It’s been about 3 weeks since I first hobbled back home from a easy 4 mile run with an aching knee. Yesterday I was able to run 8 miles with no discomfort (and no patella strap), and today I followed that run up with a 7 mile run with a bit of a fast finish. I plodded along for the first 4 miles before picking up the pace for a 7:14, 7:05, 6:57 last 3 miles. I wasn’t trying to get any type of a workout in, but I did want to see how my knee would respond to asking a bit more of it than shuffling along at 8:30 pace. So far so good, but the real tests will come first with my easy run tomorrow, and an actual workout later in the week.
Assuming both those runs go well, it will be time to start half marathon training. I haven’t raced a half marathon since my disastrous 1:18:27 at the Dutchess County Classic in 2015. I have 2 planned this year, the first is the Gate City Half Marathon in May, the second will be the CHaD Half Marathon in October, both are part of the New Hampshire Grand Prix Series. I’ll be running in the series with the Greater Derry Track Club. I have not abandoned my USATF team, so I’ll also running in the New England Grand Prix with the Central Mass Striders as well. It is shaping up to be a busy year of racing.
Aside from all that series racing, I will be attempting to continue my 10 year streak of winning at least one race a year. The streak started back in February 2009 with the Polar CAT 5k at Mendon Ponds. It is a bit of a dubious streak to worry about, because it has less to do with the kind of shape I’m in, and more to do with who happens to show up at the races I do. Still, I’ll feel better once I get the first win of the year out of the way.
I’m slowly nursing my right knee back to health. It is giving me no pain just walking around, but I’ve had to wear a patella strap under the knee cap to be able to run. At first I could only run a mile before I had to take off the strap and rest it for a few minutes. I’ve built up to being able to run 50 minutes before it starts tightening up, and yesterday I even managed to do some strides without the strap at the end of the run.
When I don’t wear the strap I get pain/tightness under my knee cap, but when I do wear my knee cap I get soreness on the inside of my knee where the strap cross the bone. I think that pain is entirely related to the strap and not the tendon. I’m going to keep doing easy runs with strides until I can ditch the strap. Hopefully by March I’ll be ready to start hitting some good workouts again, and be ready for the spring racing season.
“The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.”
Over the years I’ve come to believe that most running injuries do not really require any specific treatment. Most of the things we do: icing, stretching, cross training, building core strength (everything is a muscle imbalance it seems), massage, are really just keeping us busy while the injury heals. I’m doing a bit of foam rolling before runs, but other than that I’m just running as much as I can without pain and trying to get on with my life.
Last weekend was my second race of the year, the Boston Prep 5 Miler. This is an add on race for the Boston Prep 16 Miler. Everyone starts at the same time, then about 1 mile in the 5 milers go left and the 16 milers go right. Just before the split I was in 8th place, but all but 1 of the runners in front of me turned right, leaving me momentary in 2nd place.
I did my best to fight off 2 runners (pictured above) who were right on my shoulder for the next few miles, but about 3 miles in they both pushed pass me. I was feeling pretty gassed by that point, as most of the race had been uphill, but I realized too late that the last 2 miles of the race where downhill, and I should have gone with them. They held the 20 second or so gap they opened up for the rest of the race, and even a finishing 5:20 mile wasn’t even enough to make up any ground and I probably lost a few seconds to #59.
It is worth having some knowledge of a course before you race it, but even going in blind I was able to run my best 5 mile in almost 4 years. I finished in 4th place (first 40+) in 28:20.
Now for the bad result. I felt good during my cool down. I shuffled around for a few miles before grabbing some post race food and heading home. I woke up the next morning feeling fine, and went for my morning run at 6:30 am. By 6:40 I was feeling some tightness in my patella tendon. By 6:45 it was hurting. I should have just walked home at that point, but instead I stretched and went for another 15 minutes. I knew by the end of that 4 miles I had screwed up. I took Tuesday off, then on Wednesday I did a mile on the treadmill and 10 minutes on a recumbent bike. I then got back on the treadmill to do another mile, but cut it short after a 1/2 mile when my patella tendon tightened up again.
I decided to shut it down for a few more days, and will give it another shot on Saturday. I really was in need of sometime off anyway, since the last time I took off was last March when I hurt my back. If it isn’t cleared up on Saturday I’ll have to make an appointment with my active release guy.
In the meantime I’m enjoying some Dragon’s Mile Stout, which is delicious and I highly recommend you try some. Warning, it has a bit of a bite.
After years as a camper, counselor , program director, and cook at Camp WA WA Segowea, I’m now serving as a board member of Smith Park of New York, the organization that runs Camp Segowea and owns the property it is located on. Camp WA WA Segowea has been a treasured sleep-away camp for thousands of children for the past 90 years. Smith Park is devoted to the preservation and operation of Camp WA WA Segowea, the protection of its natural surroundings and historical integrity, and the continuation of traditional resident camping that improves the spiritual, mental, social, and physical attributes of young people in a supportive community. Campership dollars alone are not enough to sustain the many 90+ year old American Chestnut buildings and other facilities. We rely on support from camp alumni, and others interested in making the transformative experience of attending Camp Segowea accessible to future generations of children. This years major projects include repairing the roofs and floors on cabin row, replacing kitchen equipment, replacing rowboats, and more.
I’m asking you to join me in making a contribution to our annual campaign. Our goal this year is to raise $25,000 from people who love Camp Segowea and want to ensure its continued success. Your generous donation will be added to the $3000 already donated by all members of the Smith Park Board.
Smith Park of New York
PO Box 4994
Poughkeepsie, NY 12602
Please email, call or text (512-590-2667) me with any questions about Smith Park or Camp Segowea. I would love to tell you more about what is happening at Camp Segowea, and the work we are doing to help sustain it.