The journey to running a marathon has not been an easy one to say the least. In fact, after my half-marathon in 2011 I was worried that my running days were over. I took about a month off from running after that race and upon my return, about two miles in, my knee hurt so bad, I had to stop my run and limp home. It was a terribly defeating moment.
But months prior, I almost gave up on the goal of even running the half marathon.
I remember exactly where I was. I was in Springfield, Missouri, one a work trip. It was a Saturday and I needed to get in a six-mile run. I went down to the hotel gym and hopped on the treadmill. I put SportsCenter on the television and started running. I felt great. My legs felt great. I knew that I was going to be able to pull off the half-marathon feat.
But sometime between five and six miles my right knee started screaming at me. Not a ‘I’m tired’ scream. No. It was a ‘get the hell off me or you’re going to regret it,’ scream. So I did. And somehow I limped up to my room. And I was scared.
I worked all day on my feet and then, perhaps stupidly, played tennis for about two hours that evening, but I was not moving well at all. My knee hurt. All the while, my mind ran wild with what could be wrong. ACL. MCL. Cartilage. Old age.
Immediately upon returning home, I got an appointment with a sports physician. The next four weeks were quite emotional as I went back a few times a week while we tried to work out my leg. I was diagnosed with the fear of all runners: IT Band Syndrome.
It took weeks of physical therapy, stretching and treatments, but eventually my IT Band began to relax. And I was able to get back on the road. Running towards 13.1.