Saturday, December 10, 2005

Run, Interrupted

Today was supposed to be the first of two 20+ mile runs in preparation for the marathon. My first plan was to wear my GPS and try some different routes, but it was so cloudy out that I decided not to risk an uncertain signal. So I stayed close to home, which turned out to be for the best.

I started with a run to Memorial Park. Usually it's very crowded and tries my patience, so I figured I'd do it first, while I was still fresh. As it turned out, it wasn't crowded after all. In fact, there was reduced runner activity on all my usual routes, due to the 30K being held Sunday in Sugar Land. I've often thought about doing that race, but have never heard anything good about it, so I've always skipped it.

I enjoyed my two loops at Memorial, then decided to run up Memorial Drive to Chimney Rock and thus spare myself having to do two loops later at the bayou. Halfway into the park-to-Chimney Rock part of the run, a coyote came running out of an empty lot ahead of me, crossed the busy road (narrowly escaping getting run over) and disappeared into the yard of a fancy home. A few seconds later, it came back. Then it crossed the street yet again and this time I didn't see it any more.

It was puzzling and a little disconcerting. I've seen coyotes in the evening in the park, but never at 9 am crossing a busy street in a pricey neighborhood. I sure hope no one is leaving small pets outside!

The Chimney Rock portion of the run went well and once I was back inside the 610 loop, I stopped at the Memorial Park picnic loop (where the cyclists ride) to use the restroom. I noticed that a trail has been newly asphalted nearby and the roof of the restroom building has been extended. (It used to be a semi-open design.) Unfortunately none of the improvements have included supplying soap to the restrooms, which is probably just as well since no one has fixed the sink faucets either, so you can't wash your hands anyway.

That meant I had to stop at the Shell station later to wash up.

From there I did an out-and-back to the River Oaks country club. That was nice, but I was starting to hurt. Calves were crampy, hamstrings were tight-- we all know the drill, right? But just before I got back to the bayou trails where I would do my last four miles, my right knee tightened up without warning. It was the same problem I've had off and on since August, but this time there was no warning, no cramp in my hip and down the outside of my leg, just a sudden tightening and pain in the knee. So I walked when I had to and ran when I could until I got to the trails and the bench by the first water fountain. I stretched and massaged the area for a few minutes, then had some water and decided to see what would happen if I tried to continue. I did okay at first, but now the other knee, feeling ignored I suppose, started tightening up. So I stopped and rubbed it, too. Dammit. I ran okay again for maybe an eight of a mile before the right knee tightened again.

I stopped. I could keep stopping to stretch and massage and probably find a way to finish the planned route, but was that really wise? What was I trying to prove? Who was I proving it to? Was it worth the possible cost?

I swallowed my pride and walked home.

Tonight the knee feels fine for walking and standing with the weight distributed evenly between both feet, but when I move my weight all to one foot, the knee hurts in a crampy sort of way. I don't think this is a true injury that has to keep me from the marathon, but after a good 18 miler just two weeks ago, it's a big disappointment. I thought I'd made so much progress! You can bet I'm telling my physical therapists about this! Good thing I'm already being treated-- I'm sure they can fix me up if I can just give them all the right info, and we still have over a month to work with.

There's plenty of time, but I'm starting to get nervous about all this.

Recent Workouts
Thursday: 45 minute elliptical
Friday: Rest Day
Saturday: 18 mile run, cut short from 22

1 comment:

PuddyRat said...

Hmmmm...and you are getting this knee thing looked at exactly when? Sounds a lot like the way my knee behaved just before I was diagnosed with a torn meniscus. Don't be surprised if that happens to you as well.

At any rate, good luck with it all. Sounds like you had a great run in spite of the trouble. I sure hope the coyotes are more afraid of you than you are of them! I had one cross my path once. Scared the begesus out of me!