A scant few hours after my last race I slammed my knee into a wall trying to step over a baby gate. You wouldn't think this would knock me out of commission for several months, but you'd be wrong. All winter I struggled with running and particularly cycling. It took forever just to be able to do any training, let alone the type of training necessary to begin racing again. It's a shame, because last fall I probably had the best fitness of my adult life.
Over the past couple months I've been gradually increasing my training, both running and cycling. For the most part now I can run and bike without much (if any) knee pain, though my knee is generally still a little sore after workouts. Last week when I was in Urbana I ran the Second Wind fun run at Meadowbrook park. Without any fast training I ran three miles in 18:41 with a friend, with some serious negative splits. On a lark I decided this meant I could probably start racing again any day now, just in time for the Memorial Day 5K run in our new hometown of University City.
I ran much better than I expected, finishing in 18:25 (5:55/mile pace), only 30 seconds slower than the Danville Memorial Day 5K last year. This was good enough for 8th place out of 850 finishers, and 1st in my age group. I felt no knee pain. I dealt with the 80˚F morning heat and blazing sun as well as I could have hoped. I dealt with the couple of hills as well as I could have hoped. I think with a few more miles in my legs this spring I wouldn't have slowed down so much during the 3rd mile, but I'm still pleased.