Recently I wrote about my worst running nightmares, one of them being getting an injury before a run. Well, feast your eyes on the situation I found myself in after completing my last half-marathon:
Yup. BOTH of my knees were completely shot. 😡
It was horrible. I briefly mentioned the hills in this post about the half, but I seriously undercut my experience. Seriously, there were at least 20 hills, ranging in size from giant to small, steep to gentle. It was ridiculous. Around mile 10 I felt my knees locking up, refusing to give any more. And the worst part was that there was no way I could train for it – it’s completely flat where I live, not a single incline anywhere.
After the race I could walk a bit, but it was painful – my knees would fight me with every step. And unfortunately, Jay and I had planned to take Emily to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios the day after my run. Sounds dumb, but we based our decision on prior experience, and I had been fine the day after my last half-marathon. We just hadn’t counted on those dang hills, and as we walked through the park the next day I could tell that I was making things worse.
Now normally this kind of injury wouldn’t have been a major issue, I’d just give myself time to heal up and move on. But – and here’s where I get back to that nightmare part – I had another 5K scheduled within 2 weeks. It was the same run I’d done last year, the Family Values 5K, and I was looking forward to running it again. But there was no way it was happening with my knees in the condition they were in. I also had a 5K lined up for the following weekend on Valentine’s Day, and I was dead set on running that one. So I decided that I’d walk the Family Values 5K for as long as I could and quit if my knees gave me trouble. A sweet friend who works at a physical therapist’s office gave me some exercises to try and some Therabands to help strengthen up my knees again. Along with her tips, I iced my knees every day up until the day of the event, and slowly I felt them healing back up.
Since this was a family event, Jay and the girls came along too. At 2 miles in Emily was ready to stop, so Jay left the route with her so she could get some water and rest. I was determined to finish though, and since my knees hadn’t bothered me in the least (and Julia was begging me to go faster), I decided to test them with an extremely light jog. Happily, I managed to finish the last 1.1 of the run without feeling any discomfort until after I crossed the finish line, and even then they were just a little tender to the touch. Woohoo!
Overall, it was a bit of a humbling experience. Up to this point I’d walked some events, and ran others. But I’d never walked and ran all in one event. When the race first started it was difficult to watch everyone else give a running start – I wanted to run too. But I’m really glad that I listened to my body and walked those first two miles, even though it meant that I couldn’t add another fully-run 3.1 to my roster. I went home after the event, iced my knees, and continued my exercises.
And by the following weekend I was ready to run the 5K I’d had my heart set on running. Yay! 🙂