The signs were there, but again, I chose to ignore them. I didn’t experience any knee pain until 12-14 days ago, and it started out mildly enough. As I continued to train, the pain became progressively worse into early last week (5-6 days out from the race). I was dreading every run and I think that the pain was contributing to my sustained dark mood. I usually don’t take the day off before any race, but I did this time. A short jog across the parking lot while working at the expo reminded me of my knee pain.
Yet, I showed up to the start line at 6:30am on Sunday!
I showed up, ran ~16 miles at a respectable pace, stopped at a porta potty and realized how terrible I felt, slowed down and took a few walking breaks until mile ~19, then removed my bib and began to jog/walk back to my car. Having reflected on the race, I think that I didn’t feel the knee pain as much while running faster, but it came out in full force when I finally slowed down. My pace definitely slowed after mile 16, but I think that I could’ve finished in 3:10-3:15 with a healthy knee. I don’t often speak of what I “could’ve run” because I believe that one can always claim they “could’ve run” this or that time, but I felt decent fitness-wise. The weather was good for running, it was a pretty flat course, and I felt like my energy reserves would’ve held up. I didn’t finish though, I earned a DNF and left with my tail between my legs.
As for the injury itself, it is incredibly painful, which is to be expected after running 20 miles on a bum knee. The pain is in the lower, right corner of my knee cap and radiates about halfway down my shin. It is a very grating pain and feels more bone or joint-oriented than tendon or muscle. I’m not sure if the origin is the knee cap or where my knee meets my shin, but I’m hoping to get an x-ray or MRI this week. In the meantime, I’m icing it when possible and resting. While incredibly frustrated and sad, I’m aware that this is 100% my own doing.