How My First Marathon Completely Fell Apart

It took nearly two weeks for me to regain range of motion with my knee—another 10 days before I could walk up and down stairs. Physical therapy has helped. Rest has helped. I still don’t feel great—but I don’t feel terrible, either.

I take great pride in my athleticism, my discipline, and—perhaps most importantly—my refusal to quit. The sudden loss of the former provided the ultimate test for the latter and, to that end, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that my first brutal disaster of a marathon gave me more than it took away.

Still, it didn’t have to go down like that. Here are just a few ways you can avoid a similar fate:

  • Don’t push through knee pain. As I mentioned, the discomfort was so slight initially that I didn’t take it seriously.
  • Foam roll and stretch. Yes, I realize it’s uncomfortable and inconvenient—but not nearly so much as a bum IT band.
  • Stop running. Despite your best efforts, your knee may still act up at some point. The longer you can stay off of it, the quicker and easier your road to recovery will be.
  • Pull out of the race. Dallas represented something bigger than the race, itself, to me. My decision to gut it out was an emotional one. Don’t be like me. Live to run another day.

My next day will come, of course, but not without a hefty helping of pain and patience.

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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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