Shalane Flanagan won the TCS New York City Marathon in 2017, and after considering retirement, came back to finish third in 2018. She finished in 2:26:21 last year, and was the first American woman to cross the line.

RELATED: Will Shalane Flanagan retire?

In an Instagram post two days ago, Flanagan revealed that New York almost didn’t happen for her, since she’s dealing with tears in her patella tendons. “I had been experiencing lots of pain in my knees this fall and didn’t know why (figured it was old age). In fact, I almost pulled out of the NYC Marathon because I had to miss some training and I was in so much pain…. but very happy I didn’t. I’m currently letting the tendons heal up and fingers crossed I will be back running with my Bowerman teammates in a few weeks.”

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Thank you to the unknown stranger who placed this note on the pool deck this morning while I was aqua jogging. This note is extremely appreciated right now and gave me the biggest smile 😊. I’ve not been able to run the last month due to tears in my patella tendons. I had been experiencing lots of pain in my knees this fall and didn’t know why (figured it was old age 👵🏼🤷🏼‍♀️). In fact, I almost pulled out of the NYC Marathon because I had to miss some training and I was in so much pain…..but very happy I didn’t. I’m currently letting the tendons heal up and fingers crossed I will be back running with my Bowerman teammates ❤️ in a few weeks. Injuries are never easy and I really really miss running. I’m going to keep this note close, as a reminder to do good and to take time to tell people I appreciate their efforts, kindness and work. Thank you kind stranger for the kind note. #payitforward

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Flanagan plans to stay off her feet for a couple more weeks before resuming training. 

The marathoner has had one of the strongest running careers in American distance history. She began as a high school star, continued her dominance at the University of North Carolina, and then went on to win Olympic and World Championships medals, and set American records which still stand today.

RELATED: Boston announces 2019 U.S. elites

This injury could be why Flanagan was conspicuously absent from the Boston 2018 elite line-up. As Flanagan crossed the finish line in New York, she blew kisses and mouthed “I love you” to the crowds of fans. Some speculated that that was goodbye, while others thought it might just be gratitude. The runner has remained vague about the future of her career, but it’s quite likely she will remain on the running scene in one capacity or another for a long time. 

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