The countdown to the North Face Endurance Challenge 50k in Washington, DC has begun, but not the way I hoped.

After taking 10 days off from running while in Panama, I came back full of excitement and drive to get back on the trails and run around in circles.  My body felt great, my head clear, and my legs ready to move.  The day after returning I set out for a long run on Rock Creek Park’s the Western Ridge Trail/Valley Trail.  I intended to run somewhere around 13 mile, but was stopped short with an unfortunate surprise.  Almost exactly at the fifth mile marker, a sharp pain struck my upper shin, just below the knee.  It wasn’t a gradual pain that grew over the course of the miles, it was something of a beast, attacking with force out of nowhere.  I immediately stopped, stretched, walked a few meters, and began to freak.  I was 5 miles away from home, out in the middle of the park, with no money for a bus ride home.  So I did the only thing I knew to do, and started running back.  As soon as I could, I got off the trail and onto the road.  While it was flatter (with much better footing), it didn’t cut my run down in length at all.  I clocked just over 10 miles, most of which hurt like hell.


Since then I’ve been icing, resting, and going out for tester runs almost every day.  It pains me to post this, but this is my mileage just 9 weeks out from the race:

Monday – .25 miles After running for about a minute, I knew it was a mistake and turned right around.

Tuesday – 0 I didn’t even go out.

Wednesday – .75 miles  Made it a little further before realizing again that this was a mistake.

Thursday – 1.5 miles Ran a flat park until I started hurting.

Friday – 0

Saturday – 2.5 miles Better, but far short from the 14 I should have run.

Sunday – Finally admitted I might be injured.  Got on the bike for 1:30 hours through Rock Creek with KFB.

After extensive research (ie. an hour or so of google searching), I’ve concluded that I’m not going to be able to find online what exactly happened.  The spot is located just below the knee, at the top of the tibia.  It is sensitive to the touch, and hurts mostly on foot strike (I’m able to bend without issue).  Over the past week of very short runs, the pain has been extremely intense for the first minute or so, then kind of fluctuates over the next several. Needless to say, I’m able to tough it out for a few miles, but I’m terrified that pushing too far will simply make it worse.  The last thing I want to do is knock myself out completely.

Has anyone experienced this sort of pain before?  Any suggestions with how to deal other than rest and ice?  I’m determined to bring this week’s mileage back up to around where I should be.

10 thoughts on “Countdown to NFEC 50k: 9 Weeks and Injured

  1. That’s a bummer dude, I suggest you cry about it some more.

    Just kidding, that sucks…, I agree…see a doctor…hopefully it doesn’t eff your training schedule too hard.

  2. My first thought was stress fracture? But if it’s at the knee, probably not. I’d really stop running and see a doctor if you can. If biking doesn’t hurt at all, keep doing that , but sharp jabbing pain is generally the stuff you dont’ want to mess around with. RICE is your friend!

  3. I was chatting with a runner yesterday who described having the same type of injury, he indicated that it completely healed after about 3 months of taking it easy…. If it is the same injury, it’s not great news but at least it’s not a permanent type of injury…. Obviously, I’d still do the doctor thing. Also, don’t forget the free pool in Tenleytown! Beautiful….

    1. That isn’t great news. 3 months is longer than I was hoping, but at least it sounds like it might get better.

      I’m planning to hit up that pool this week. Thanks for the reminder. I don’t remember, did the paystub work for you to get in?

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