Let’s Talk About My Knee

If you follow me on Twitter, Instagram, or Daily Mile, I’m sure you saw my messages of woe over the weekend. Yes, I jacked my knee. Sad face for sure! We’ll talk race recap tomorrow, but for now, let’s focus on the knee.

At least my Reebok RealFlex shoes are pretty 🙂

Here’s what happened: the race started out well enough, but mile 2 is where all of the drama started. The beginning of the course was on an old, paved road around a lake, and the road was filled with some small-but-deep holes in the pavement. I was happily running along, enjoying my Anne of Avonlea audiobook, when the man in front of me fell in one of the holes and did a very graceful acrobatic manuever. I reached out to steady him (probably saving his life, I’m sure!), but in the process, I didn’t see a different hole and fell right into it. I didn’t fall down, but I knew right away that something wasn’t right in my left knee.

I kept cruising, and although I definitely felt a twinge of pain in my knee, I wrote it off as a minor niggle. You know, one of those owies that isn’t ideal but that will work itself out. I tried to continue with this mindset, but it became more difficult as the miles ticked passed. By the time I reached mile 5, my entire left knee was definitely hurting and my run had become a limp-run combo. I still considered the pain tolerable, so I continued on with the race (stupid, I know). However, by the time I reached mile 8 my knee literally felt like a fireball had replaced my knee joint. The pain was becoming so excruciating that I wasn’t able to run anymore, so I started doing this spectacular form of race walking. Truly, it was a sight to see!

Once I realized my race was shot and my knee was screaming, I decided to walk back and find my mom who I thought was walking the course. I figured I would at least enjoy some company while walking for eternity! I walked 1/3 mile back, sat on a rock for a few minutes, and when I didn’t see her, I decided to continue on my merry way. This was my huge mistake. I should have spoken to the volunteers at the aid station and asked them to transport me to the finish line via car. However, I’m an idiot and my stubbornness prevailed; I did no such thing. Instead, I kept run-walking for the next 5 miles. In fact, I insisted on sprinting to the finish just because I was so pissed about the entire situation. My dad knew something was wrong when I crossed the finish line, walked away from my friends and family, bent over with my hands on my knees, and started crying my face off.

Classy, Heather. Real classy. 

Once I was done running, the pain exponentially increased. My cousin ran and got me some ice, but that didn’t do much good. As he tactfully pointed out to me, my injury had occurred 2+ hours prior to the ice. Not exactly a prompt remedy!

The Little Bear in Evergreen. Great bar to hang out in and great live music!

We all went to a restaurant/bar afterwards to celebrate Cindy and my mom’s successful first half marathons, but I have to admit that I wasn’t in the best of moods. Getting up and down the stairs was wicked painful and I resorted to using the toddler-style of walking where you only bend one knee and drag the other behind you. Not my finest moment.

As of today, here is where my knee stands:

The Good:

  • the pain is lesser than it was this weekend
  • walking only garnishes a dull ache instead of a stabbing pain
  • the swelling is almost gone
The Bad:
  • going up and down stairs still takes my breath away because of the pain
  • putting any type of pressure on my knee is no bueno (I’m talking running, jumping, stairs, squats, etc.)
  • the outside is still a smidgen bruised
I haven’t gone to a doctor as of yet because it does appear to be improving. However, I’m not quite sure what I did! The pain is centralized on the outside of my knee and right below my knee cap, leading me to believe it could be a severe case of IT band syndrome. However, when I was running, the pain was trickling down the side of my calf, which is not symptomatic of ITBS. Additionally, I had zero pain until I fell in the damn hole. Do you think it’s possible that my spill just aggravated some niggling ITBS?

If you’ve read my blog for awhile, you’ll know that I am incredibly competitive with myself and this entire debacle is very frustrating to me. I am 100% out of running for the next couple days, and my guess is that I am walking the Warrior Dash this Sunday. More frustrating to me, however, is the fact that I was on track for a kick-ass half marathon PR. As it stands now, my finish time was 2:31.45. This time included my walk back to find my mother, as well as my rest on the rock and all of my subsequent walking. My PR before this race was 2:23, so I think I easily could have achieved a 2:10-2:15 time. I would have been thrilled.
Have any of you suffered from IT band syndrome? Does this sound like it could be my problem?

I’m just looking for opinions here….anyone? 


  • Reply Amanda - RunToTheFinish at

    mm if hills and stairs are the issue the it sounds more like Patellfemoral syndrome or runners knee, which i had…so it’s good to stay active with easy walking, ice…and give it a week or so before you try anything intense. eeikk gook luck!!

