Reflections in Running 2013

2013 started out with four months off from running due to an injury in December 2012 followed by physical therapy.  Not the start I wanted by any means.  It also forced my very first race deferment ever, the Shamrock Half Marathon.  This would have been my fourth year in a row doing this race.  Very sad moment for me.

It actually took me until June to ‘fully’ recover from that injury.  That poor ankle just seems to take the punishment over and over again.  I’ve since rolled it a few more times at the trail for which surprisingly it survived.

The hardest part of it all was having to almost start over from scratch.  All the work I had done for the past year to get my 5K times down in the 25 min range was gone.  I was now struggling to hit 30 again.  For anyone who has been there, you completely understand how emotionally draining that is to an age competitive runner.

I did however finish out the year with two PRs and the drive to get back that 5K time and even surpass it by two more minutes.

I learned the importance of varying your running surface by adding those hills that make us work so hard but seem to be the hidden key to increasing pace and help to prevent ankle injuries.

I take away from 2013 the knowledge that even though it felt like I had lost what brought me so much thrill that if the desire still remains as the smallest spark you can return with a vengeance.  It just takes a little patience and a slight kick to the ego to get you where you want to go by knowing you can do it.  You can do anything.

I have cried a weeks worth of hydration away

Chapter 110

Guess a years long journey toward a Disney first marathon has been stolen. At least that is how I feel. I went to the doctor yesterday to see options for me to be able to complete the race even if pain occurs. He decided to call an Ortho. From there I went directly to the hospital and had x-rays done on both knees. This came out normal. A little hope returns.

Today they scheduled me for a bone scan. This was an ordeal. Luckily there was a very very nice Ortho in this area. He agreed to see me today even though his office was closed. After the bone scan, they called him to see when he could see me. It was 4:30 PM by this time. They told me the scans looked normal so I was very hopeful. A little more hope returns.

I get to the office and he asks me to explain where the pain is exactly. I show him both spots on the outside of both knees. He pushed on them and they were very tender. He did other tests which caused no pain. Then he looked at me and told me that he is aware that the x-ray tech told me my bone scan was normal and that he did not agree. My heart sank.

He walked me to his office and showed me the scans. He noted the white spots exactly where I showed him I had pain. Then he gave me horrible news. I have two stress fractures in both knees.  We could also see white streaks down my shins from fractures.

At least that explains why even with all of the rolling and yoga and ice the pain has been progressively getting worse over the past couple of weeks instead of better. We talked about what could happen if I attempted the race anyway and how long it would take to heal as it is right now. By this time the tears were streaming down my face and I was apologizing profusely for being such a baby.

I asked about a run/walk plan and if he felt I’d be okay. He mentioned that runners will run through extreme pain because it is in our nature and that he knows I’ll probably give it a try anyway. I did say I would take off a full six weeks after the race but I did want to give it a try doing a run/walk. If the pain hits like it did this past weekend, I would sit my red puffy face on the side walk and cheer on everyone else as they passed me by.

As I was checking out, it took everything I had not to just burst out from the pain I was feeling and not the knee pain but emotional.  A years worth of training and high hopes are now gone. I barely made it out of the office door before I lost it. Unfortunately the poor lady at the desk shared some of my pain watching my extreme disappointment.  I thought she was going to cry right along with me.

I can not begin to explain the pain I am feeling. I feel like my dreams have been crushed. And I do fully understand that by doing the right thing and not pushing it during the race I will heal to race another day, but a year!!!!!  Training and excitement for a full year.  All of the sacrifices by me and my family so I could train.  I feel like it was such a waste of time.  The closer I got home the further I spiraled.  And unfortunately we had a house full of people when I crawled into the door.

First marathon, you only get one… DISNEY!!!

Originally posted on The Loop January 5, 2012

UGG I Fracked Up

Chapter 107

I have somehow screwed my schedule, or I invented a time portal, went through it a week ahead and then erased my memory. I have lost a week somewhere. I have 22 miles on my schedule for this Saturday. If you think about me only having 13 days until the marathon that would give me just one weekend between my long run and the race. So basically just a two week taper.

I’m a little worried about that as this whole scenario is new to me. Yes I’m in marathon nube crazy mode. I spoke with the spin instructor tonight after class as she talks about how she did Philly this year and she seems to think it should be ok. Perhaps take it to 20 miles but that two weeks should be fine. What do you guys think? I know many of you are marathon veterans. I haven’t done a long run in three weeks due to injuries and that was only 18 miles.

On to tonights workout, did 1:30 of spin. I arrived early and got in a 45 minute ride before class started. She did an endurance ride tonight and I was glad. It was exactly what I needed. Now if I can just calm my hyperactive mind I may sleep tonight.

Originally posted on The Loop December 22, 2012

Tonight I Took a Breath

Chapter 105

With only 15 days left, tonight I finally feel a little better. It was a regular spin night and I arrived an hour early. I decided instead of doing all spin, I’d head upstairs.

