So the title says it all. I have been victim of the IT band syndrome.
It all started when I flew to India for the race. It was a major event for me as it was suppose to be my first 100 kms but hey ! Some little guy up there just didn’t want to make it that simple for me. I took my flight from Kuwait to Sharjah (UAE) and then to Coimbatore (India) with AirArabia. It was a crappy flight with no space for my leg, but it was also the only airline to do that particular route. I arrived in Coimbatore at 3.30 am and then it took 3 more hours by taxi to get to Ooty. Driving at 70 kms/hour on a mountain road a night of complete fog was probably the scariest thing I’ve done. I could not even see 10 meters ahead and the guy was just speeding through the fog like some kind of ghostbuster. Then, eventually, I fell asleep.
Ooty was set among the “Nil” “Giris” -Blue mountains-, which are split with Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Kartnataka. They are so called blue mountains because of the blue reflection they have at night time.
I checked in the hotel in Ooty and visited the town until it was time for the pre-race briefing. Kavita, the race organizer, warned us again that it would be foggy, rainy and cold in the morning. I found myself, with two other person, as the only westerners among the locals although this race was worth 2 UTMB points. I ended up eating with them and I had some chicken masala with roti. Maybe not that good of an idea before the race but what the hell ! We only live once and it was SO good 🙂
I woke up at 3 am with little worries. I had felt some discomfort in my knee the day before, but nothing to get me worried about. So I woke up pretty calm and determined. I was ready to finish. But there was a problem. We left at 4 am and from Kilometer 2, I started feeling pain on the side of my left knee. At first, I thought I didn’t warm up well and I lowered my pace but then, a couple kilometers later, I realized I had IT band issues. How did I know that? Well that already happened to me 3 years ago and I had to switch my way of running to minimalism to get rid of that piece of crap.
I kept on going, telling myself not to give up because, unlike before, the pain was bearable. Was it because I got more running experience and I could bear pain easier or was it just because the IT band was not as wicked as last time ? I still don’t know but I kept on going with the pain.
Each checkpoint I stopped and massaged my knee with some anti-inflammatory, trying to cover the pain and then I kept on running. Every time I started again, the 5 first minutes I thought maybe it had disappeared but it just came back stronger later.
At Kilometer 37, I saw a huge bruise appearing on my right knee (the other knee). I immediately thought of this knee over compensating the pain and I knew I was not going to make it. I continued the last 13 kilometers running in revolving pain as the fog was slowly disappearing like in a disney movie. It was so beautiful, It just made me sick not to be able to enjoy as much as I wanted. I could see the tree plantations going up the hill in an organized chaos so descriptive of India. It smelt so good, like, if tea and spices were both perfect combinations. And then, a wild Bison just appeared on the road. How crazy is that ? I had never run in India before but what the hell ? I was expecting some tigers or cobras maybe but a Bison ?!
Scared of it attacking me, I waited from afar with a million thoughts crossing my head on how I would pass this monster. It didn’t want to leave and neither did I. I was starring at this magnificent creature, admiring the perfectly shaped muscles and the size of its horns. Once I left the strange estate of fascination that I was in, I worked on a plan on how to get pass it. I noticed that busses were driving pass the Bison, slower than usual. “Maybe I can keep the pace 200 to 300 meters” I thought. And that’s what I did. I waited for a bus to come and hid running on its side until the Bison was far far behind. And then, at kilometer 50, the right knee just abandoned, leaving me bitter and sorrow after all this excitement.
– “So now what ?”
Both my knee were fucked and my right knee was getting worst every meter. The decision had to be taken and I knew I was going to regret it, but for the sake of both my knees, I had to abandon. And so did I.
Shoes – Brooks Pure Grit 3
Hydration bag – Lafuma Speedtrail 5L
Jacket – Salomon Men’s Bonatti WP
Food – GU gels
Have you ever had IT band syndrome ? And if yes, how did you treat it ? I will have a dedicated article coming soon on how I treated it myself.