  • Reply Big Daddy Diesel at

    I dont think its ITBS, it was cause by the hole, not running. I think its a sprain or strained knee, if the pain doesnt go away soon, I suggest getting it checked out, knees are fragile, my prior sports life before endurance sports has left me with some not so great knees

  • Reply Jamie at

    Hmm, not sure but I hope that it gets better soon! I definitely would go to the doctor soon if it doesn’t get better. Just take it easy and keep icing it.

  • Reply Renee at

    Hmmm…I don’t know if it would be ITBS. A quick google search led me to this: http://www.runnersworld.com/community/forums/injury-prevention/injuries/pain-outside-of-kneecalf-made-yall-diagram

    I’m not sure if it is the same, so you’d have to check that out. Regardless, I hope it feels better soon, it sucks not being able to run.

  • Reply Efo at

    Oh man, I’m so sorry to hear about your knee! That suuuucks. Eeek 🙁 I have no idea what it could be, hopefully nothing big, but ya can’t go wrong with lots of ice and ibuprofen if it swells. Shoot. I really hope you heal up quick!

  • Reply Jess at

    Hmm I’ve had ITBS and this doesn’t sound quite like it. The pain should be towards the outside of your knee and it should hurt the longer you sit with it bent (like at a desk), getting very achy and sore. This sounds more like you hurt it from the hole than from running on it. I THINK it’ll probably heal on its own with a little extra rest?? That’s my very non-scientific guess though 🙁

    hang in there!

  • Reply mountainkait.com at

    I’m not a doctor but sounds like a sprain, strain, or ligament issues. ITBS does run down the side of the calf (for me anyway), but wouldn’t cause the swelling and pain up and down stairs. RICE for another few days and then seriously think about seeing a doctor. You don’t want to go too long and make it worse. IMOA. Definitely a wicked bummer-sorry.

  • Reply Heidi Nicole at

    I’m no expert but considering how it happened I’d say its just a tweaked knee – sprain/strain/what have you. I tweaked up my ankle on ice this winter and it took a week of ice, rest, compression wrapping and whining to get me back to running.

  • Reply misszippy at

    Ugh! So sorry to hear it! Something like this wouldn’t seem to be ITB, but the location sounds like it. I’d get it checked just to make sure there are no small tears in any ligaments (sorry to say that). Hugs!

    • Reply Heather @ Just a Colorado Gal at

      If I tore something, I will seriously throw a temper tantrum. Probably not the most mature reaction, but it sure is the most likely!

  • Reply Anonymous at

    Sorry to hear about your knee, take it easy and hope it gets better quickly – but on the good side, well done on a brilliant half marathon time!! With all that going on, and only 8 minutes behind your PB, that’s pretty bloody good!

  • Reply greengirlrunning at

    Nothing new to add other than to suggest seeing an Active Release Therapist! I go to mine the second I feel any kind of pain from niggle (such a funny word!) to full blown injury and she always has me back running pronto. Without pain before the dreaded hole, I’d guess you injured it right then and it’s just mega inflammed, but ART can help prevent scar tissue that could lead to an injury down the road. Hope you heal super quick!!!

  • Reply Britt @ Chicago Runner Girl at

    Oh man this sounds like an awful experience 🙁 so sorry. Those damn holes! Hey should have marked them somehow by putting an orange cone over them or spray painting the dip. Jerks. Dont know much about itb injuries but it for sure sounds like you need to stay off of it for a few days and that the warrior dash may not be a good idea. I say give it a full week to recover because it may heal up just fine, but if you’re havin issues with it after that you should get it checked out. Praying for a speedy recovery for you!

    • Reply Heather @ Just a Colorado Gal at

      Well, I probably should be embarrassed about this one, but they did have an orange circle spray painted around them! It was so early in the race though, that everyone was still in groups and I was too busy steadying homeboy that I completely missed the spray paint 🙁 Unfortunately, totally my fault!

  • Reply jenna at

    hang in there!!! im so sorry to hear about your knee, but i know you’ll overcome it! just take care of yourself and you’ll be good as new in no time!!! SPA love!

  • Reply lgsmash.com at

    First things first – OUCH!!! I’d probably see a doctor if you’re not 100% by the end of the week, if it were me. It may be feeling better than before but it definitely sounds like something isn’t right!

    Also, can we talk about your use of the word ‘niggle?!’ OMG I totally GIGGLED when I read that – I’ve never heard that word before and it’s so fun sounding! (even if it means bad news). Must start using niggle whenever possible from now on.

  • Reply Rebecca at

    Your story almost exactly mirrors my experience with my foot stress fracture last month. On track to running a PR in a race I’ve done for several years, when I was tripped by a woman grabbing water from the station and had to catch myself at a funny angle to prevent falling. I noticed a weird pop and some light pain in the foot but kept running because apparently we share the same head and self-competitiveness. A mile later I stopped to ‘stretch my foot cramp’ and couldn’t start running again due to the pain. I hobbled the last two miles (luckily it was only a 10k) and found my husband and started bawling. I shouldn’t have walked those miles either, but my head kept saying it was a temporary foot cramp. The MRI I got two days later told me otherwise.

