Hi there, stranger. It’s been a long time since we talked about running. Why’s that, you ask? Because I haven’t been doing it, because I can’t do it, and that has led me to a life of chocolate. Ok, I was already living a life of chocolate, but now chocolate fills both the chocolate void and the running void, which is too much chocolate, even for me.
After the New Year and the RWRunStreak ended, the polar vortex hit the East Coast and I had a perfect excuse to take a few days, then a few more, off from running. I did some strength/interval training in the meantime, and on lucky January the 13th, one year after I successfully completed the Goofy Challenge at Disneyworld (the half marathon followed by the full marathon the next day), I ran 3 miles in Central Park.
Those three miles felt pretty great. The weather was nice, and my knees barely hurt at all. But that all changed overnight, when I woke on Tuesday to crazy knee pain in both knees. It hurt to simply walk. I iced, I tried to (mentally) shake it off, and by Wednesday they didn’t hurt every moment of the day, and by Thursday I could do my bodyweight interval exercises (like planks and squats) without much problem.
I was planning on doing my “long” run on that Saturday – aiming for 5 or 6 miles, but probably doing 4. My marathon training program had me at 18 miles, but I was trying not to think about that. Anyway, I went out into Central Park on the main loop and felt woefully out of shape. I took a walk break after running up Cat Hill, but when I tried to start running again my right knee was having none of it. For the past year I’ve been battling my left knee, but suddenly my right knee has decided to get in on the injury game.
My knee wasn’t warming up, and any pressure beyond walking made it hurt, so I scrapped the run and walked straight across the park back home. And that’s when some serious running depression kicked in. My next marathon (Little Rock, Arkansas) is in only 6 weeks. I’m supposed to be running almost 40 miles a week right now, with long runs of 18 to 20 miles, but I can’t run one mile without pain.
So now I have to seriously consider a DNS (Did Not Start) and waste my nonrefundable airline ticket and race fee, or fly out there and face the pain and embarrassment of a DNF (Did Not Finish). I say embarrassment not because a DNF is inherently embarrassing (far from it – sometimes not finishing is the smartest thing you can do), but because it’s almost embarrassing at this point for me to even try. It’s one thing to miss a few training runs and generally run races undertrained, and another to be ridiculously unable to run and yet attempt a race anyway. I don’t want to be irresponsible, and I know I would never do anything that might cause lasting damage, but I also hate to miss a race, and I think I could walk it without any major problems. But I also don’t want to start being a marathon walker…
So, there’s my rocky road choice – ice cream or a Snickers bar. No, wait… the choice is to skip Little Rock or fly out there and maybe walk it. I know where I’m leaning now (walk it), but I won’t have to make any decisions until later in February. Since I’ll be travelling for the next three weeks, I’ll have a lot of time to think about it, a lot of time to do PT exercises and rest, and a lot of time to not run and eat chocolate.
If you’re wondering how that Rocky Road Snickers bar was, it was good. The marshmallow wasn’t too sweet and was much lighter in texture than the traditional nougat, the chocolate was dark instead of milk, and the nuts were almonds instead of peanuts. I love Snickers Almond, and I’ve been obsessed with marshmallow chocolates, so this was right up my alley. I was worried it would taste cheap or have that unpleasant artificial aftertaste some marshmallow chocolates have, but it didn’t. Overall it came together beautifully, and I’d definitely buy it again.
How’s your winter running coming along? Have you ever not used a non-refundable airline ticket? Do you have any magic spells to make knees not hurt? Share in the comments!