Alternatively titled, On Runner’s Knee 2.0 and Being Sick One Week Before a Half Marathon.
Yes. You read it right. Sadly, I seem to be dealing with a little runner’s knee again. Despite all my efforts to stay healthy and injury-free, the runner’s knee I dealt with during training for the Richmond Half Marathon is back. Only it’s in the other knee this time. Go figure. I guess the right side got jealous of all of the attention I was giving the left side? Well, truthfully, it started on the right side but the left side didn’t feel quite 100% last week either. Last Saturday, I ran 12 miles. My knees bugged me a little when I started running but it was never enough that my body was telling me to stop. It took a few awkward strides and then my knees felt fine and I was running normally. It never changed my gait and off to The Little Red Lighthouse I went. I mean, it’s not a half marathon training cycle if you haven’t run to The Little Red Lighthouse, right?
I came home, iced my knees, went about my day, and was feeling fine. Sunday morning my plan was to run the four recovery miles on my schedule on my way to the East Side for Flywheel with Liz. My knees weren’t feeling so hot and by mile three I felt like I was changing my gait and called it quits. The frustration of that run fueled me to the highest power I have seen at spin since February.
On Monday I decided it was time to call the physical therapist for some advice. What he told me was not exactly what I wanted to hear. His advice was to keep icing, do my PT exercises, and take a week off from running. Take a week off from running? Two weeks before a half marathon? But he has never steered me wrong so I listened.
So, what’s going through my mind ONE WEEK before the Ottawa Half Marathon you ask? Well, if you asked me a few days ago I was very positive, believing that I WILL run this race. If you asked me yesterday or today, it’s a slightly more glass half empty feeling. Not only am I dealing with runner’s knee but now I also have a cold and haven’t worked out in days. Today was supposed to be my first attempt at running but I woke up and felt pretty crappy. The week before a race isn’t the time to push your body through a cold. It’s time to rest it and wait another day.
I took last week off from running to try to give my knees a little rest. It was perfect timing because I was traveling for work. I was actually relieved that I didn’t have to stress about squeezing in a run or feeling guilty about skipping it with 7 am breakfasts both days. I would like to report that they’re feeling 100% better but that would be a lie. Although, going down the stairs feels remarkably better. If I’m being honest, ignorance is bliss. I’m terrified to try running again and find that they still don’t feel good with one week to go.
I’m doing everything I can to get my body on board with running a half marathon next week. I’ve been icing and stretching and doing my PT exercises. Taking Advil when needed. As for the cold, I’m getting as much rest as possible (I’ve been in bed for most of the weekend), drinking a lot of fluids, and trying to eat as many fruits and vegetables as my lack of appetite will allow. Above all, I’m doing my best to keep my “Beak Up,” as my Dad would say, and not giving up on myself quite yet.
I am planning on strength training tomorrow night (depending on how I feel, obviously) and Wednesday because that actually makes my knees feel better. As for the rest of the week, I will do my best to get back to sunrise running and go with the flow.
If running still doesn’t feel great, I will spin instead. No matter what happens this week, and on race day, I will find a way to be at peace with it. If I am feeling good, and ready to run, I will do the best I can. If my body tells me otherwise, I will do my best to keep it in perspective and accept it. After all, if my body tells me that running the race isn’t a good idea, it’s smarter to take it in stride and focus on the future than force it and be miserable, right? I believe in my body’s ability to run this race if it feels like the right decision.
In the meantime, I can only control my attitude so I will do my best to stay positive this week and take Coach’s advice to not count myself out just yet.
I’m constantly reminded of a Runner’s World article in which Meb said, “If it can’t be today, maybe tomorrow. If it can’t be tomorrow, maybe next week. If not next week, then maybe next month.” It’s a reminder to always have hope. To always look forward. And to never ever give up.
I’ll either be in Ottawa next weekend to run a half marathon or I’ll be in Ottawa next weekend to spend the weekend with my incredible friends and cheer for them as they run a half marathon. Only time will tell…
What’s your best advice for dealing with uncertainty the week before a half marathon?
I’m still planning on running so what’s your favorite running song right now?