I’m a bit worried the Long Beach Marathon. I went through a summer of training without any problems only to begin feeling new aches and pains in the last few weeks.
First came the mystery pain in my left knee. I still did my 20 miler and felt fine. I took 3 days off from running (I haven’t done that since I was on vacation in Yosemite) to recover from the run as well as ice and let Aleve do its work. I skipped the speed workout on Tuesday and marathon pace run on Thursday. Instead, I ran 3.5 miles on Thursday and 4 miles on Saturday. A week later, the mystery knee pain was past me.
I thought I’d be fine tackling the 21-22 miler I delayed until Monday morning. That run didn’t go so well. My stomach was a mess and halfway through my left hamstring started tightening up. I shifted my gait a little and kept going. I wasn’t worried about the pain at the time. I thought it was just part of the long run. I started worrying when the pain lingered after the long run soreness went away. My hamstrings tightened as I walked down stairs. I started limping around campus.
I went back to the plan that worked for the knee (icing, etc) plus massages with the Stick. I tried doing a marathon pace run on Thursday. The pace was manageable, but my hamstring started tightening up and I stopped a few times to stretch. I went out again for an easy run on Saturday. The pain was still there.
On Sunday I bought KT Tape to see if the compression would help me recover. I don’t have pain when walking or any bruising on my thigh, but the pain starts shortly after running. On Monday evening, I set out for a 10 mile long run in a nearby hilly neighborhood. Bad idea. Midway through, I wanted to quit and was mad I’d left my cell phone. I thought about toughing it out, but I didn’t want to risk an actual strain. Still, I was 3+ miles from home. I slowly ran and walked the rest of the way but only got in 8 miles.
As I walked home, I had a lot of time to wonder why this was happening and how I could have prevented the injury. Maybe I wasn’t running enough and was undertrained for the 20+ mile long runs. Maybe I’d run too many miles in my shoes and they were worn out (likely, I’d been using them exclusively since mid-May). Maybe I should have done some strength and cross training. Maybe I need to lose some weight. Maybe two weeks before a marathon is a great time to deal with an injury.
I don’t want to go to a doctor. Frankly, I’m scared they’ll tell me not to run for a while. I don’t want to skip out on the Long Beach Marathon.
So, I’ll stick to what worked for the knee (plus KT tape). If I run later this week, it’ll be short and slow. I might skip the last hour long run I have scheduled for Saturday. I’ve bought new shoes, but don’t know if a few miles in them will be enough to break them in before next Sunday (advice?). I also have a massage scheduled for the Thursday before the marathon.
I guess these last two weeks will just be a super taper. Oh yeah, did I mention I have a cold too? Rest is even more important now.