    I went to the Dr the next day, mostly because I had so many backpacking and climbing trips planned for this month and I wanted to get on top of whatever was wrong. Didn’t help – I’m sitting here reading blog posts instead of climbing a 14er like I was supposed to be doing today, but it was good to get confirmation of what exactly was wrong and how to adjust my expectations for the next few months. It’s feeling better now but I’m still going to lay off the running for a few weeks to prevent a re-aggravation of the injury since it is due to overuse. If I hadn’t had a diagnoses I might be running on it again already and risking worse damage. So go see a Dr!!!

  • Reply Alyssa at

    Aw man, so frustrating, it’s an extra slap in the face that it happened while you were on track to PR! My advice is get to a doctor asap – let the professionals figure it out!

  • Reply Melissa Balogh at

    Since it hurts you along joint lines…It’s not ITBS. If the only problems your having is going up/downstairs…you could have damaged ACL/PCL, either of collateral ligaments or meniscus. R.I.C.E. Ibuprofen at least 600mg three times a day x 2 weeks. After swelling goes away, see the Doc and get an xray. After that, get referred to Ortho. 🙂 Just my recommendation, but, what do I know?! haha! 🙂

    • Reply Heather @ Just a Colorado Gal at

      I was waiting for the sisterly reply! What’s underneath my knee? Why do you live in Hawaii now so you can’t look at this for me? Actually….screw it. Calling you! 🙂

  • Reply Lisa at

    I am so sorry! I agree that it might be a sprain intraday of ITBS. I did something similar when teaching a fitness class. I landed on my leg with it straight (similar to landing in a hole). It felt better in about a week.
    Keep putting ice on it to reduce swelling and promote healing.

    I hope we can see each other at warrior dash!

  • Reply Lisa at

    Oops…”instead of” not “intraday”

  • Reply Suz and Allan at

    As the daughter of a nurse I feel it’s my duty to say go to the doctor! It’s better to go ahead and rule some things out now than still be in pain two weeks from now. I hope it’s nothing serious and that you heal quickly!

  • Reply PavementRunner at

    Yikes. Sending you super positive healing vibes. It doesn’t sound like ITB, that is mostly from overuse, unless the trip in the hole aggravated it. I’m not sure. You’ve had ITB before, so you know what to expect and how to treat. Hoping everything heals quickly.

    Yes, we are stubborn and we all understand. Most of us have done something similar before, if not multiple times.

  • Reply Indigo at

    Yikes! I see what you mean now and I’d definitely get a Tommie Copper knee brace and give it a try.

  • Reply Angela @ Happy Fit Mama at

    Damn you knees! I was just diagnosed with Patellofemoral Syndrome. Bruising and swelling is not a symptom. That is more of a sprain. I’d definitely say NO to the Warrior Dash. Even if you walk it you still have obstacles. Don’t risk it! Good luck and I’m sending healing vibes your way!

  • Reply Lena @Fit on the Rocks at

    Such a bummer with your knee! I hope that it’s feeling moderately better by Sunday so that the obstacles and walking aren’t insanely uncomfortable. I stepped in a big pothole in mile 9 of my first half marathon, and it put me in such a bad mood because I had such a nagging pain.

  • Reply brg at

    oh man! big time bummer! I’d get it checked out as soon as possible. heal quick!!!

  • Reply Lisa@RunWiki at

    Oh No! I am so so sorry! This is awful news. Hope you have a doctors appt. soon let us know what it going on. Many prayers and thoughts of healing coming your way love!
    PS- I have been to The Little Bear many o time… so fun! xoxo

  • Reply Kayla Carruth @ kpLoving It at

    HEATHER!!! I can’t believe this. So sad. I hope it gets better soon. You better take it easy until it’s completely healed!!! You have plent of hay in your barn to be okay for a while.

  • Reply Julie Arts at

    Ugh 🙁 Let it heal, girl!!! Don’t rush it!

  • Reply Rain at

    Very frustrating!
    Take it easy and I hope it gets better soon!
    I too am extremely competitive and really hate when crap like this happens to derail a race!

  • Reply GTIS Half Marathon Recap - Just a Colorado Gal at

    […] said that, I headed into Saturday morning with the plans of having fun and not wrecking my knee. Turns out, I was able to accomplish […]

  • Reply Antelope Canyon 55K: The Recap - Just a Colorado GalJust a Colorado Gal at

    […] the sand. I righted myself and sighed; this wasn’t a shock and I had dealt with this before during a half marathon a few years ago. You may remember that I have some wonky issues with my spine and regularly see an […]

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