I found out this week that I’m not invincible. Who knew? I’ve been battling a sore knee and upper calf over that last few weeks and decided that it wasn’t a big deal and it would work itself out like all of my other pings did. It got to the point that last Sunday, after a real shaky Saturday 7 miles, I decided to not go on my scheduled long run. I had 15 miles planned, but after I hobbled through the last 4 miles the day before, I bit the bullet and thought that if I took the day off, I could start fresh on Monday and have a productive week and complete the Strava Bring Back the Boom Challenge. I really liked the idea of running a different 10K each day for a week. If it wasn’t for this challenge, I’d probably have taken Monday off too, but pride being what it is, I decided to hit the gym for a quick 4 miles after work. The weather was pretty nasty here and it was dark by the time I was able to run, so I drove to gym and ran a good, hard 4 and felt pretty great afterwards. I was able to up the speed over the course of the run and would have probably went for the full 6.2 if I had the time. Fast forward to Tuesday morning. After a successful stress test Monday, I was convinced that my knee was feeling better and that if I took it easy, I would be able to do 7, no problem. Well, problem. 3.2 miles in, it all fell apart. My left knee was weak. It felt like every time I pushed off, it could give. It hurt every time I landed and I noticed a full-on limp as I was running and thought, shit, I need to call this. Again, as an idiot, I thought it might let up as I hit a long flat patch and decided to test it. About a hundred feet into my “test” I knew something was very wrong and I called it. First time pulling up short on ANY run. Seriously, I’ve been able to set a goal for every run and meet it and more times than not, surpass it. Not today. I called my wife for an evac and tried not to get too scared as I limped towards the pick up.
Part of me is pissed that I didn’t take a break 3 weeks ago when the symptoms sparked for the first time and part of me is proud that I stopped the run and made plans to take a longer break than I’ve had since May, when I started running. I’m also kind of surprised that I’m not more down today. I decided to not just take the week off, but take the week to go to the gym and get comfortable in there again. I did 40 minutes on the bike and some upper body stuff. My legs, bad knee included, felt fine after the workout and barring any discomfort in the morning, I plan on doing a full hour on the bike and some more weight work. I’m able to move around normally without pain, so I’m not going to call the doc yet.
As for the Strava challenge, well, being pissed about missing out on that enlightened me to another injury I haven’t even noticed, my pride. It mattered so much that I completed an internet challenge, that I didn’t listen to my body that was pleading with me to take ‘er easy. I’ve been logging all of my workouts for months now, and love collecting little badges here and there. I think it stems from years of playing MMOs where little and large achievements follow around the player for years, like little trophies, showing others your accomplishments. Thinking about all of this yesterday, as I mentally stabilized myself for a week break from running, really set my head straight. I’m feeling good about my break and looking forward to getting back out there next week, stronger and hungrier.