After the disappointment of last week, due to my knee not letting me run, I decided to take some action and get to the bottom of my pain. I made an appointment to see my sports physician Dr Lorenzo Masci, I’ve known Dr Masci for nearly 3 years and he has seen all my injuries in that time (there has been quite a few). After he listened to my symptoms, inspected my knee, and took a scan, he was confident in diagnosing that I have iliotibial band friction syndrome, otherwise known as runners knee! The main reason I inherited this annoying injury was down to the amount of kilometres I was running, unfortunately its a common injury for long distance runners.
With the race only just over 2 weeks away Dr Masci decided It needed to be treated quite aggressively with prescription anti inflammatories to help reduce the inflammation under the iliotibial band, and a high dosage cortisone injection to help reduce the swelling and pain of the area. Ive had numerous injections of this type in the past so this wasnt to bother me at all, all I felt was a scratch when the needle went in, then a dull ache as the fluid was getting pumped into my knee. After the injection I was to do nothing for 2 days, except rest and relax to let the cortisone soak into the desired area.
I had the injection at 2pm on Tuesday, and almost instantly I felt absolutely rubbish, I just felt lethargic, and my knee was achy, all I wanted to do was lie down. This was put down to the high dosage of cortisone I had, which was slightly more then the normal amount given. Its was definately rest for the remainder of the day!
Over the next 2 days I did what I was told and put my feet up, but I had plenty to keep me occupied with sorting out the last few pieces of my kit, and making sure I have enough food for the week of the race, but not too much that my pack is too heavy. Ive found that its about sacrifice. After the compulsory equipment and basic 2000 calories a day, anything else is a luxury, so to take any luxuries something must be sacrificed. Im taking my DRIFT HD 1080 action camera to film my journey and take pictures, in order for my bag not to weigh too much I decided I wouldn’t take any sort of sleeping mat, so I will be sleeping on the deserts floor each night, sacrifices!
Ive been continuing with my visualisation of each day of the race, and putting myself into a postion on every stage of the entire race to set myself up for a top 50 finish, I believe that’s where I truly belong to be in this race, so thats where I must picture myself being in my head, and also just as importantly, while I’m actually running the race.
After my couple of days resting I was allowed to do some light swimming, but without using my legs as to not upset my troublesome knee. If I want to be, I can be a pretty handy swimmer who skims through the water at a decent pace, but as I was only swimming to keep my body moving, and without kicking my legs, it was at a very leisurely paddling pace. I did have to laugh when the lifeguard tapped me on the head at the end of one of my laps and asked if I could move out of the slow lane and into a quicker paced lane as I was overtaking too many elderly people who were having their weekly paddle in the pool.
Sunday night I packed and unpacked my bag several times in order to find the right fit, and sequence of stuffing my “food” into it. I am carrying the bare minimum and with only a 20 litre backpack its quite full, well it will be for the first day at least until I start eating its contents.
I’ve had to work hard over the last 5 days to stay positive and focus on my goal of achieving a top 50 finish. With no guarentee that the cortisone injection will work in any way, Im preparing myself for the potential pain which I may encounter while running my race, and thats without putting into account the effects of running 6 marathons in 7 days, the scorching 50 degree heat, sand dunes, and minimal food. Im ready and looking forward to it, cant wait to get on that plane in just over a week, get into the Sahara desert and start eating up the kilometres one by one until all 250 are behind me.