Here are three colloquialisms: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. The third time is NOT a charm. I altered the third one, but all three phrases would be an appropriate way to describe the conclusion I reached last night.
This IT band injury isn't getting any better. It's tricky because three times now it has fooled me into believing I was ready to gradually ease back into running only to get me to a place where I felt optimistic and started to make a game plan before flaring right back up again. Once, it let me go an entire seven runs before coming back with a vengeance. This most recent go-round, I made it to the end of my third untimed, slow, easy trail run and with the car in sight, that familiar pain shot through the back and side of my knee. Despite the proximity of the vehicle, it was a long enough walk back for me to empty my curse word arsenal. It hurt the rest of the night.
I'm driving myself and my wife crazy trying to get better. I spend every minute that I am not at work doing some sort of stretch or strength exercise. I eat dinner with ice somewhere on my leg. I spend a lot of money and time on physical therapy, massages, acupuncture and doctor's visits. I take an epsom salt bath before bed. I sleep in very restrictive compression tights. I have taken time to cross-train. I have taken time to not train at all. Naproxen. Arnica. Topical NSAIDs. Cortisone. I'm a man obsessed. The result of nine weeks of this madness? A new full time job and my leg still hurts.
I had really hoped this week vacation at my parent's cottage would be a chance to redeem my summer. I love running here and always find clarity in doing so. The day after my sister's wedding, I logged 25 minutes on the trails along Keuka Lake. The next day, I got 30 minutes in along Seneca Lake. Yesterday, what started as a promising jog on the grassy athletic fields in North Rose ended in heartache.
But I suppose I did find some clarity. It's time to face reality. The status of my injury has hardly changed. Best case scenario: I can run 40 miles a week by August. That gives me the least amount of time possible to prepare for the race I want to run in Philadelphia in November. But, self-imposed time tables hanging over my head are probably working against me. So, I'm going to consider my entry fee into the Philly Marathon a generous donation to the race director. Instead of doing this on my schedule, we are going to do this on my IT band's schedule. Maybe it will decide it wants to play ball tomorrow. Maybe it needs a few more months. I'll continue to treat it aggressively and keep relatively in shape via less exciting and more stationary forms of exercise. This morning, I reeled in a 14 inch large mouthed bass. It's a start. I'll live vicariously through Lauren's training for the New York City Marathon, covering the marathon from a news perspective at work and by watching my teammates in local races.
Right now, I am going to go kayak around the bay and not think about my leg for the rest of the day.