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The monster claws into the side of my right knee cap. Its ability to remain hidden for so many miles astounds me. I almost believed my dance with this devil had came to an end. It must patiently waited for my next journey to the clouds.
My first skirmish with the demon took place just after a climb over Patterson hill during a 10 mile run, over a month ago. I’d been hoping for the entity to flee from boredom for two weeks as I attempted to heal from our last clash atop Pidgeon Mountain. It has grasped my leg after climbing 1800ft to reach the summit. The beast gnawed my leg like a wild hawg as I limped four miles to the car.
And now, only moments since I enjoyed on one of the best overlooks in Northwest GA. I find myself hobbling along, once again. When we reach the ¾ mark, I realize we made a wrong turn and are going back to the car on the wrong side of the figure-8 loop. My boys sigh. They came here to run. And run they have; for a mile or two at a time, and then they’re forced to wait on their old man to groan and curse down the mountain side.
My oldest son’s face says it all. I guess we’re not gonna see the waterfalls.
I look back up the ¼ mile climb we had wrongly descended. It doesn’t help this it is the steepest section we’ve encountered since our hike through the Nevada desert. I make my way back up the stairs that are cut into the rocky cliff.
The waterfalls are beautiful. The beast is having a difficult time keeping me from enjoying myself. I take one step at a time as we descend through a rocky, slippery section of the trail just past a waterfall. From there we travel down a worn path for the remainder of John’s mountain: we finally reach the car. Defeated, but hopeful.
This course I have chosen will require every ounce of training I can manage, every drop of stamina, and a clear head to see my weaknesses and attack them with precision and ruthlessness.
Recently, I read over my running journals and noticed a trend, every time I climb a large ridge or mountain I start hurting on the outside of my knee. Ok, looks like I found a starting point for my war against injuries: IT Band Syndrome.
So, the beast has a name?
Round up the troops boys; we’re going to war!