And another week of training - I'm now 8 weeks out from Grandma's (marathon, not cookies. Though maybe they have post-race gluten free cookies up there). Same theme as before - keeping the track workouts under control and the easy stuff very easy - focusing on high mileage, lactate threshold, and recovery.
I did have a blip though. On Saturday, I met my team for an easy run. Everything felt fine during, but about three hours later, while walking in the city, I suddenly felt a really sharp intense pain in my left knee. The pain hit for about 15 seconds, and then subsided, leaving my knee really sore around all sides of the knee cap.
(and yes, I was wearing running shoes when this happened, not heels)
I had a hunch I knew what it was, since I've felt similar before. My left kneecap is a bit misaligned, and doesn't always sit in its groove correctly (my right kneecap is also askew, but less so). And when the kneecap gets out of its groove, it rubs on stuff it shouldn't and hurts like hell.
When I first started running, I had chronic knee pain in that knee. However, a bit of research pointed me to a simple solution - strengthen the VMO - the inner quad muscle that holds that kneecap in place - and the problem goes away. And that's been the status quo ever since. As long as I faithfully hit the gym 2-3 times a week, my knees are good.
But, for whatever reason, it broke our negotiated truce to flare on Saturday.
I reached to a PT friend on Saturday evening, to get her input. She agreed with me that the most likely cause was just that it had popped out of the groove for an instant, and now all the soft tissue was inflamed. Best thing to do was to ice it (to bring down the inflammation), foam roll the quad on that side, tape it (to keep the kneecap in place), and then see how I felt in the morning.
In the morning, it felt better, though still slightly tender. I had my coach's 4-3-2-1 workout on tap (segments of 4, 3, 2, and 1 mile at marathon pace, each separated by one mile easy), but obviously I was only going to do it if the knee held up. Better one workout too few than one too many.
With some trepidation, I drove on Sunday morning to Fletchers Boathouse (normal long run start location) and started my warm-up jog. The knee felt fine, so I decided to take a stab at the workout.
My big concern was that I normally do this workout as an out and back - 8 miles one way (3 mile warm-up, 4 mile interval, one mile recovery) and then 8 miles back (the rest of the workout). But with a knee I didn't trust, I didn't want to get too far from my car. Especially to a location where it would be hard to flag down a cab.
And that was how I ended up running 18 miles almost entirely back and forth on a two mile stretch of the Capital Crescent trail.
It sounds dreadful, but it actually wasn't that bad. The intervals broke up the run nicely, and the Capital Crescent had the added benefit of accurate mile markers each half mile, which helped confirm pacing.
|On the left is what I ran back and forth this morning; |
on the right is my normal route for this workout
(knee was fine for the workout, BTW. Totally forgot about it. Though I'll probably keep it taped up for another few days to be safe)