You may remember that last year I completed the Louisville Triple Crown of Running: Anthem 5K, Rodes City Run 10K, and Papa John’s 10 Miler. This year I won’t be able to do all three races – I’m missing the 10K for a yoga event – but I’m running the other two, as well as the Kentucky Derby Festival Mini Marathon.
Throughout the end of January and early February, I concentrated my training on the 5K. I hit paces that we near my PR pace in workouts, and I was feeling confident. I felt okay about taking a break while I was in Honduras, because my legs needed the rest. I was ready to come back and kill it in training, but life had other plans.
A little over a week before the 5K, I hurt my knee in a yoga class. I was back bending in Tree pose when my knee gave out and I felt a sharp pain. I’d done this pose numerous times before, and this was just a freak accident. I left class immediately to ice and elevate my knee, and assumed it would heal up within a few days.
While the pain did go away, and there was never any inflammation, it still felt stiff when I tried running on it. I decided to keep resting and make an appointment with my sports chiropractor. At the appointment, he did tests to confirm that nothing was structurally damaged in my knee, and concluded that because I am hyper-mobile in my knees, and because my quads had been a little fatigued that day, I “tweaked” my knee, probably rubbing the cartilage against my patella; nothing serious. He put kinesio tape on for support around my patella and gave me the go-ahead to run.
By the time I approached the start line on Saturday morning, I had done just two two-mile jogs in the past week and a half. I made an agreement with myself that I would not push myself hard, because I would rather play it safe and remain healthy to train for a great half marathon. What my race looked like was this: I started out strong, and found that running faster actually felt better on my knee, because of the large range of muscles recruited; my nagging problem has been getting my right gluteus medius to fire properly, which it seems to do better at faster speeds. However, with the low volume I’d been able to complete in the past few weeks, that pace was not sustainable. I ended up with intervals: running at a fast pace until I needed a break, and then slowing down to a crawl. Anything in between made my knee a little cranky. I finished about five and a half minutes slower than my PR, but I finished pain-free.
There will be other 5Ks for me to race; for now, I’m happy to be healthy, albeit sore, and looking forward to 10 and 13.1 this spring.