My knee feels a lot better today. A lot. And there was continued improvement throughout the morning. Still, though, there's a spot on the left knee that still felt like it was injured rather than just sore, so I called the doctors and eventually ended up going to the walk-in orthopedic clinic at a local healthcare center.
I felt a little embarrassed to be there, since the knee was so much better than yesterday. But, I've never had a serious knee injury to know what the various options feel like, and now, less than two months away from the Shamrock Marathon, is no time to mess around. I wanted to know right away if there was something torn or broken, or what I could do to reduce the likelihood of that if I had a relatively clean bill of health.
They took X-rays, which showed no obvious damage and good joint spacing (lots of cartilage rather than the knee being bone-on-bone), but based on where the pain was at different places in my range of motion, the doctor diagnosed me with IT Band Syndrome, a common source of knee pain for runners.
I'm sure this is a huge HIPAA violation, but:
Since I was there, and in pain, I was glad that there was actually something to be found and even more glad it wasn't a torn ligament. He suggested I take it light on the miles for about two weeks and to take lots of ibuprofen and get stability control shoes, and go to physical therapy for a few weeks to try to treat it and prevent further damage. There may be orthotics in my future, but he didn't want to try that till after the race.
(And a close-up of the culprit.
The left IT band is on the outside of the left knee -- on the right side of this picture.
You can't really see it, but look at all that cartilage!)
So, I'll hopefully be back out on the road for short run on Thursday, when the weather is hopefully ok, and a (relatively short) long run on Saturday. I'll need to adjust my training plan, but for now I still think 26.2 is achievable.