I don't think that I am a very compassionate person. During my basketball and lacrosse days, and now with my running, I've always been one to roll my eyes when I hear others complain about pulled muscles or stretched tendons. I guess I've been really lucky to stay injury-free (knock on wood). And if something does start to hurt, I just keep on going and eventually it goes away. However, I'm quickly learning that training for a marathon is a little tougher on the body than I expected it to be, and this morning I found myself Googling "knees, running, pain, help."
After a five-mile run on Tuesday morning, my knees started bothering me. Nothing bad, just kind of a dull ache. Later that night, Chad and I went to Buffalo Wild Wings with some friends to celebrate Fat Tuesday. When we went to leave, it was pouring outside. We decided to run to the car, and I was surprised to see that my knees really started to hurt when I picked up the pace, so I was reduced to a slow, kind of limping, shuffle. This morning I was back at the gym for another 5 miles and the knees started killing me at mile 2. I talked with my marathon buddy at the gym and he told me that he and his wife take over-the-counter joint supplements for knee pain. I am definitely going to get some of those. I've also heard that icing the knees right after a run will help with inflammation and recovery time. So, at 6:15am I was sitting on the edge of our bathtub with my feet on the toilet, and a pack of frozen corn on one knee and frozen hash browns on the other.
A part of me kind of likes the pain. Just like I love being sore. It reminds me that I've done something, that I've pushed my body because I can. This is also why I run...because I can. I think that I love the running community and the personal scheduling almost as much as I love the actual physical running. This is probably why I have painstakingly planned out my runs through December 2008 in a color-coded Excel spreadsheet. And probably why I spend my lunch breaks poring over the RunnersWorld.com discussions boards, looking for new tips and info. And probably why I blog about it so much. It's just this passion I've developed - a once mindless hobby that has become so much more. I desperately want to be part of the group of people that can say, "I've run 26.2 miles."
And there is nothing that can stop me from reaching my goal, except myself. So it's a fine line for me with this knee thing. I don't want to stop, for fear of never starting back. But I also don't want to risk damaging something and dashing my marathon dreams. Until then, I'll stay iced up with the frozen vegetables.