Well, doggone. Looks like I have myself a case of iliotibial band syndrome.
Last Monday, I did an 8-mile training run and had some knee stiffness and general soreness, but nothing remarkable. I iced, rested, took Ibuprofen, and felt better in two days, but stayed on the treadmill on Wednesday to soften the impact of my 2.5 mile recovery run. By Thursday, I did my usual 6-mile run in the park with Karsten, and on Friday, we ran another 6 miles along Belle Meade Boulevard. Then on Saturday morning, I did a 10-mile training run in the park, and have been experiencing pretty heavy knee pain ever since.
The symptoms are classic ITBS: lateral knee pain, some hip soreness, difficulty walking up and down hills and stairs but no difficulty walking on flat surfaces. I’ve been icing, resting, and taking Ibuprofen, and I’m feeling ready to get on an elliptical machine tomorrow morning, but I’ve also been doing my homework. I have some stretches I have to start doing religiously — at just about every possible opportunity. I found a seemingly reliable article on the web that recommends a strengthening exercise which I just tried and can feel that it should work over time. And I need to buy new shoes.
Oh, and I can’t run on Belle Meade Boulevard anymore. That same article makes a point about sloping roads — I noticed on Friday morning how uncomfortable my legs felt because of the slope toward the edge of the road, and I now suspect that that run had more to do with my current knee pain than my longer but flatter run on Saturday morning.
I’ve also made up my mind about the Chicago marathon: not this year. I’ve decided that I’ll run in the Park Forest Scenic 10, which is a 10 mile and 5K race in my hometown on Labor Day weekend. And then I’d like to run the half-marathon portion of the Country Music Marathon next April, and then by next October, I’ll be ready for Chicago. Hopefully, I’ll have also figured out some tricks to make my knees cooperate with the kind of mileage I’m trying to run.
We’ll see how the rest of this week goes: I’d been planning on running the Music Row 5K this Saturday, but even though it’s short, it’s a very hilly run and that could do me in. I’ve got my fingers crossed. I hear JoDee Messina is supposed to be running in it, and I thought it would be fun to chance seeing her there. But not at the risk of another several days of aching knees.