How My First Marathon Completely Fell Apart

In retrospect, the wheels began falling off more than a month before I crossed the start line. Initially, the pain in my right knee was so slight and intermittent that I didn’t even consider it. On some runs, the ache would make an appearance; on others—including a 21-mile run three weeks before the race—I’d be pain-free. In any case, I simply pushed through discomfort and disregarded injury concerns with an ignorant sense of invincibility.

A rush of panic washed over me. This was different. This was a problem.

On Thanksgiving—17 days before the marathon—I ran an eight-mile turkey trot with my brother-in-law, Jared. My legs were dead and I was slow, but it was just an off-day, I reasoned. Nothing to worry about. I skipped my scheduled 10-miler over the weekend and headed out for a short maintenance burst the following Tuesday, less than two weeks before race day.

Almost immediately, I knew something was wrong.

As I took off down the street, the pain on the outside of my knee—sharper than ever before—was there to greet me. As I reached the corner of my neighborhood, limping severely, a rush of panic washed over me. This was different. This was a problem. 

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About the Author

Kolby Paxton

Kolby Paxton is the running editor of ACTIVE.com and—you guessed it—an avid runner. Arguably the least impressive football player to play stand on the sideline at the University of Oklahoma, Paxton eventually graduated from a directional school you’ve never heard of in a town you’ve never heard of before the Associated Press named him Oklahoma’s Best New Journalist—while working at a paper you’ve never heard of. After earning a master’s degree he’ll never use from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Paxton and his wife relocated to Dallas, Texas, where he would become the self-proclaimed voice of the common runner. In his free time, Paxton enjoys hanging with his beagle, cheering for the Rangers, and yelling at the Cowboys. Follow Kolby on Twitter or Instagram.
Kolby Paxton is the running editor of ACTIVE.com and—you guessed it—an avid runner. Arguably the least impressive football player to play stand on the sideline at the University of Oklahoma, Paxton eventually graduated from a directional school you’ve never heard of in a town you’ve never heard of before the Associated Press named him Oklahoma’s Best New Journalist—while working at a paper you’ve never heard of. After earning a master’s degree he’ll never use from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Paxton and his wife relocated to Dallas, Texas, where he would become the self-proclaimed voice of the common runner. In his free time, Paxton enjoys hanging with his beagle, cheering for the Rangers, and yelling at the Cowboys. Follow Kolby on Twitter or Instagram.

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