Knee Blow-Out at Mile 12

So I'm trotting along on my 18-mile long run yesterday. Run, run, happy, happy. It's the first time I've done a long run outside (with some large unidentifiable yellow orb in the sky) in over a month. I'm thrilled to be back. 

Chatting with friends, I mentally make note of a light twinge behind my right kneecap. It's not pain. More like a warning that there could be pain. Big deal. It's not a run unless something hurts. 

Since most people I run with aren't training for a marathon (or they are but are considerably faster than  me), they drift off after mile 10. I keep running. At mile 12, I stop for a water break. Throwing down the water bottle, I stand back up, hit the "Start" button on my watch... and almost hit the ground as my right knee buckles beneath me. 

Hmm. Not good. I take a few steps and there's sharp pain behind and to the right of the kneecap. It feels like there's a corkscrew muscle back there, just begging to be unwound. Lacking the exorcist ability to whip my leg around 360 degrees, I instead start a slow jog. 

Ow, ow, ow... for about 30 yards. Then it gets better. Tender, but I can run on it. Sweet. 

Same thing at the next water stop, except the pain is 10x worse. I try stretching out my leg. Nothing really hurts until I bend the leg at a 90 degree angle. Mother%$@*!!! That HURT. I try jogging it out again but can't go more than a few steps. I'm 4 miles from the car and soaked in sweat in 35 degree weather. Where's a golf cart when you need one?

I get cold enough that I decide screw it, I'm jogging back. I lurch along like Igor for about 100 yards and the leg kicks back in and I can run again. I do not stop until I reach the car. 

The knee felt pretty good most of yesterday after I stopped running, but kicked in again last night with the pain. Bending = very, very bad. I'm sitting here right now with frozen ass peas on it as I type this. My friend RunnerDude suspects I'm suffering from Runner's Knee and he's probably right. He gave me some tips and I'll be working through those this week. 

Even with the knee blow-out, it was still a great run. I made 17 of the scheduled 18 miles and ran it (when I was running) at an 8:40 pace, well ahead of my planned 8:53 pace for the day. And I was OUTSIDE. With FRIENDS. Two of my favorite things in the world.