Sunday, January 17, 2010

Knee Relay

Marathon Plan - Regressive Countdown - Week Sixteen
01/11/10 - 01/17/10 - Week Total: 16.3 miles

Marathon Plan - Regressive Countdown - Week Seventeen
01/04/10 - 01/10/10 - Week Total: 30.6 miles

I skipped my first race of the year: Nookachamps Half Marathon on Jan 16th. The reason was fear.

I ran 30 miles
the week of 01/04 - 01/10 including hills' intervals, a nice 7.5 miles on Sat 09th and a good 13.1 miles on Sun 10th. For the latter I wanted to stop at mile 2. I had a soft unrecognized pain in my left leg, a sort of a shin splint, but different. It felt as stiffed as a concrete post, and my knees were bothering a little bit. Then I said to myself: "one more mile", and with that strategy from one mile to another I completed the Half Distance at 11:52 pace average. I was pleased.

On Tuesday 12th I had one hour available to run as we had tickets for Jesus Christ Superstar... I jumped on the treadmill and did without thinking 5 miles at 11:27. I felt OK, but the following morning my knees were hurting while walking or coming down the escalators.. Runners' Knee???.

My run on Thu ended after my 2 miles warm up, which were done merely walking. I started to panic... How I am going to run Nookachamps like that?

I tried to analyze if it was the combination of hills, plus the 7.5, and 13.1, but it didn't make sense to me... Then, the light bulb went off. The 7.5 miles course in Green Lake started with 0.5 miles moderate uphill. Therefore, as it is an out and back course, it ended with 0.5 miles moderate downhill, not too steep but downhill anyway. And because we have normally that feeling of success after a long run, I ran that portion at 8:30 min/mile with a peak of 7:35 min/mile.
That was it. That was what happened. Nothing worse for knees that going fast downhill if your legs are not trained/prepared for that.

To bring my confidence back, I skipped the race. One thing is not to complete a run, and another thing is to DNF a race. I went to Green Lake to do a 9-mile run. It started with a
Knee Relay; going uphill my left knee was softly hurting. After 0.5 miles, when the hill was over, left knee passed the baton to right for the right knee to hurt. The left didn't bother any more. The pain on the right was so bad for the next mile that I was limping. But after 1.5 miles right knee threw the baton away and the pain was gone. Relay over.

I ran the whole run conservatively slow, and as the knees' pain didn't come back my fears were going away... The final trial to get rid of my fear was during the last 0.5 miles going downhill. I decided to walk it as a cool down, but even walking my knees started to gently scream. This is it. Cause known. Fears gone. I won't run downhill until my knees fully recover, and when doing it will slow down.
Concrete post sensation also going away.

Today I took the day off. My week ended short of my planned mileage, but I don't think that a 16-mile week will hurt much.
My next problem to solve is pace management during long runs. I am having serious troubles keeping a decent pace, but I have a strategy used by me and proven successful back on Sep 2008. I'll try it and post next week...


ShirleyPerly said...

Bummer about the knee pain!!

But, yes, running hard downhill can do it, esp. when untrained. I think you made a smart decision bailing on the race. Take care!

Petraruns said...

Hills are hard on your knees and it takes practice to get them to work for you. You will be fine - your approach was absolutely sensible.

You're doing really well at the moment Lizzie - injecting the occasional rest day and holding back sometimes is going to do you good.