I love this race; it's a favorite of mine, despite the crowds and the lack of corrals and other issues. It's got a place in my heart, and it's convenient and cheap, and well, I just want to keep running it. So I signed up back in Jan every year. This year, it was early enough that I figured my knee and toe problems would have plenty of time to get worked out.
Well, 3 specialist visits and quite a bit of money later, my toe issues have improved from "regularly minorly painful and specifically irritated by running (among other things)" to "occasionally minorly annoying, and mostly ok if I treat it carefully and wear insoles." So, while it's not as fixed as I would have wanted, the expensive orthotic insoles do seem to be helping. My current theory is that it's inter-metatarsal bursitis, which fits with the "bone and foot structure is fine" observations of the doctors and mostly fits the pain symptoms I do have, but is also a "be nice to it and hope it gradually improves" injury, which I hate because it means I expect this is basically something I just need to learn to live with.
My knee, on the other hand, I'm pretty sure is "just" a flare-up of that old patellofemoral pain, i.e. a form of "runner's knee," i.e. my kneecap doesn't track properly under load, and there are definitely exercises I can do to help it (once I figure out what they are). And proper foot alignment helps a lot.
These stupid joint problems meant that I didn't run at all for 9 months, waiting for pain to go away; and when it did, there wasn't time to get back my mileage. So I didn't plan to run. But then I failed to give away my registration, and xuth picked up my race bib and a shirt that actually fits me (this is the first year they have women's-cut race shirts) and he was going to run it anyways, and I decided if nothing else, I could walk it just fine, so.....
I taped1 things up and made a goal to finish in between 1:15 and 1:30. Basically, no faster than a slow jog, and no slower than a fast walk. I ended up running slowly for the first 4 miles whereupon I hit a big downhill and my knee complained really loudly. I ran/walked the rest of the way, coming in at 1:24:29, which is my slowest race pace ever, but considering conditions, marks success. My knee hurt a lot at the end, but no more than in the past, and was more or less fine as soon as I stopped running.
Of course, the rest of my body took the brunt of that whole unprepared for running thing, and every other muscle in my legs has been SUPER sore since then. Stairs and desk job do not make things easier at all. However, none of that is anything more than overworked muscle, that will be fine within a few days.
The important part is that my toe never felt any worse than mildly annoying, which I consider not only success for this race, but a sign that I can (slowly) start running again regularly (combined with appropriate knee exercises). So that's my new plan. Er, as soon as I finish recovering.
1 I totally thought that the kinesiology taping fad was a total crock, and then my google searches brought me to something called McConnell taping for PFPS, and it actually WORKS. By "works" I mean it greatly reduces pain when I go about my normal activities. It obviously doesn't fix the underlying issue, and various online sites seem to disagree about exactly WHY it works, but some of my dubiousness has been turned into curiosity. And it turns out that if I don't care about pretty colors or brand names, and only use it occasionally, it's quite cheap and easy to acquire.