So I’ve got a little niggle somewhere around my left knee.  I say somewhere because it’s not a consistent thing.  It showed up two weeks ago after a spectacular 25 mile long run.  I ended up doing too much (i.e. lunges) the day after and my knee just felt weak.  The tendon/ligament/muscle/whatever just inside the knee was sore and while it didn’t cause me much pain, it was definitely a discomfort.  I haven’t been too worried about it as it hasn’t gotten worse though I did cut back two of my runs since to rest it.  I’ve also tried various combinations of knee brace, extra sleep, strengthening exercises, elevation, and prayer to mixed success.

The soreness has been on the move and I’ve noticed it behind the knee, top of my calf, and also the bottom of my hamstring.  In all cases, it hasn’t gotten worse even during my runs which is how I classify injuries and niggles.  If it doesn’t get worse as I train, then it’s no big deal and I’ll just keep managing along.  If it does get worse as I exercise, then it’s an injury and I’ll head to the doctor’s to get a professional opinion.  I typically get one of these little niggles each training cycle though they usually don’t show up until I’m mostly through with my taper.  So I was a little surprised when this one showed up a couple weeks early.  Oh, well.  It just gave me a couple extra weeks to fix it before race day.

Two weeks out from races has always given me problems as far as mileage goes.  I’m a week past peak mileage, however I’m never sure exactly how much I should cut back.  Do I drop 10-15% off my longest run?  Half?  Somewhere in between?  With my longest training runs typically 30-31 miles, I’ve settled on a 10+2 workout or 10 miles + 2 hours hiking.  This way I get a decent amount of miles and time on my feet, but at a lower intensity level.  Well, I tweaked this formula a bit this morning and did straight up 10+10 (both miles).

I did the same 10 mile course over at Cheslen as each of the past 2 weekends, which gave my workout a little context.  I had been able to manage first lap paces of 9min59sec and 10min15sec during my 25 and 31 mile runs.  Since I was only running 10 today, I figured I would be faster however wasn’t sure how much so.  My knee “issue” was also a factor so I decided to go extra easy and not push things.  Time was not something I cared about too much and felt this was the right balance between getting my mileage in while not risking an injury.

Sigh.  Sometimes I’m much better at planning out these runs than executing them.  My first mile clocked in mid-8s.  Yikes.  I tried to ease back a bit and still managed another sub-9 minute mile.  Oh, well.  My knee was feeling good so I just went with the flow.  I ended up overall for the run workout with a 9min20sec pace.  And my knee felt wonderful the entire time.  There was only two or three strides where my knee felt a little weak, however the twinge was there and gone before I knew it.

I dropped my bottle off at my car, threw on my sunglasses, and off I went for my 10 mile hike.  Ironically, my knee ended up giving me much more of a problem during my hike than it did while I was running on it.  Or rather the muscles arounds the knee did.  It was never anything too uncomfortable and didn’t get worse, but was noticeable for the 2.5 hours it took me to finish things up.  The sun was out and it was warming up nicely as the miles clicked off and I really ended up enjoying my time out on the trails.

And now I am in fully blown taper mode.  I’ve got four more 7 mile runs scheduled for this week followed by a MAF test on Saturday.  I’ll then do a couple five mile runs in the week leading up to the NJ Ultra Festival 100 Miler.  Just a chill couple of weeks, which will leave me plenty of time to obsess over the weather forecast and pack my bags.

Overall, I think I’m ready to run 100 miles.  Fourteen more days till I know for certain.

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