I packed my Kinvaras in the bag with my spin shoes and headed uber charged into the door on a mission. Changed quickly and hit the dreadmill. My plan was to do 30 minutes, since that is when the belt would stop anyway. I figured I’d go slow and get a little over 2 miles in. Instead of walking for the usual five minutes, I was raring to go after two. So I cranked ‘er up to 10min pace and monitored my achilles the whole time.

This was actually a difficult two miles even this slow. I’m thinking it may have been the fact that I was all achilles every minute. “how’s it feeling now; was that a twinge; does it feel tight; am I loosing it”. But I did not feel a thing during this run. Granted I kept it to two miles (2.30 actually not counting warm up and cool down walk) only so I was off within 25 minutes total time. Sigh of relief!

I then headed to the spin room hunkered into profile and cranked out a 30 road ride before the class began. Unfortunately by the time the class actually started I had developed a nasty side stitch that remained for two hours after the class stopped. This made it hard to get my heart rate above 170 but I stuck through it.

Now it’s midnight here, I’m wide awake and wishing we had street lights. I would probably head out just because. But since we have loose dogs, crazy teenagers that fly down our little narrow road and mega holes along the 1.25 mile loop I no longer attempt the sunless escapes.

Originally posted on The Loop December 20, 2011

I Pushed Out 8

Chapter 104

This was a cut back week. Actually it was an injury treatment week but not by choice. This achilles thing I guess worries me the most because this is the one I ruptured in 2005. I was on crutches for four months (at which time I had my wedding – you can imagine the pictures…..) so this little pain scares me. That is probably why with the slightest pain and I quit, immedaitely. Well today I pushed a little. It was a busy weekend and I really needed the break.

Yesterday we spent all day at the Williamsburg outlet mall then today at another mall visiting with Santa and finishing up our shopping. So when we arrived home, I decided to try for a run. Yes I said try. This whole week has been one failure after another, so I dialed down the determination aspect of my personality and said “try”.  It was around 40*, kind of windy but the sun was shining.

I hit the trail and an older gentleman came up to me and said I needed more clothes on.  I laughed and told him I would warm up so he just smiled and got into his car.  Kind of off topic but it always strikes me as funny to hear that.  I know how sweaty I will get but guess it is hard to understand until you actually do it yourself.  I slowly took off down the trail, presently cold yes but for only about five minutes more.

Around mile two I started to feel a couple of sharp pains. I was crushed. I stopped, massaged my achilles and calf (felt no pain doing this btw) and decided to just turn around and hopefully get in the 4. On the way back, I was able to adjust my stride enough that the achilles twinged just a little but I could comfortably keep running. So once I hit the end, I turned around again and repeated the four miles to give me my 8. I would have attempted two more but the sun was going down and there are no lights at all there. It would be total and complete darkness.

But I’m happy with the 8 even though I really worked hard the whole run to get them in. I kept it slow and steady. That was what was originally on the schedule so it was a successful day. My knees are achey but that may be due to the odd stride I was doing to prevent the achilles from hurting too badly. I’m glad I kept going. It gives me a tad bit more confidence that I will at least be able to finish the marathon in three weeks.

Originally posted on The Loop December 18, 2011

This Week I’m A Spinning Beast

Chapter 103

1:15 minutes tonight. Three nights in a row. Unfortunately due to traffic I could only get there 30 minutes early. I can spin pain free. I was going to do two miles on the treadmill before class, but walking into the gym my achilles was whispering to me. I read so many articles and posts about achilles issues today my mind is spinning also.

I did the pinch test and I feel no pain anywhere, so I’m going to take that as a good sign. Stopping as soon as it starts has probably been the best decision I’ve made in a while. I would usually just keep right on going, that runner’s denial thing.

Luckily this is a cut back week so only an 8 miler for the weekend. Hopefully I can nip this thing in the bud before it blows up more. If I can just get through March, I promise legs I’ll slow down. I want a PR for the Shamrock.

Originally posted on The Loop December 15, 2011

Now I’m Really Scared

Chapter 102

Another run bites the dust. 1.50 miles in and the achilles monster reared its head. This is not good.

So I called it quits and made my way to the spin room. I believe I huffed and puffed a little on the way. The room was empty which was probably a good thing as I plugged into my nano, hit the bottom of a hill and stayed there for 45 minutes singing every song that played. I only had one head pop in the doorway and smile. It put me in a slightly better mood although the sore tush is beyond sore now.

I’m getting ready to break out the roller and the stick and work the fool out of my legs. I’m also thinking about icing that achilles to see if that helps any.

I have spin tomorrow night but may try to get in two miles before class again. I’m hoping since I have at least done one 18 mile run that if I can keep my endurance up that will help me. I have already decided to drop my time goal and just enjoy Disney. Perhaps stop and take pictures along the route. I’ll time my next one.

