When I said last time that I felt much better for taking it easy, that didn't include how I felt running a day later. Certainly getting up and down stairs and carrying on normal life was easier, but then having taken Monday off from running after 45 miles in 3 days, I ran on Tuesday and for the first time in years I was in pain. A specific, knee centred pain. It was, quite frankly horrible.
For the first half mile of the run the inside of my left knee just below the kneecap was painful, not achy, but sharp pain. After the first half mile it loosened and it was just uncomfortable, but the whole of the rest of my legs felt "wrong", achy tired and all out of kilter.
So what did I do? Well of course, I did what any self respecting neurotic runner would do, I panicked!
This panicking involved several short run/walks riven with doubt and worry, constant running up and down my hall and dining room trying to convince myself I'd recovered overnight, and huge dollops of self doubt. I ran twice on Wednesday, then decided I couldn't cope with the stress and took to my bike until I saw Wayne on Friday, my fantastic sports massage therapist. Just hearing from Wayne that a hamstring had tightened and was pulling at the insertion point, and that no knee ligaments were involved was a huge relief.
One excruciatingly painful sports massage later and I was back running. Looking back on the last 6 weeks of the school holidays, the camping, kayaking, and body surfing hadn't done my muscles any good, add to that pretty high mileage, and only 2 sports massages, and minimal strength work and my muscles had tightened up to painful levels. I have learnt my lesson, the shcool holidays are hard, and I need to look after myself a bit better.
So having run a couple of 3 milers on Friday and Saturday I ran Bristol Half Marathon today with Lynne who has spent the last year recovering from a brain haemorrhage. It was fantastic, Lynne was fantastic, and my knee held up. We took it easy and got Lynne across the line in 2.23, with a strong last couple of miles and a sprint finish, so job done. My knee was complaining a bit from mile 11, and for a couple of hours after the race the muscles around the knee spasmed quite painfully making me look like the Ministry of Funny Walks, but it feels much better now, just a bit stiff. So with another sports massage booked for Friday I am far more confident that I can run the planned 74 miles this week. Mind you, just typing 74 makes me panic, and I instantly want to qualify it by saying I may only do 20 this week if the knee falls apart, ah well........ maybe panic is part of a runner's life?