I think we’re done here

So remember when I limped my way through the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon and then said “Hey! I finished! I’ll keep on marathon training!”

Um … really?


After writing that post, I did a lot of reflecting, and talking to my husband, my mom, my BFF coach and voice of reason on injuries, my BRF, Kim, my DetermiNation staff partner. And I admitted to them that maybe this marathon idea isn’t so smart.

I’ve been struggling with my knee since April. It is now July. Despite sports massage, foam rolling, yoga, and running the bare minimum mileage (I have yet to peak 20 mpw and the marathon is fewer than 80 days away), my knee isn’t getting better. In fact, I think it’s getting worse. Makes sense, my long runs are getting longer.

And it’s not going to magically get better. I’m not going to get out there on the Lakefront Trail this weekend and find that my scheduled 7 mile run (cutback week) is pain free. It’s not going to happen.

I ran to catch the bus Wednesday morning (three days after the RnR Half), and my knee felt funky. Maybe it was the bag slung over my body, or the fact that I was wearing a dress, but I was wearing actual running shoes. One block and my knee is like “um, can you not?”

When I went to Athletico for my injury screening in June, they suggested I try sports massage, and if that doesn’t work, to see a doctor. So, three massages later, that’s what I’m doing. Of course the earliest I can get an appointment scheduled is August 22 (HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME).

At this point, what does it matter? The marathon is not going to happen for me this year. I could see a doctor tomorrow, but the bottom line is, my knee is jacked, something needs to happen to improve it, and I doubt the second half of a marathon training plan is the answer.

As for my fundraising, I talked to the ACS, and I can switch to another event. They have a team at the Chicago Half, which has a 5K option, and I’m pretty certain that’s the event I’ll do.

Otherwise, you could say that running and I are “on a break.”   (If doing the occasional 5K counts as “on a break” … it does, I can walk a 5K.) I’m already feeling a bit bitter and comforting myself with beer and ice cream, but if I start leaving snarky comments on your blogs and Facebook posts about running, I apologize.

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26 Comments on “I think we’re done here”

  1. 🙁

    I’m so sorry to hear that the emo knee is not letting up with its wailing and whining. I hope that the break will help with that, even though it sucks that you even have to take a break in the first place.

  2. I’m really sorry. I was so excited for you, and I was really hoping that your knee would accept the facts of life and come around. But I’m with you, it seems like it’s for the best. And maybe it will heal in the next two months and you’ll have a killer 5k PR this fall..

  3. That sucks. Probably a wise decision to make the call now to not run the marathon instead of aggravating the “emo knee” further. This is a complete wild-ass-guess but you wrote that you ran to the bus in running shoes, and your knee hurt, so maybe your shoes are at least partially to blame? When I was not running at all (due to ankle injury), I would do strength training/stairs in a somewhat new pair of running shoes. My injury was never getting better despite the fact that I wasn’t running at all, which made no sense. I finally figured out that the problem might be that the shoes I was working out in were ill-fitting. So I switched to an older pair of shoes that I never had problems with and presto, a week or two later, my ankle started feeling a lot better. Even doing light workouts in wrong shoes aggravated my injury. Just a thought and completely anecdotal, so your results may vary. I hate that so many of my running blogger friends aren’t running now. Hope your knee calms down soon! 🙂

    1. The shoes I was wearing then were a different pair than what I’ve been running in lately. Usually when my shoes are done, I feel fatigue in both shins.

  4. That is a bummer but that’s great that ACS said you can transfer your fundraising to another event. And the marathon will still be there next year and the year after that and the year after that.

    I don’t know what doc you called but maybe Chicago Primary Care Sports Medicine could get you in sooner? Their website is: http://www.chicagosportsdoctors.com/ That’s who I was seeing back in 2011 and they were good.

      1. Some people in the Oak Park Runners Club also SWEAR by Terry Nicola at UIC. He’s a bit of a strange bird but he did send me to the best PT I ever saw. Seeing Dr. Nicola, though, requires patience and a lot of note taking.

  5. (Advance apologies for the novel of a comment)

    I’m so sorry to hear this, Maggie 🙁 Having battled more than my fair share of injuries this marathon season, I am far, far too familiar with the frustrations that come from your body not doing what you want it to do, the concerns that you’re falling irreparably behind in marathon training, and the fear about what to do in regards to fundraising if you do decide to sit out the race. It’s an enormous mental challenge, and I think your bitterness is completely justified.

    Have you tried to possibly get into another doctor? My PFPS didn’t go away after one week and two PT appointments (uh, duh), so my PT wanted me to go to my sports doc to officially diagnose me (or, I suppose, possibly diagnose me with something else, but since I match basically every symptom of PFPS and no other symptoms of other knee issues, I’d be surprised if it turned out to be something else) and, I imagine, give me an additional PT script, as my current one runs out next week (and was for my foot anyway). Granted, I’m already a patient there, but they were able to get me in next Wednesday, and the receptionist rattled off like four or five available appointment times on that day alone. If you’re able to get into a doctor and get a PT script, there are still over 2 months until the marathon. It would depend on your goals for the marathon–just doing the race (which is where I am) vs. doing it well–but in my experience, PTs and sports docs usually have one goal, and that’s doing absolutely everything they can to get you to your race. DNS-ing is almost always the last resort (depending on the extent of your injury).

