Mid-season knee injury puts a crimp in marathon training

Runners dread injuries, and not just because they hurt. We can be filled with forebodings over the prospect of being laid-up for a stretch – especially during race season. You might say the mere thought makes us weak in the knees.

I wish I had a better story, but this is what happened.

Tripping over a hose left on my own front stoop, I smashed one knee on the concrete before crashing straight-on into the plate-glass storm door. Thank God the glass didn’t break. This could have been a very different story.

My first thought, as I sat on the porch hugging my sore knee, was that my race season and marathon training plan were going to fall flat. Then I started feeling shaky and queasy, as I saw my knee double in size almost instantly. 

I stumbled to my feet, wondering if my hassled hinge would hold.

Every runner knows other runners who have suffered knee injuries that ended their running careers. All too many have struggled through such ordeals personally. I dreaded that possibility.

Ah! I was able to put weight on that leg. I could walk. But as the swelling increased, my ability to walk and bend and articulate that leg diminished. The thing began looking monstrous.

My other half said, “Looks like you broke your kneecap,” before suggesting I go to the emergency room. He declined to go with me. (Don’t get me started on that.)

I drove myself to the ER, where I remained for nearly four hours. Finally, the x-ray report came back, along with the medical staff. Nothing was broken. Nothing was torn through. But the muscles and tendons were strained and angry. And the whole knee neighborhood was turning Technicolor.

They gave me a knee brace/compression thing to wear for a while, along with instructions to keep it iced, elevated, and idle for some time.

Did I mention I am slated to run as a race ambassador for a half marathon in five days?

Here’s a quick aside:

A few years ago, after breaking several bones in an equestrian accident, I had a bone density scan. (This is a really good idea for anyone over 40-something.) Some bone loss was evident, and the doctor recommended an increase in weight-bearing exercise. Soon after that, I started running. I’d be willing to bet that’s a big reason I didn’t break anything in this recent tumble.

That and a big measure of God’s grace, because I was anything but graceful.

Adapted by this user from public domain artwork

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