The heavy running portion of my fall season is officially over.
I had hoped to write that sentence after I finished a 13.1 mile run to complete my fall training. Instead, I’m writing it after 7 miles that ended in excruciating pain in my left knee.
Pain enough that I sat down with ice on it as soon as I got home. Pain enough that when I tried to get up, Jon literally had to help me walk. Pain enough that I was in tears immediately. Pain enough that I took a bath because I wasn’t convinced – and neither was Jon – that I could stand up for a shower.
But let me back up.
Early this summer, I was in a bike accident that busted up my left knee and foot. Doc told me not to run for 6 weeks, so I spent much of my summer swimming for a daily workout. I actually forgot until today that this was the same knee. It’s been aching for a couple of weeks, but I’ve cut my runs down and mostly kept them slow and easy.
Aching I can work through. Even small, sharp needle pain in the joint I can deal with. A few days off, some ice, some stretching and I’m usually OK. But I imagine that feeling like a screw driver shoving through the side of my knee is not something I should work through.
So I’ve decided not to finished the training.
Surprising to myself, I’m not that disappointed. My failed long run a couple of weeks ago left me very upset and discouraged. The knee was aching then, but the biggest problem was circulation. I said then how irritating it is to be unable to improve because my body is fighting against me.
I’ve done a lot of thinking since then about letting go of those bad days. With injuries and circulation problems, it feels like lately my running is defined by the bad runs, and that is unacceptable.
I enjoy it too much to let the bad days and the pressure of a training program ruin how I feel about running.
I guess I’ve learned something the past few weeks. I will keep a couple runs in my weekly workouts, but no more long runs for this season. I need to keep things low impact for now, so I may work in some bike rides. Movements that put weight and full range of motion on my knee – like lunges and squats – will likely be off the list for now. It’s unfortunate, but it’s reality. The pain I feel today is no joke and I’m done pushing my knee. If I have a chance of running some races in the spring, I need to heal properly now so I’ll be ready for spring training.
Any tips for recovery are quite welcome! Both physically and emotionally, how do you deal with being unable to run due to injuries?
P.S. HUGE congratulations to all of you who ran races this weekend!! My runner pals you were supposed to run the NYC marathon yesterday, I am so sad for you. I get the reasons, but after all the training – and the travel for so many of you – it would be heart breaking to be unable to run last-minute.
P.P.S. It’s Monday, so everyone have a fantastic week!