Saturday, November 10, 2007

Up the side of but not over the final ridge

ORN: 17.7 miles, 3:17:57, R3/W1, 11:10/mile

After last Saturday’s post on the simple 5K race I had run and my plans for a 28 mile run today,
David commented “If you can knock out the 28 miler without crumbling you'll be golden.” I appreciated his encouragement.

Unfortunately, however, I crumbled.

On an absolutely perfect day for running, I set out at 7:30am to do 28. No wind, temps in the low 30s, rising to the mid 40s by mid day, blue sunny sky, absolutely invigorating. The run was going wonderfully, just wonderfully. It was a joy to be outside, knocking off the miles. The hydration worked, taking a half of a Clif Shot Blok every 30 minutes or so seemed about right (thanks, David, for telling me to switch to the margarita flavor) and it was just a matter of getting the miles in. Everything felt fine, I was really enjoying it.

Then, in the matter of about a half mile, the wheels came off the wagon.

In the 18th mile of the run, I noticed a small, worrying twinge on the outside of my left knee. Surely not, that can’t be, no, it’s not there, it will go away, switch the camber on the path to take the pressure off. Didn’t work. In a very short while, the left knee basically seized up and refused to run. I dialed back to a 2/1 run/walk ratio…no dice. The ITB obviously flared up. I knew the feeling, exactly, from the hassle I had with my right ITB last fall and winter. Same thing, other side. Oh my.

The only option was to walk back home, about 2.5 miles from the spot I was when it packed up. Walking was fine and it gave me time to analyze the whole thing (you are surprised I would be analytical??!!), planning the next actions.

My chief suspect on this one is old shoes. I bought a new pair of Brooks Beast a couple weeks ago, as I knew my prior pair was aging out, having logged about 360 miles so far. With my 6’1”, 195 lb, far-from-dainty frame slamming shoes with every step, I have learned from experience 350 miles is around the time I no longer get the support I need. But, frugal Joe just wanted to get one more long run out of the old pair before switching over for the run up to the
Rocket City Marathon. Looking at the soles of the shoes, particularly the left shoe, I could see that I was getting more over pronation than is wise. The ability of even this big honking shoe to control my inward foot roll just breaks down with use. Old shoes and lack of motion control were the culprits a year ago…I strongly suspect the same thing here.

This pair thus moved to my “mow the lawn” pile.

Unlike (very unlike) my attitude about this a year ago, however, today’s event was really not a big deal. It happened. It is fixable. It is only some inflammation. Ice. Ibuprofin. Foam roller. Switch to the new shoes. Unlike
Ryan Shay's family, I came home and could talk about with them. In fact, I could really identify with the transformation David in Nashville described recently.

This probably does affect my time goal at Rocket City, now just four weeks away. I won’t have the chance between now and then to truly test the ITB and know how it will hold up. I probably won’t settle on a goal until close to the gun going off. And that’s OK. On the long hike to the marathon, I won’t crest this final ridge. I’ll double back, find a low-mileage pass and get there anyway.



Backofpack said...

Well, I'm glad you figured out the cause. I'm sure you'll recover nicely and do well at the marathon. You've got the mileage, you've got the experience, and you've got the smarts. You'll be great!

Sarah said...

Sorry about your ITB acting up! You were so smart to stop when you did. And hopefully its feeling a lot better now as a result. I probably would have kept going and paid for it. You still have time to get in another long run. But if not, I think you definitely have the training and experience to pull this one out!

robtherunner said...

I often try to sneak in one more long run in my shoes as well. Sorry to hear that it did not work out, but like you said, it is fixable. I hope the pain does not continue.

Darrell said...

Oh no! That's a pretty fine line between feeling good and disaster. Sounds like analytical Joe has it figured out. I sure hope so.

I know your heart and head are in the rigth place. You are one of a few people I know who will put the credit and focus where if belongs.

Thanks to David for sharing Ryan Hall's inspiring story.

David said...

I think you nailed it - the shoes.

You're in good shape. Do some maintenance runs for the next two week, taper fro two weeks and go race like you mean it.

WADDLER26.2 said...

So sorry about the ITB pain. You have donw a great job analyzing and settting a plan of action. take it easy and taper alittle early then you'll be fine.

Wes said...

Crap! I was going through the same thing last week when my knee started bothering me. I hope yours clears up as quickly and simply as mine did!

Persevere, Joe :-)

Tiggs said...

Joe- if someone in your area does active release technique, you can try that. It has worked wonders for my ITB and is an active treatment- no downtime from running.

Lana said...

Ouch...I've been nursing ITBS too...with lots of stretching I've managed to keep it somewhat intact.

28 miles is a monster!!!

Karen said...

Oh no, Joe..... hang in there. We'll watch for more analysis.