This blog has had its moments, but probably running has been one of the longest "running" topics. Considering the number of successes, setbacks, failures and navel-gazing I've done while on this running kick, a blog is almost indispensable to make sense of what I'm doing and why I persist in doing it. It all started with rehab from a broken knee, then transformed into a way to get fitter, then evolved into a desire to run a half marathon, and now a full marathon. Even though I've had my dramas, I always have to see them in the bigger scheme: I'm in the best fitness and health of my life. And in 21 days, I'll probably have run a marathon.
Probably? Well, I fear almost speaking in any certainty considering the dramas of the past. I finished my last big run yesterday morning and felt a little broken. Or maybe I was just coming right. Or maybe I just don't know. You see I've been having what I hope is the last drama of my training for the last week. It started last weekend when I was getting into what was going to be my second to last super big run. I started well, running to the base of the harbour bridge and then cruised along the waterfront, a runner's paradise, but as I approached Okahu bay I felt a very familiar sensation in my left knee. My left knee had been a site for my recent troubles but these sensations were on the opposite side and recall a certain problem from last year. It started with some sensations in my quad and then to the outside joint of my knee, and then tightened over the knee, and then I couldn't run. I had only run 15km and I had to walk back home. It was the IT band syndrome again.
Last year it was because I had the wrong shoes. This year, I guessed it was because my shoes were too old. I changed immediately and the next day I managed to run but not far. I rested a day then on Tuesday ran an half marathon distance summitting Mt Eden nine times. That might have been a crazy idea but I knew uphills would be easier with this problem. The IT band problem was evident but didn't stop me running 21.1km. It must have been getting better, right? I ran again on Wednesday and Thursday with sensations but on each occasion, I finished my runs as planned. I rested again on Friday and then Saturday was always going to again run big. That was just yesterday.
And so I got up at 4:30am, ran at 6:00am and about the same place, Okahu Bay, I felt the tightening, the same sensations that I feared. But I ran on. I hoped to get to St Helliers as that was when the hills back home went. It was not painful painful but not comfortable. I got to St Helliers and still felt it tolerable. I must say that I was running well under schedule, nearly a minute faster than my fast long run 3 weeks earlier. Once up the hill it was onto the St Johns/Remuera spine of the central suburbs and while I was never free of the creeping discomfort, it was never that bad either. I plowed on. I got over 30km which for my marathon preparation was important to me. I was still running fast, now two and a half minutes faster than my fastest 32km. In the following 3km my knee was particularly strident about stopping but I didn't, and I ran right to our gate, 35.3km done. That was mission accomplished but I wondered at what cost. The fact that I could run to the end meant it was getting less severe. But did running like that for the whole duration set me back. Would I be free of the nuisance of it that had caused me grief for a week? And how can I be sure it wouldn't rear its head on event day regardless?
The time to the event now is the taper when I reduce mileage. I hope that with some specialised exercises and treatment I can shake it off and prepare for my event smoothly. I hope.