All along I have been saying things have changed with my run. I’ve gotten faster without really trying and in that new found speed I haven’t found pain or injury…until now. Yes. I am injured.
Believe it or not, I’m not freaked out. Normally, at this point I would be wailing on the floor. Ask anyone. At the first sight of failure I am the messed up queen of quit. Amazingly, this time I am on this side of calm.
So, the pain. Here’s how it happened, the long version. Last Saturday. I was scheduled to run my first twenty miler. I knew I wanted to run the rail trail and back. It’s been my go-to for all the big (over thirteen) mile runs. I’m beginning to memorize mile markers: the tunnel under Route 9 is three miles in, the double wooden bridges are around mile seven. You get the point. I know this run intimately and love this run intrinsically.
They say don’t do anything differently on long runs. I broke that rule purely by saint circumstance. It was cold this past Saturday – barely broke 50 degrees when I set out. I don’t do anything well in cold temps. I know, I know. I’m from Maine so everyone expects me to sleep in an igloo and have icicles in my veins. Really I’m a cold blooded creature. Truly. I need direct heat. So. Before I even set out my muscles were tight and as a result my gait was off. I just knew it was going to be awhile before I felt good.
Then there was the Gregory pack. It’s another story for another time, but on my last run I wore a belt that carried a smidgen of water. Never again. My hips hurt like hell to have that thing around my waist for three hours. But I need water. So, I tried the Gregory: Mint green, plenty of storage, and heavy as fukc. For me anyway. Right away I felt encumbered and mule-ish. I took too much water. Combine that with the stiffness of being cold and I knew I was in trouble from the start.
Then. Yes, there’s more. There were the new(er) Asics I insisted on wearing. I actually argued with myself about them before we left the house. I’ve worn them for a lot of shorter runs but never anything over eight or nine. The kicker is, they are a different width than any of my other shoes. I don’t know why I thought twenty in the GTs would be a good idea. Kill me now.
Anyway, fast forward to 16 miles in. I’m feeling decent. I have warmed up, gotten used to the Gregory and even picked up the pace a little. Even the GTs aren’t bothering me in the least. Checking in with myself I notice I’ve got the usual aches and pains anyone would from doing something repetitive for three hours straight. Not bad at all. 17 miles in and I start to feel a weird “pull” behind my right knee and inside thigh. It’s an unusual pain in an unusual place; not a sharp pain, nor would I classify it as unbearable, so I shrug it off and keep going. By now I have since crossed Route 9 and know the end is less than four miles away. 3.28 sun-setting, getting-dark miles to go. To be exact. The pain isn’t increasing, but it’s not going away either. It’s just odd – almost like a twitchy itch. I cross the final bridge and face another abnormality: Kisa is not there. For the first time ever. I manage to pull my concentration together enough to send him a one word text: “Done.” As in 20.28 miles done.
Fast forward to Sunday. My aches and pains are a little more pronounced than the last run but I argue I ran almost a mile further in less than friendly conditions. Of course I would hurt more than the last run. But, I then finally notice the blue-black bruise blooming behind my knee and up my thigh. Uhoh. I haven’t seen a doctor but I know what I need to do: rest, ice, compression, elevate. All the things I didn’t do until today. My self imposed plan is this: take today and tomorrow off (skipping a five miler on Tuesday). Reevaluate on Thursday. After all, I will have “rested” for four days by then. I still want to run ten on Thursday and if not, definitely the planned 20+ on Saturday. It’s the very last accumulation run!