It's March 2nd and I'm suffering through another bout of ITB tendinitis after a painful run last weekend. I felt fine for the first 3-4 miles of the run, then a little pain in my knee. I slowed down due to the pain and it didn't really bother me so I didn't think much of it. I was alone at the third water stop (at 7.5 miles) and I stopped to stretch a bit and as soon as I started running again I felt a strong and familiar pain in my left knee; the ITB tendinitis was back. This was similar to the previous week when I had a similar pain after stopping briefly to stretch at 15 miles into the run. I was preparing myself for the push to an 18 mile day and now I was stuck 7.5 miles from my car.
A car pulled up and a fellow asked if I was hurt (I was) and wanted a lift back to my car. I almost took it but I knew that Heather and Errol were still out on the route and I didn't want to disappear. I told him I was OK and started walking back to see if things would loosen up. Heather caught up soon and we exchanged phone numbers so I could call if needed. Since my walk might be long I popped into a Dunkin' Donuts for a hot cocoa and kept walking. Errol caught up with me and we chatted a bit then he took off. The walk to the fire station at the corner of Washington St and Comm Ave went slowly and a little painfully, but at times my knee felt OK.
On Comm Ave I started doing a walk/run combo, eventually running up to 15 minutes at a time with a 5 minute walk in between. The uphills were the easiest, I ran all three major hills up to BC. The downhill was much more difficult and painful, and I ended up walking most of the way down Lake Street before running the last half mile to CRI where I met up with Errol and Heather. My knee wasn't screaming in pain, but I could certainly feel the familiar sensation of an inflamed ITB.
At home I stretched and used my foam roller, which didn't offer any immediate relief but at least made me feel like I was doing something. My brother suggested a cold water soak, and I lasted all of about 1 minute in the tub. Maybe the water was too cold, maybe I'm a wimp. Either way, it was certainly invigorating. I kept ice on the knee for much of the afternoon, took some vitamin I, and rested.
So, here I am, 7 weeks from the marathon and I haven't run more than 16 miles. I'm disappointed, frustrated, but still hopeful. I know that rest is the most important thing for me, not pushing myself through painful miles that will leave me limping and useless. I will be adjusting my pace and trying to avoid stopping during long runs, which seems to be a trigger. The foam roller is my friend, and I just picked up an ITB compression band which I'll try out on shorter runs. Walking eventually allowed the knee to loosen up and I was able to run on it, at least for some distance after the problem showed up. I know that if it happens during the marathon I have options besides just stopping, and that makes me feel positive. I also know that I'm fit enough to make it 26 miles if I have no relapse of the injury. So, I have my work cut out for me and that is to arrive at the starting line uninjured and in the right state of mind. After that, who knows what will happen but I'm going to be at the start line no matter what.