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Next Stop: Innsbruck 🇦🇹
Well... That was interesting. But first, a little backstory.
The pain started about two-and-a-half weeks before my first attempt at an ultramarathon. (After some friendly bullying/encouragement, I signed up for the 48-kilometer race in Innsbruck.)
I was at the end of a 14-kilometer speed workout when my right knee started to feel sore. By the end of the run, I was limping. I couldn’t so much as bend my knee without considerable pain.
Thirteen kilometers into that run, I was feeling as confident as ever about running my first ultramarathon in two-and-a-half weeks. It would suck, it would hurt, but I could do it.
My knee complicated things.
The injury was likely a common case of the aptly named runner’s knee, a plague that comes for most runners at some point in their lives. Honestly, I wasn’t angry it came for me in principle. I’ve fortunately had a pretty injury-free athletic career (knocks on all the wood). I was due. I’m merely enraged at the timing and the fact that although my training plan wasn’t perfect, I mostly did everything you’re supposed to do––a gentle increase of total weekly kilometers, strength training, stretching, and listening to your body.
There were no warning signs. Just strong legs until I was arbitrarily struck down by the chaotic gluttons of punishment that are the running gods.
I’ll spare you the daily details of my emergency plan to recover in time for the race. Just imagine a montage of me oscillating wildly between states of preoccupied despair and hyper-focused Googling and YouTubing for any and all runner’s knee remedies.
Let’s instead fast forward to just a few days before the race. My knee is pain-free. I feel the remnants of runner’s knee occasionally, but it’s not painful by any means. But the question loomed: Will that pain-free feeling last 46 kilometers over 2,000 meters of climbing and 3,000 meters of descent?
Watch the video to find out.