Said every runner, ever.
I mentioned last weekend that my left knee started hurting 7 miles into my long run, but I was able to bear the pain and finish the 17-miler. However, that whole day I had SO much pain that at times it was difficult to walk.
The pain was on the back outside of my knee—right where the tendon seems to run along the back edge. A lot of runner friends, when I told them the pain was on the outside of my knee, kept suggesting it may be my IT band. I’ve dealt with that pain a lot with my right knee, so I know what that usually feels like—and this felt way different. The pain started as a dull ache (I don’t think I even noticed it at first?) and then got worse as I kept going. It seemed to emanate up and down my leg as the pain increased; even all the way up my leg to my lower back (which had already been sore). Sometimes it felt like my knee would just give out completely, and actually it kind of did once…That probably should have been the sign to stop, but I didn’t (dumb).
So, after some research online, it makes sense to me that my Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) is what’s giving me grief.
I don’t think I would say it’s sprained or torn, since the pain was pretty much gone the day after my long run and I never heard any popping or anything; but I’d definitely say I’ve irritated, or strained, it. I have a feeling the 8-mile trail run during the week before (after which I had some dull pain) may have had too much twisting or jumping over rocks/ruts, and maybe I tweaked it during all that?
I had to no pain going into a test run this Thursday, but by three miles that familiar ache was coming back. So I called it quits before it started to hurt and decided I need to take some more time off running to really heal. That’s always a tough decision to make, but it’s 100% always the best decision. I’ve read that if you DO injure a tendon, it can take from 2-8 weeks to fully heal. And I don’t have that much time.
I normally would be kind of freaked out, but seeing as I’m still six weeks away from the Chicago Marathon, I realize it’s better to take off time now, while it’s just irritated, than later. At least I’ll still be able to [hopefully] get in a 20-miler before the race. But if I can peak at 18 miles, I guess I’ll take it!
So, I haven’t really done anything (besides some PT for my knees + core work) since Thursday. I will only be biking this coming week. It was definitely weird not getting up Saturday at the crack of dawn and putting in a ridiculously long run by 10am. But, it’s what’s best for me, so I need to cut back!
Because I realize that internet research and self-diagnosis isn’t always correct, I also made an appointment to see a physical therapist for an evaluation on Tuesday night. Hopefully she can confirm (or otherwise diagnose) what’s going on and help me with a recovery plan so I can still run 26.2 miles in October.
Cross your fingers! And run an extra mile for me. I’ll be the one on the bike, staring longingly at your flying feet as I pedal by…