I know the exact instant when my problems began. I had run 20 with Dave and Amy on Saturday (I think it was September 16), and then I did another 20 the next morning. This consecutive long run stuff had not been a problem last year when training for the Tahoe Triple. And I had done a double earlier in the month.
On this particular Sunday morning, I ran around a bit before heading to the track and doing 9 miles there at marathon pace. This was tough because MP is always tough for me, but there was a cold drizzle as well. I had just finished the track work and was headed home for the final 3 miles, still pushing the pace when it happened. A pull to the back of my right thigh, just above the back of my knee. Since it was a sudden pain, I stopped to stretch it out. My first thought was that it was a muscle pull. After stretching a bit, I thought it could be a cramp. The pain subsided a bit, and I ran home slower than planned.
That following week in Europe was not the best for running. Aware of the busy travel schedule, I had planned to take it easy anyway. I only got one good run in the whole week - 13 miles at MP on the hotel dreadmill. I don't think there was much pain that week; perhaps just a bit. The pain began in earnest the morning after that long plane ride home. I did run with Dave and Amy on that Saturday morning, but couldn't run at all the next day. Debbie and I walked at the Nature Center before breakfast with the Dead Runners.
The last week was spent in the Philadelphia area. I took some time off, but by mid-week I was feeling better, and managed to get a long run in. The pain was bad after this trip home as well. But I was able to limp through a few miles last Friday, and to get in a solid 22 on Sunday, with the last 6 at MP. This was good - I was feeling better and more confident! After an easy six on Sunday, I ran 11 hard miles on Monday, with 4+ at MP. For some reason, that's what did me in for the latest round o' pain. I did manage to get 10 painful miles with Dave on Tuesday, but it hurt the whole way. I'm even having trouble walking.
The pain had begun in the back of the knee, and it's still tight back there, but now most of the pain is in front. Most disconcerting of all is the knuckle-cracking type feeling. Whenever I move at all, something that shouldn't be moving so much is moving around in there. I've begun to think that this may be something really really bad, and that I should see a doctor. But then there's always, "giving it one more day to see how I'll feel then".
My remedies have so far included the following:
1) Taking many more days off per week than I'm used to. This has dropped my weekly mileage down about 30%, from around 70 MPW to about 50.
2) Restarting weight training. I had stopped a few weeks ago as part of my early tapering for the Columbus Marathon. Now I started back up with the thought that this will strengthen the muscles around the knee to assist in the cure. Don't laugh - I really think there's something to this.
3) Taking Glucosamine. I haven't taken the stuff for years, but I'm back on it now. It may help over a long period of time, but it hasn't seemed to have done so yet.
So now Columbus looms just over a week away. I hadn't planned on a taper that is this drastic. It seems I can run only on certain days, so I have no idea how I'll feel on race day. And what if the 'ole knee just blows out partway through?
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