So, just like a Hollywood movie, there always has to be a twist in the epic tale right? Some hurdle that the hero of the story must conquer before they can triumph? Well I have had mine this last week and a half.
Last Tuesday was when I first felt it, an ache in my left knee while running. I didn't think too much of it, these things happen, no big deal. Probably that was the moment when I should have realised that I needed a rest... I had just run 81km over the previous 9 days afterall, plus I was on nightshift. But no, silly me, so close to the finish line, and honestly, a little obsessed, went running again on Wednesday. That is when it started to hurt. By friday, I could only run a kilometre before needing to stop because of the pain. I had a massage after that on Friday, but then only managed 3kms the next morning.... that is when I realised, and heart sinkingly so, that it was time to stop, and heal.
On sunday I grimaced my way through Lollipop Markets, I had a great day, but I was in pain... so much so that immediately after arriving home I dragged my family down the beach so I could go wading in the water footballer style in the hope I could reduce some inflammation. Not suprisingly I got a lot of stares wading around out there with my trackie-daks hitched up as far as they could go.... it actually felt kind of nice though I will admit.
Because at this stage I'd put myself on a running ban until Wednesday I made arrangements to go swimming at the aquatics centre on Monday night with a friend... but sadly as my style is a bit crap, my kicking motion still made my knee hurt. That is when my friend convinced me to make an appointment with a physio. I couldn't get in until Thursday.
On Tuesday a care package arrived express post in my letter box care of the lovely Shan from Missy Melly . Shan is a woman of many talents, one of which is that she is a qualified acupuncturist. My care package contained adhesive anti-inflammatories and a diagram of where to put them and instructions explaining how to use them. I cried. Big gulping hard to breath cried. I've only ever "met" this beautiful woman virtually and she cared enough to send me this. How awesome is this world. How awesome is she.
Shan's method worked brilliantly for me and by wednesday afternoon I was relatively pain free.... until my test run of 5kms. It was highly uncomfortable. But still an improvement on the weekend. Could I run 42kms in this kind of pain? Maybe.
I sat with ice last night trying to will my knee better.
This morning I hurt again.
In my 17 years or so of running I have never had running related knee pain. To say I was starting to feel scared this morning is an understatement. But by now I'd made up my mind that I was doing my marathon no matter what.
I walkied into the physio today and said. I am running the Adelaide Marathon on Sunday, I seem to have developed runner's knee in the past week. I hurt, but I need to run this marathon. She said the words I needed to hear "Ok. Let's see what we can do".
So after an inital assessment of my knee, she said there was no damage to my knee and I "will be fine to run my marathon on Sunday". RELIEF. My problem turned out to be a ridiculously tight quad that was restricting movement in my knee cap, causing the pain. She suspected that night shift had made me too tired to recover properly..... stupid night shift.
I'd like to say she massaged my leg, but that conjurs some kind of relaxing, candle lit, soft music kind of senario... I would more liken it too tenderising a piece of meat. I love a tough massage but this was literally breath-taking, eye screwing up pain. Then she stuck in about 12 acupuncture needles and repeatedly pricked me with some kind of aparatus, kind of like aerrating a lawn. Then she strapped my knee, carefully showing me how to do it myself....and the best bit, gave me strict instructions to make my husband massage my thigh every night. Awesome.
I was then sent off, feeling immediately better and having been told to run tonight to see how it felt.
Adelaidians will know how the weather is tonight.... cold, pouring with rain and very windy. I strapped on my shoes and ran... some of the run was a little uncomfortable, but mostly it was fine, especially the further I went. WOW! I cried...as I do.
I suspect tomorrow I will feel like a train wreck in the thigh region, but right now, all I can do is smile. It was always going to hurt, now probably a little more so, but, that marathon is still within my grasp.