    Of course, if you were hoping for a kickass race or nothing at all, then yeah, this year’s marathon probably isn’t in the cards for you. But if you just want to *do* the race — I mean, last year I started having hip flexor pain a month and a day before the marathon, strained it for sure on the 20 miler, got into a sports doc and PT ASAP, and I still did the race. Granted, a hip strain isn’t the same as a knee injury, and I had essentially finished marathon training by the time I got hurt (since taper is just maintenance, not training), but I still got to be on the course on marathon day, I still got to experience the excitement, and I still got my marathon. And, if completion is your goal, there’s no shame in run/walking if you’re capable of doing that.

    But, if after a doctor’s appointment/PT, your medical team doesn’t think it’s in your best interest to run: there will always be another marathon. There won’t be another knee (well, unless you got it replaced, but that may not be the most cost effective approach 😉 ). You have to take care of your body first and foremost. Thinking about you, Maggie!

    1. Also, to go off Erin’s doctor suggestion: cannot recommend Chicago Primary Care Sports Medicine enough. Dr. Brown is a runner (she’s even on the CARA board), so she gets it. I’ve also never had trouble getting an appointment there within less than a week.

      1. Good to know! I submitted an appointment request through their website, and my boss would probably be fine with me ducking out for an hour if they only have daytime appointments in the near future.

    2. Thanks! 🙂 I had already resigned myself to the goal of just finishing, so I don’t care about my time. At this point, I want to see what a professional thinks in regards to running. I also wonder if I shouldn’t be doing certain other things – like cycling, or even yoga can put a lot of weight on one knee, and even foam rolling has me worried because what if it is a stress fracture and I’ve basically been beating the hell out of that part of my body?? So we’ll see what whatever doc I end up seeing says. But this whole process has kind of taken the joy out of running as well, unfortunately.

  6. Ugh, that sucks, but you’re definitely being smart about this. My friend (and your birthday buddy, Jessie – she’ll be there on Sunday) had to drop out of her marathon in May for the same reason and was able to switch her fundraising to Chicago, so it’s definitely cool that they have that as an option.

    Hey and I spent my birthday getting my free injury screening at Athletico. It’s just what you do in your 30’s, I guess.

  7. Girl, I have totally been there. I know it’s super frustrating, but it sounds like you’re making the smart decision. I’m actually in PT right now for an “emo hip” so I may be in the same boat as you if this doesn’t heal. But it’s also cool that the fundraising aspect won’t be lost entirely, so I am glad that will still work out.

    I know you don’t need yet another vote for the Chicago Primary Care Sports group, but I have seen both Dr. Natarajan and Dr. Brown. Dr. N is now some big-wig so he is rarely available for appointments, but Dr. Brown is awesome. I’ve seen them both for stress fractures and a piriformis strain. Good luck!

  8. dammit dammit dammit!

    I am sorry your knee is being an asshole. but I am way impressed with how smart you are being. it’s HARD to step back and say, I need to stop. I hope you find some answers!!

  9. So sorry that you had to make that decision. But I totally respect it! I hope that emo knee cuts it out! you don’t have time for that nonsense!

  10. I’m so sorry to hear your knee isn’t any better. You are making the right choice! If you decided to train and run the marathon you might really end up hurting yourself. Now is a great time to fall in love with a different type of exercise. It’s easy to think that running is everything, but there are so many more activities you might really enjoy. Hoping for a speedy recovery!

  11. I am so sorry to hear this. Just yesterday I was complaining to Coach Sara about my bad run and blah, blah, blah. I was so ready to NOT run the marathon anymore. Until I read your post. From now on I will just shut up and not complain anymore. 🙂

  12. As you know, I think this is a smart decision to make. Why keep running and potentially make the knee hurt more! I hope the doc you see in August has some insight (if you don’t end up getting an earlier appt)!

    1. I was able to get an appointment this Thursday with the doc that Erin, Declan and Bethany recommended. Glad I don’t have to wait until late August for some answers!

  13. I know how tough of a decision this was for you to make, but I really do think it’s the right one. I’ve definitely learned the hard way that it’s best not to push an injury too much (I ended up being sidelined from running altogether for four months). The Chicago Marathon will always be there when the time is right. Take all the time you need to rest up and heal that knee. I hope your appointment with the doc goes well tomorrow!!!

  14. So so so sorry to hear this 🙁 It must’ve been an incredibly tough decision but it’s ultimately the right one, no doubt. Health comes first and it’s better to fix the issue now than progressively worsen it. There will always be other races and other marathons. Best of luck on your speedy recovery!

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