At the end of March I had a great ten-mile long run. I was up to 20 miles a week. Then I also stopped “eating nutritiously.” I think that’s what happened. Because since the New Year I was doing an assortment of squats, lunges, hip and calf raises, and leg swings before (almost) every run. My motivation slipped and I had a six mile week. Then it was the week before last when I had an eleven mile week when I noticed a “twinge” in my left leg near the knee. I have been so lucky to be mostly injury free in my years of running.

Here’s a recap: Near the end of one cross country season in high school I had “bad hip.” I never found out what was wrong then because I never really told anyone and I fought through it by icing every night until the season ended when I could rest. Let’s just say it hurt even while walking the halls in school. Then another time, if this counts, in high school one summer I tripped on the sidewalk. Both knees were so ripped up- I had to stop and take my shoes off to use my socks to sop up the blood. It hurt to bend my knees (i.e. going up stairs) and I remember could barely sleep at night. Then two weeks later I tripped again (on grass this time) and the cuts were reopened. This time around- the season had already started and powderpuff was underway so I had to run through it. I remember later in the season when a girl tripped on the sidewalk, too, and said to me, “Carmen, this really hurts. You said it didn’t.” Yes, I lied, it really does- who knew scraping knees on a sidewalk hurt so much more when you’re bigger! Six years later and you can still see a bit of the scarring.

My scarred knees; senior year of high school at powderpuff

Then last fall, I was really ridiculously ambitious and ran three half-marathons in 28 days. Brooksieway in September was a blast and I recovered smartly. Then two days before the Detroit International half-marathon I felt something amiss with my knees during an easy three mile shakeout. I tapered and I knew it had to be the shoes. I had gone too long without replacing my shoes (about a year!) and I knew better than that. I iced/stretched /prayed for a pain-free race. All was good until the night after the race. I had to sleep with pillows between my knees!

I rested that week before I had a weekend trip to Mackinac Island to complete the trio race series. The Great Turtle Half might be one of my favorite half-marathons and definitely my favorite of the three. I started the race pain-free but around mile eight my knees started bothering me. Actually, they only bothered me on the flat surfaces and the hills felt like a relief! Never thought I’d say that! I still finished just under two hours. I had one more 10k in early November and then I took the rest of the month and December completely off. That’s when I bought a foam roller incase that was the issue. And when I started running again in the New Year I added all these strengthening exercises to build up my glute muscles knowing that weak glutes and hips can hurt the knees.

These twinges are in a different spot than last fall. I texted a few friends in PT school. I described these twinges as “not a pain but a nuisance. Localized only to that spot. Not a shooting or stabbing but a dull bothersome point that doesn’t feel good but not close to being unbearable.” I sent a picture of the spot and both separately suggested an IT band issue.

My therabands came in from Amazon and at recommendations from friends I’ve been performing a series of exercises 2x a day for the last week. I’ve also been icing and stretching more than usual (I mean I’m terrible and never stretched, so it’s something). I haven’t ran more than three miles at most and only ran eight last week. During the first mile I feel the twinges and then it disappears. I don’t feel it during the day unless I’m sitting and cross my legs for too long (which I’ve been trying not to do!).

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I received an email, too saying they’ve reached my spot on the waitlist for the Bayshore half-marathon and while that’s dreamy, I’ve decided to pass.

Here’s my dilemma: I’m signed up for my 10th half-marathon this Saturday in Mount Clemens (Let’s Move Festival). I will be 100% OK taking it super easy, walking if I must and taking a full week or two to recover. Or should I withdraw completely, take the time off now to let these twinges pass? I would hate to participate and make it worse. I already plan to continue to rest for the rest of this week and see if that makes a difference come Saturday. I appreciate any input!

In other news, I went to Eastern Market on Saturday and I came across beets, turnips, and parsnips, which are ingredients in a recipe in the Run Fast Eat Slow Cookbook I have. Today I made Root Lovers’ Winter Salad (Page 84) with Apple Cider Vinaigrette (Page 173) and my mom grilled honey mustard chicken. All was delicious. Except it turns out I don’t care for turnips/parsnips. Not sure which one it was after it was cooked except it tasted like dirt.