Reality Check

Yesterday was Friday, and it was the last hard workout of the last hard week before staring to taper. Am I pumped? You betcha!

So what happens?

My leg falls off of course.

Halfway through the workout, my left knee decides it doesn’t want to bend anymore (at least not without the accompanying sensation of a knife stabbing into it). Yeah, I’m freaking out. Jogging is fine, but fast running is very very bad.

Experience tells me to calm down, ditch the workout, jog home, and get it loosened up pronto. So I’m jogging home and on the final stretch even jogging becomes a major problem. So I’m walking the final 200 meters to my house and even walking gets complicated. My knee simply doesn’t want to bend, like its not getting the signal, and when I consciously make it bend, it hurts (like wow hurts).

I’m on the verge of panicking and my mind is racing.

What the hell have I done? Where did this come from? I’ve never felt something this sharp and quick before, and there was no warning! I think I want to panic now. Why am I not panicking right now?

Totally weird thing happened: the panic never surfaced completely. Something told me it was just a freak thing–probably a pinched nerve, or something out of alignment. The pain was temper-tantrum-worthy for sure, but the problem wasn’t. It couldn’t be. Right?

As I fairly calmly dragged my rod-straight left leg up the stairs to my house, I actually started laughing out loud at the image of how a 22-year-old me would have reacted to this situation (thrashing around on my bed, inconsolably bemoaning the end of my running career). I decided to try to hang on to logic as long as possible, and logic told me to call Jack Magic.

Jack got me in for a massage within a half hour (life saver that he is) and calmly listened to me explain my symptoms. I know I had a crazy look in my eye, but Jack’s pulse didn’t so much as quicken for a second. He methodically worked through the potential problem areas and within an hour I could walk again. All that remained was a little bit of instability and tightness in my lower back: nothing a day or two off couldn’t fix. Looks like I’d be going into my taper hard. 🙂

The Edge

During my day off today, I started thinking about just how dangerous this place is in marathon training: the edge between the build and the taper.

For seven weeks I’ve been filling and filling and filling a water balloon without any problems, and suddenly I see that the skin of that balloon is stretched dangerously thin.

Now here I am carrying this swollen balloon towards the promised land of the taper, aware that the slightest bump from the dullest branch can irreparably rupture what it would have taken a machete to pop five weeks ago.

Yikes!

Big time yikes.

After taking today off and feeling better, I could probably do my normal Sunday run and be fine, but there is no way in hell I’m running tomorrow! Instead, my balloon and I are going to spend the day on my cushy sofa watching movies. I’m going to whip out some duct tape to reinforce the skin and let a little water out. Then I’ll feel a little safer carrying the water balloon the rest of the way to New York City, starting Monday.