healing an injury and prepping for the race

Oh, my knee… the cause of so much frustration this week…

My knee is feeling a LOT better overall. It’s not totally healed – it still hurts (A LOT) when I bend it too far. In fact, I’m a little concerned about re-injuring it due to absent mindedness. I frequently forget about my inured knee and try to kneel or bend in some habitual way – I am quickly reminded of my injury! But I have sufficient range of motion for running, and I can mostly walk without a limp.

I ran twice last week… 

3.7 miles on Wednesday…
…and 5.1 miles on Saturday. 

I was cautious about running any more than that, though. Another injury would be catastrophic right now. Running was doable… but my knee/leg felt TIRED afterward. Thanks to my very generous friend Theresa, who took me to her gym, I was able to incorporate two or three sessions on a stationary bike – low impact, that felt good.

I ran 3.75 miles today, which went surprisingly well. The first mile or mile and a half was tough. My knee felt just a little bit achy, and I was frustrated. It was hard to get into the run. But the last couple miles were fantastic! At some point, my knee stopped aching, and I was able to just run. I slipped into that “zen zone”. Near the end of the run, it finally dawned on me that my knee had stopped aching.

Of course, after the run and shower, my knee felt a bit achy again. That’s okay, though, as long as my knee is okay with running. I finally feel like I’m getting better.

I’m pretty insanely nervous about my upcoming race, and not being able to run as much isn’t helping. When I’m not running as frequently, it feels like it’s more of a mental struggle to push myself to run. It’s one more challenge in the mental game. It’s strange, because I know that running twice a week is still a pretty good amount of running, and I should be feeling good about that.

Of course, with my injured knee, I’m running slower than I would like. That’s indirectly due to self preservation (I don’t want to push myself and gain another injury) and directly due to the injury (my knee feels good enough to run, but I can still feel a tiny bit of discomfort and just can’t push myself as much as I would like).

I know that, come race day, I will have to adjust my mental expectations. Pre-injury, I ran 8 or 10 miles at up to a 12:42 pace – that would be fast enough to do a half marathon in 2:46:29! Phenomenally mind blowing fast! But with my knee, I just do not expect that I will be able to do that. I’m focusing on 13:43, the benchmark I’ve held since I signed up for this race. 13:43 is the pace to finish in 3 hours. Under 3 hours is still an amazing pace, still a great PR, and, I’m afraid, still going to challenge me.

For now, I’m just focusing on this race. Ice my knee, rehab, and be ready for a great race… regardless of my pace or time.