I have to continue...is there another option really? Paved downhills and flatness the next couple miles to 26th street didn't help the situation, but it didn't seem to make it worse. The next time we stopped at the light of 26th street and HWY 24, and began to jog across the crosswalk- ooh, again feels weird, had to stop and stretch, massage once again. The long, gradual uphill on 26th to Lower Gold Camp Rd was stinkin miserable. Pain continued to get worse and at an even faster rate.
We looped down and around 21st street to Bear Creek Park, then down and though the tunnel to the Wal-Mart on 8th street. Here at 17.5 miles, is where it all fell apart and I was literally stopped in my tracks. I felt as though I was suddenly stabbed in the side of my rt knee and then Mr. IT seized and wouldn't let me bend my leg very well. Again with the massaging and stretching, thinking I could surely finish these last 2.5 miles...until the next step was taken and I realized that wasn't going to happen. I think Beth was surprised and knew it was serious when I said "I'm sorry, but I just can't do it...it won't let me."
After Beth and I realized that we were mistaken in assuming the other had their cell phone, we used the phone of a very generous old man on a bike to call Jonas to come pick us up at America the Beautiful Park. A short peg-legged walk to the park, and Jonas and Staci had come to the rescue.
* The rest of Sunday was uber depressing. Keeping my leg straight, even applying pressure on it straight was fine...but the second I tried to bend that thing...owie. The immense swelling on the outside of the knee didn't help my confidence that it still wasn't a big deal either.
* Monday morning the swelling hadn't gone down. After wearing a neoprene sleeve all day, I finally had a bit more range of motion and a more natural walk down.
* Tuesday morning, oh, surprise- now my rt ankle is swollen like a baseball. What the heck is going on? Rrrrrr... Oh well, don't have time to dwell on it, I was off to go see good friend and PT Christy at Peak Performance. I find out that she had the exact same thing happen to her during her marathon. Same process leading up to the big stab almost exactly. She is not a proponent of stopping activity period...but in this case she advises me that I must. This is not something you can just "run through the pain with". It (the IT- play on words:)) has a mind of it's own and you will know in taking 2 steps, whether or not it is healed and you can get back into it. The bursa sac underneath the IT is swollen and the IT band has little micro tears in it. Arg.
At least 1.5 weeks of no activity is what I have to start with in order to let it heal and recover. I honestly would rather trade two weeks of running/training now, and in return receive the gift of simply doing the race in Austin. So, I'm not too down at this point. I have hope that I can heal in time, and that I have done the major work, put in the big miles for this thing.
The big lesson in all of this is:
...I must listen to my body better. Running is not like the sports I've played all my life. I feel in my mind, and sometimes in my body too, that I can, and am ready to do certain things (run at a certain pace, a certain distance)...but, the reality of it is that my body really is in control and it will in fact let me know what it can and can't do.
5 days ago