I ran yesterday morning, and it went fine until around the 25 minute mark. When I noticed the pain beginning again, I stopped to walk for a few minutes. Tried to run again after a few minutes, and the knee pain began again so I just finished out my scheduled 40 minutes with a walk.
The plan is to take another 3-4 days off, and then I will try to run again on Monday. Friends who are "in the know" assure me that the hard work of training is past me now and I will still be able to do the marathon even if I'm not able to keep to the training schedule during this taper. It's better to get to the start line with healthy knees than to push through the running and risk a worse injury.
I spent the better part of yesterday crying. I don't know what happened to cause this. I followed the training plan. I didn't feel like I was pushing too hard. I really guarded my pace. I had done 18 miles two weeks prior without any trouble at all, and that was after having walked at Disney World all week and driving 8 hours in a car less than 24 hours before. I just don't know what happened.
I'm just going to stop there so I don't get myself upset again. All I can do is rest up, and try to run again in a few days. And pray that I'm able to get through these marathons.