Saturday, May 6, 2017

Not a Knee-Jerk Reaction

Having previously experienced injury while training, my recent knee issues have got me worried about tomorrow. Like, genuinely worried. So worried in fact, I woke up at 3 am last night and my immediate thought was, "Should I be icing right now?" (This was followed by thinking about what I would write on the blog, which kept me up even longer. Stupid middle-of-the-night brain.)

As I mentioned the other day, my knee has been bothering me all week - to the point of pain when going up and down stairs, and discomfort when bending or squatting. This is obviously a problem, considering I'm meant to run 42.2 freaking km tomorrow. 

To try and alleviate the pain and get to the start line in good form, my routine this week has been: get up. Ice the knee. Go to work. Come home. Ice all night (at intervals, of course). Sleep. Repeat the next day. The exception was yesterday, where I stopped by the Race Expo after work but before coming home. I hobbled around there for a bit to pick up my race kit and check out some merch, but then went home and resumed my regular schedule of icing. 

Has it helped? A little... but maybe not enough.

Injuries blow
I know what it's like to not finish a long run; it happened to me back in 2012. It was awful. Devastating, really. But that was in training. I cringe at the thought of attempting number five tomorrow and clocking in a DNF - a "did not finish." But not even trying at all is not an option.

Some people might suggest I not run tomorrow, or try and switch my distance to the half. Let me just say: that's not gonna happen. I may be injured (or at least, on the cusp of injury) but number five is like my OlympicsIt's water after being too long in the desert. It's my friggin' unicorn. And after all I've been through to get this close to completing number five, and after the year I've just had? No. No way I'm not at least attempting it tomorrow, with or without knee pain. 

Injury race strategy
I joked with a co-worker this week, that I will cross that finish line even if I have to g*ddamn well crawl over it on my hands and knees. Obviously, if I want to keep running after tomorrow, this may not be a smart strategy, with the risks of permanent or long-term damage a definite possibility. 

Me at the Race Expo. I may look happy,
but I'm crying on the inside.
At the Race Expo yesterday, I met the Team Diabetes staff who I've been corresponding with these past four-plus months or so, but had never met in person. I was telling them about the knee and one of the runners shared his story about having to be off running for nearly 10 years after pushing too hard in a race when injured. He reminded me that I've got to listen to my body, and do what feels right. If that means walking more than usual, then so be it.  

I went from analyzing my training data last week to see if I could eke out a new personal best, to now thinking I may not even finish. It's been a hard few days. But I think a shift in perspective will definitely be helpful, if not absolutely necessary. Training may have gone well - the best it's ever been - but the timing of this stupid knee has changed everything and, if I want to finish number five tomorrow, I'm going to need to let go of all that.

(Aside: for those I've provided with my estimated pace and finish times who planned to see me on the course, maybe adjust those down a little. And check to see where I am on the bib lookup website. Would be nice to know someone is checking I've not collapsed in a heap somewhere.)

I kneed a miracle
Knee puns aside, this injury/almost injury is a big deal, and I can't ignore it any more. I've never been the kind of person to believe in miracles, but I think I'm going to need one now. Let's hope the goodwill of running for charity and sharing my story about grief is enough currency to summon one up. Because I would sure hate to let any of you down: my donors, my supporters, my dad, myself. That would be a serious bummer. So... come on, miracle!

Until then, more ice, rest and trying to stay calm. 

Sure hope every little thing is gonna be alright. Come on, miracle!


  1. You could never let us down! The fact that you're even attempting to run a marathon for the 5th time (!!!!) is friggin amazing. You're bringing awareness to an important issue and living in the memory of your dad- regardless of how fast you run or whether you crawl over the finish line. Would you even have attempted a 5th had your dad not passed? You've chosen to attempt something amazing in response to a tragic event in your life and THAT is a victory in itself!

    1. And now... I'm crying. Thank you so much, Laura! This is incredibly touching and means so much. I have no words... I'm just so grateful for your support. Hope to see you tomorrow! (Note to self: remind Matt to pack tissues. I think I may need them.)

  2. Ang, we aren't expecting speed records on this one. You know how to make it through what you have to do, and we have your back. Run/walk/shuffle/walk is 100% cool. Or walk the whole thing. We love you girl!

    1. Thanks so much, dear friend! Soooo many issues out there, but a finish is a finish. Love and hugs.