Sooo it's been forever since I've updated but I've decided it's time to get out of my depressed funk and denial, face the issues and pick myself back up again. I'll try to make this short as possible (but keep in mind I'm covering the past 6 weeks because I've been too depressed to make ANY updates lol).
I ran my 16 miler and hurt but didn't feel like I was in the "dangerous" hurt zone. A couple weeks later I ran my first half marathon ever, the rock n'roll Chicago half marathon. It went well, though I remember finishing it and feeling like there was no way on earth I could have re-run that course to make it a full. But, I was told by my marathon training team that was normal to feel after a first long distance race.
So, the next weekend I headed out for my 18 miler, the longest distance to date. Around mile 16 I started feeling the same pain I felt during the previous two 16 milers, and I just remember thinking "it's 2 more miles, whatever" and so I ran. At mile 17 of my 18 miler I had a panic attack. I couldn't stand up and got very dizzy and lightheaded. I didn't know what was going on but I figured I was just stressed out from the run. My legs(knees) were shaking like crazy and not holding me up but I figured that it was just the dizziness from the panic attack causing that. I finished the 18 miler and had to be helped to my car because I could barely walk. The next day I just felt dead but I figured that was normal. I gave myself two days of recovery.
Then I tried to run... and my right knee said "ummm nope, thanks for trying but nope". It just wasn't working. It would switch between sharp pain that would quickly build to all of a sudden just giving out on me. I've had ITB pain before and even though I knew this wasn't ITB I figured I could fix it the same way I fixed the ITB which was just stretching and a band to go around me knee. I went to the running store and bought a patella strap and figured I'd be all good in a few days. Few days goes by, I try to run again. This time I'm too stubborn to stop when I feel the pain and completely kill my knee. I can't walk for a week.... I started using my arms to grab the railings and pull myself down the stairs at my apartment complex because the feeling of bending my knee felt like I was slicing my cartilage...
So I gave it a week. I figured a week fixes anything. Wrong... tried to run again and couldn't walk for the next week... again. Finally made an appointment with a doctor and realized at the office when he made me compare my right knee to my left knee that the right knee was twice as large. I guess I never noticed because I was only looking at the right knee lol. Anyway, he did an MRI and told me I just had a bad case of "runner's knee" and that it was super common, and I should be out running again in a couple weeks with some physical therapy. I asked him about the marathon and he gave me the "go ahead" thumbs up sign... I felt good.
I started physical therapy that week and was very diligent about my exercises. The knee started to feel better but i still couldn't get 1 mile without it giving out. After trying a few different tapes/taping methods we finally found one that worked the best and I am now up to 3 miles without my knee giving out. I'm very proud of myself but...
During physical therapy yesterday my therapist and I had a serious discussion about the race. I'm not progressing at the rate that he or my doctor thought I would be. It's been almost 6 weeks since my last long run (the 18 miler) and actually 6 weeks since any run over 3 miles. My group is supposed to run 22 miles this Saturday morning and the thought of that makes me want to puke.
I asked him if he thought I could do it. He said that it really wasn't a good idea. He asked if I could get a refund and when I told him no he said to "run a little of the course then to try and get some of your money's worth". I made the decision (not like I had a choice) at that moment not to run Chicago. I want my first marathon to be one that I can finish.
So, how am I feeling about all this? Terrible. I had a really hard "cry myself to sleep" night and a "let's go to denny's and gourge myself on ice cream" day and I've now whined to ALL my running friends as well as my family about how miserable I am about the decision. And AFTER all that??? Well I'm finally starting to feel like things will get better soon.
I think the biggest regret I have at the moment is not treating the half marathon as a huge accomplishment. Since i was training for the marathon, the half just seemed like a training run. I wasn't really excited for it or during it. I just did it to prepare for the "real" one. I let that moment slip by unnoticed in my life and I really regret that.
But, other than that I am really trying to focus on the positives and my new goal which is to get healthy and be able to run just for the fun of it :)
-I can now run 3 miles without any pain or my knee giving out on me!
-I can bike freaking 40 miles on a mountain bike in less than 3 hours with some serious hills
-I don't have to wake up at 3am for long runs at the moment!
-I've gone out with friends again for the first time in months because I "don't have to run in the morning"
-My knee problem does NOT require surgery
-The physical therapy exercises are seriously making my legs look awesome lol
-I am young, I have plenty of time to run a marathon later
-I am young, my body will recover from this even though I pushed it WAY beyond where it could go
-My body will forgive me for abusing it and not listening
-I have amazing friends/family who are supporting me through this
and last but not least...
-I am incredibly lucky to be one of those people who enjoy the feeling of **actually running**. I have incredible admiration for those who don't enjoy but do it because they are disciplined, and want to stay in shape, and love the feeling of accomplishment after. I'm not sure I could stick with it if I didn't like the feeling **during**. But I do, I love it I love it I love it. The quote "the only runners high I've ever gotten was from when I stopped running" never applied to me and I need to remember this as I try to get healthy again. I need to run because I want to, not because my schedule says to, or because I want to run a marathon. I just want to run because I like it. Running is NOT about a medal or about a timestamp or about bragging rights. It's about fun, enjoyment, freedom.
When did I forget that??
p.s. GOOD LUCK TO ALL MY CHICAGO-ERS!!! I can't wait to read about your experiences :D