My past few 5-mile runs have felt really good and this week was no exception. I was barely breathing hard, my heart felt great, my lungs were great, there wasn't even a hint of a side stitch from dehydration. Yet I grabbed a sip of water at 3 miles and it all went downhill from there. I felt a slight kink in my right leg - I wasn't sure if it was the knee, the quad or what. I kicked it out a few times and kept going. It didn't go away, but didn't get in the way of running either. Until 4.5 miles when it stopped being a slight twitch and became pain. I pulled off to the side, did a few stretches, then kept going. I should have stopped immediately.
I've always believed to a certain extent in the idea of "no pain, no gain." (or in the 1992 Olympics "no pain, no Spain" then in 1996 "no pain, no peaches." I love it!) After all, if exercise was easy, we would all have killer bodies. Any physical improvement is worth working for, so a little pain doesn't faze me. Besides, how are the muscles growing if not through a little discomfort? With this attitude, I told myself I could do it and kept going.
I finished the last half mile and the last mile time was the slowest. Yet, this happens the majority of times - the first mile is the fastest, I slow down each successive mile, then end with a strong last .3 or .4. So in terms of time, I was following my normal pattern. I stopped for subway and by the time I was home - less than 20 minutes from the end of my run - I was in pain. The worst part is that I couldn't definitively pinpoint the pain - was it my knee? my hip? my quadricep? A day later I still don't know, but it's painful to put weight on my right leg. It doesn't hurt to move it, just to bear any weight.
Now I'm self medicating with ice and heat, stretching a little, but otherwise trying to not move. What a mess!