Monday started off like any normal Monday during the school week. Except that it was the last Monday of the school year. My school is hosting summer school this year (which I'm teaching!) so a few things were being taken care of in the classrooms. I had some items removed from my classroom, and in the process of removing these items, some of my desks/chairs were misplaced.
I started cleaning my room during this whole removal process and went to go grab something from my desk. Unfortunately, with my desks/chairs being misplaced, I wasn't thinking and that's when it happened.
I turned around and SMACK! The center of my kneecap perfectly hit the metal frame of the chair.
Luckily, no students were in my classroom at the time because I was probably not very professional during that moment.
I limped my way to my chair, sat down and rubbed my kneecap, hoping to avoid any real damage. My mind kept going back to when I smacked my kneecap directly on the metal frame of the door at my parent's house two years ago. Long story short, I was stubborn and ran the Palos 1/2 marathon despite the knee pain, but it was probably the worst experience of my life. I ended up taking 12 total days off because of my bruised bone.
12 days from Monday would be Grandma's Marathon. I tried not to panic since I still had to get through the school day. It hurt walking to refill my water bottle. It killed walking down the stairs. Luckily, Ryan convinced me to try and run after school just to see if maybe it would loosen up.
Well, Ryan was right again. As awful as it felt in the beginning, by mile 2 I was feeling totally normal again. I couldn't help but think this was that "sign" I was waiting for to reassure me that Grandma's was going to go well.
Tuesday I had a run where I progressed to marathon goal pace and could only feel my knee once or twice in the beginning, so was again encouraged that everything was good.
And then I ran my workout on Wednesday.
Beautiful forest preserve - I'm lucky enough to teach nearby!
To be honest, this was probably the best run workout I've had to date. It was a fairly simple workout: 3mile warmup, 5x3min HARD 3min EASY, 2mile cooldown. I chose to run this in the forest preserve so as to be on the soft surface. I knew the path would be a little slippery/wet, but was okay and figured I would just take 10 seconds off like Coach Dave and I do when we run at Waterfall Glen.
My paces for these 3 minutes were 5:44 (1/2 uphill), 5:35, 5:31, 5:50 (entirely uphill), 5:35 (1/2 uphill). I was pretty happy with those times considering the terrain and hills. I felt really good for the warmup and first two repeats.
Halfway through the third repeat, my knee had some SHARP pain. I didn't know what to do, so just kept going and finished the rep. During the easy segments, the pain was even worse. After the fourth rep, I actually stopped running and walked for a little bit. I was 3 miles away from Life Time and certainly wasn't going to just walk those 3 miles back. I figured I would try and finish the workout. As tough as it was, I finished the hard portions in respectable times.
The cooldown, however, was an entirely different story. My knee was just throbbing. I had two miles to run before I'd be back at Life Time...and I certainly did not want to walk two full miles. Despite feeling like a hammer was pounding on my kneecap, I powered through the mile in a blazing 8:32... I stopped at that point as tears were forming in my eyes.
How is this possible?
10 days out.
All of this hard work and time off of triathlon training, and I might not even make it to the start line?
I allowed myself to cry and get my frustrations out. I had a pedicure scheduled after my run and wasn't about to let a stranger see me cry. During my pedicure, I kept forming positive thoughts in my head:
By not doing the marathon, there's no need to recover, so you can start training for triathlons again right away!
Think of all of the progress you've made in terms of running and mental toughness!
If you have to take these next 10 days off, think of all of the grad school work you can get ahead on! (okay, that one actually made me sad instead of happy)
Use these next 10 days to just catch up on sleep and not care about working out!
I truly had convinced myself by the time my pedicure was over that not running Grandma's was okay and that this was just God's way of telling me triathlons are my "thing."
I called my mom to let her know what was going on since she was worried after seeing my "Tart Cherry Juice" picture posted on Facebook....and the water works started up again.
"Magic Juice".... no lie, this stuff is great for injuries like smacking your knee on something!
My dad's PT friend Jerry called me to talk about my knee and reassured me that it likely was not a bruised bone...which is great since they can take 4-6 weeks to heal.
I talked with Coach Dave and he agreed, replacing my run with an elliptical session for today to test the knee (all was good!).
Earl did all sorts of tests. Basically, the part that protects the kneecap is inflamed and needs to be taken care of for me to run pain free. He has me on an ibuprofen and heat/ice regimen for the next few days to speed up this process.
I have to say I am extremely blessed with people who truly take care of me and understand my goals and what it takes to achieve those goals. Earl gets that I want to run Grandma's and is helping me speed the recovery process as much as possible. Coach Dave gets that we have to adjust things slightly but need to continue to press forward. My mom and Ryan get that I just need to have a good cry every so often. Thank you all for being there for me. And to everyone who reads this blog, thank YOU for believing in me. This has been the most emotional journey I've ever taken, but knowing that I have so many people who believe in me is what has kept me going and keeps me staying strong. Tomorrow I'll be testing out the knee on my run and will be sure to post updates. Staying positive as that is what will get me to the starting line of Grandma's Marathon in 9 days.