*Sigh.* So remember those sharp pains that shot through my knee at the end of the Barr Trail Mountain Race? Yyeeaahhhh. . . Turns out those stuck around a little longer than those few steps just before the finish line.

At run club on Monday night – the day after the race – I had delusions of grandeur that I was easily going to run seven miles. What made me suddenly think I was Superwoman, I have no idea. All I do know is that the first quarter mile or so of the four and a half miles I managed again included a most uninvited visit from those less than joyful bursts of ‘ouch’ in my right knee.

I’d rather deal with some drunk a-hole delivering lame pickup lines at a skeezy, stank-ridden bar. Just sayin’.

After I clocked in at four and a half miles, I called Ryan, my trainer, to get confirmation on what I later reflected on as a bit fat “DUH!”: Stop running – don’t worry about hitting seven miles today. Better yet, after what I had put my legs through the day before, I should have taken the day off entirely.

I’ll take Tuesday off then hit the trails on Wednesday instead. Good idea in theory, but the running gods had another fate in mind for me. Ryan confirmed that there was no swelling nor other signs of injury. According to his diagnosis, I just needed a little more time away from running.

Wednesday morning. . . Not much had changed. OK, maybe one more day off won’t hurt. I’ll run a few extra miles later this week. Wednesday night. . . My right leg started to swell just above the knee. *Sigh.*

Thursday. . . Ryan delivered my typical weekly arse-kickin’ at the gym first thing in the morning. Only this time, there were no pushups, no climbing wall, no boxing mitts, none of the fun stuff. Rather, there was a tennis ball, deep breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth as if enduring labor pains, and finally a big bag of ice.

I quickly found myself frustrated and made a mountain out of the mole hill of a training glitch that was merely a near injury – not even an actual injury. Injury or not, the timing couldn’t be worse – I was supposed to be smack in the middle of the most intense part of my marathon training.

There was no pool running, no biking, no cross training of which I was perfectly capable. Rather, I sat on my butt and did nothing. . .except sulked.

Friday. . . Got in to see my massage therapist and endured the most painful hour and fifteen minutes of my life. “You doing OK?” “Yeah.” “You might have some bruising.” “That’s all right. Do whatever you gotta do to get me running again.”

Whenever I go in for a massage, John Cougar Mellencamp’s ‘Hurts So Good’ always comes to mind. And, shortly after that, I want to punch John Cougar Mellencamp straight in the junk.

Bet that doesn't hurt so good, does it?!

Bet that doesn’t hurt so good, does it?!

There was no pool running, no biking, no cross training of which I was perfectly capable. Rather, I sat on my butt, did nothing. Sulked. Again.

Saturday. . . No excuses. Get off your lazy duff and do something! I left the house – an hour later than originally planned – to carry out the training I had planned for the day at Herman Gulch. Rather than run, though, I power hiked the few miles to the lake – absolutely NOT a trail run but still definitely capable of an increased heart rate.

And, the view from the top was still just as gorgeous:



Even though I took it easy on the way back down, I still had a sharp, shooting pain or two through my knee at two points. They were enough to stop me in my tracks to cradle my knee with both hands, then step to the side of the trail and allow others to pass while I took five. This had better not cost me my PR.


Melissa Mincic, Ph.D., a long-time road and trail runner, conducts applied child development research and works to influence child development policy and practice at the University of Denver. Follow Melissa on Twitter at @nerdinrunshoes.

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