Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sarah's First Running Injury

... I'll have to put that on a Christmas ornament for next year.
A little over a week and a half ago I ventured out on a post-work 5 miler. Totally normal mileage for me during the week and a route I've completed many times. About 2 miles in I could feel a dull ache starting to pulse in my knee. Nothing too painful to run through, but I was aware it was there. I stretched, foam rolled and iced it, taking it easy the next day with another round of stretching, foam rolling and icing.

I completed a couple more runs that week, including a 7-miler last Saturday, each time being extremely aware of my knee and any sign of the pain, but was lucky enough that it didn't seem to return. After a couple runs earlier this week and a day of cross-training, I set out on Thursday for 4 miles of hills. This time, I didn't get more than a mile in before I could feel the ache begin. Through another 3 miles, hills included (possibly not the most intelligent decision) it continued to ache and grind. I felt frustrated and stumped but was glad to get the miles in and came home to, once again, stretch, foam roll and ice. 

I took yesterday off again to ice and take care of it in anticipation of my scheduled 8-miler this morning. I could still feel the ache yesterday morning but tried to look past it. Today, when we set off toward Comm Ave, I could feel the pain right away. Per usual, it started as a dull ache and I continued to run through it. I borrowed a knee band from Molly to try and give it some more support, but I think this time around it only postponed the inevitable. About 3 miles in I knew there was no way I was making it through all 8 and reluctantly settled for run-walking my way back toward Brighton.

Since I started running seriously in 2011, I haven't had a single injury. Aside from typical muscle tightness, occasional chaffing or blisters, etc. I've been incredibly lucky. I've watched a number of friends cope with injuries - from shin splints and hip flexor issues, to knee problems and more. I heard all about their injuries, watched their frustration, and could never honestly say "I know how you feel." I took my good health for granted and was able to complete my training without any problems.

For many people training for Boston, today was the last long run they'll need to complete before the Marathon. I had hoped that running along Comm today would help inspire me to push harder and remind me why I've come to love running. Unfortunately, as I sunk into run-walk mode, I couldn't help but feeling angry, frustrated, disappointed and defeated. I can't tell you how many 8-milers I've completed, why should today be any different? I'd try to run, get about one hundred yards, and then have to stop. 

This morning was humbling. I watched so many amazing runners tackle Heartbreak Hill and the course through BC, saw so many organizations with water stops set up, thanked countless Boston Police officers for their help directing traffic so that runners didn't need to worry about stopping at busy intersections. Meanwhile, here I was stubbornly struggling to finish something that should be more than doable.

For now, I'm just going to wallow. I don't like being derailed. I have training to complete, and there's less than two months until Reach the Beach. I'm still angry and frustrated. I kind of just want to relax, eat my feelings and pretend like the world is ending. OK, slightly dramatic, but that's pretty much what I've felt like for the most of today.

So here I sit, on my couch, icing my knee for what seems like the 20th time in the past week and a half. I'll foam roll again, I'll stretch again, and I'll definitely ice again. And I'll try to come up with some kind of plan to move forward and fix whatever is going on. 


  1. Unfortunately, I know exactly how you feel. Luckily "runners knee" or ITB pain there is not a very serious injury (it could really be much worse) though it can certainly be debilitating.

    Stick with the stretching, rolling (make sure to roll the front of the leg/quad area as well as the glutes all the way up to your hip in addition to just the ITB -, and ice for now. Take a couple days off and hopefully you'll be better in no time.

    Another factor could be shoes...have you gotten different shoes lately? Are your current shoes pretty worn out? Have you been trying to increase your miles a lot lately?

    Also, if you do think you want/need a knee brace, I have an awesome one from a company called 110% Play Harder that I use when my ITB is really sore or during very high mileage weeks and it makes a huge difference. Best part is the ice slips right into the sleeve afterwards so you don't have to sit there with a bag on your knee, and it gets right in there!

    Get better soon!

    1. Thanks, Greg! That video was helpful to reiterate those stretches and confirmed that I've been foam rolling the area correctly - it hurts like hell so it's definitely working something.

      My main pair of shoes only has a little less than 200 miles on them - same make and model I've been using since I was fitted for my first half. I have been rotating with a much older pair, however, for shorter runs. Those definitely should be replaced.

      Cat also recommended the 110% brand, so I'll have to check them out! I have an ice pack that slips right into a velcro band that secures on my knee that I've been using, just didn't have it on me in the office last week.

  2. I'm struggling through an injury right now too... Chocolate has been making it a little better ;D

    1. I'm a firm believer that chocolate makes just about everything better. :) Here's to both of us healing quickly!