The monster claws into my right knee cap. Its ability to remain hidden for so many miles astounds me. I believed my dance with this devil had came to an end weeks ago; but It has waited for my next journey to the clouds.

Our first skirmish over a month ago erupted after a climb over Patterson hill during a 10 mile training run. 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 hog 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!

Check out my new Facebook group for ultra-runners who weigh over 200lbs, otherwise known as Clydesdales! Find fellow husky runner’s weight-specific gear recommendations, injury mitigation strategies, fueling options, and more!