Originally posted on The Loop December 14, 2011

Spinning to the Tune of a Sore Tush

Chapter 101

I arrived last night at the YMCA to discover they replaced all the spin bikes with new ones. That was nice as the others had long pass seen their glory days. However, this meant the new ones were a little stiff (which isn’t too bad for me right now) and the seats hard as rocks.

Seeing as I could not complete my run this past weekend or Monday night, I arrived to class an hour early, did a 30 minute steady climb increasing every five minutes then rolling hills until class started. So I got in a 1:45 hour ride. I was able to walk after so all was well and my legs felt stronger for it.

I have a 60 min run tonight and I’m putting the last two out of my head so I do not sike myself out. “21 days, 21 days, 21 days”. It’s been tough, but I’ve done well handling the obstacles that have been presented to me.  So two failed runs the month before my big race should not destroy four months of work, right? RIGHT!

Originally posted on The Loop December 14, 2011

Another Failed Run

Chapter 100

Tonight was tempo night. From the time I began the run nothing felt right. It felt funny running, if that makes sense. It was very left footish. My knee starting tapping on my shoulder around mile 1.5. Then around mile 3 my right achilles started to hurt. I stopped immediately. I have never felt this pain before and wasn’t taking any chance on it developing into any more serious.

I’m pretty sure it was my complete lack of form tonight. I’m not sure how I was propelled forward. It really just felt wrong tonight, which is also a first. I usually like firsts, first 5K under 30 min, first medal, first marathon coming up; not the first achilles pain, first time it just felt wrong to be running. I’m sure my mind is playing all kinds of tricks on me, but it felt too real to me.

23 days! Common really, a new pain with hardly any running……. *insert big sigh here*

Originally posted on The Loop December 12, 2011

BA or SA You Decide

Chapter 99

So I would say I may be more SA (stupid arse) than bad arse today. I have bronchitis. I get it every year around this time and keep it for about three months. ‘Pneumonia’ term is thrown my way around New Years by the docs. So this year when everyone I knew either at work or at home was sick, I injested vitamin C in any fashion I could get my hands on. This worked for a while until last week and the total and complete freak out is on!

So this morn, I had my first 20 mile run on the schedule. I only have one more long before my taper. Ok, so not only may I be slightly freaking from my “diagnosis” but I received the final race instructions email last night. You know it is getting close now….. Off topic, sorry.

After the storm we had last night, I was really hoping the predicted rain for this AM had past, but this left us in 46* temps and very windy weather. The 46* is actually good. I like it around that, but add in that wind and it did not feel anywhere near that.

I layered up and brought other clothes that I could change into to stay dry if necessary as I was looking at four hours out there and headed to the trail. I found it really hard to stay around 10:30 pace. I honestly thought this would be the toughest part of my run today. Especially since I have not done anything since Sunday’s 6. Man was I wrong……

I completed the first trail loop, which is 6 miles, then headed out to the street to do the 3 mile bike lane loop. Going out was fine, my lungs did not hurt, my knee was only slightly achey, I was confident. I was actually still keeping that 10:30 pace. As soon as I turned around the running gods laughed at me.

The head wind was pushing. I went immediately from a 10:30 to a 12:30 even giving all I had. I began having difficulty breathing. I mean I do have bronchitis and probably should not be attempting this to begin with, but stubborn is my middle name. Wait, no, determined…

Anyway, I had 1.50 miles of this wind blowing into me so hard my hair was flying, shirt flapping and I’m sure I looked like one of those slow motion cartoon characters running. I could see the beginning of the trail approaching, way too slowly. “If I can just keep going a little further the trees will block some of this wind.” This became my moto. It took everything I could muster to stay around 13:30 half a mile to go. I must admit with only .10 to left to reach trail I had to stop and walk. Determination can only get you so far with the summation of all the conditions I had. (thus the SA)

So by now I had been pumping my arms so hard, even while walking, just to move a little, that my shoulders were killing me and my knee – oh my knee…… I stopped by the car, took a few moments to catch my breath and do some light stretching. Everything was tight from head to toe. I could barely move even my toes, or was that because they were wet and frozen, hmmmm.

Once I could finally breath without wheezing again, I began down the trail for round two. I got a mile into this loop and I could no longer handle the pain in my knee. It became the sharp, sticking pins in it kind of pain. I knew this meant I was done. I turned around and walked the mile plus back to my car with thoughts that I would rest for a little while and head back out the door around my neighborhood for the remaining 7.50. Unfortunately the second run never happened. My knee became so stiff even though I had been stretching and rolling the whole time that walking seems impossible.

The real bad news is I actually felt ok (odd right?). I was keeping the pace slow, after the wind blow out it stayed around 12mm. I could go no faster, but I could go. I thoroughly believe if it hadn’t been for my knee I could have definitely handled the 20 even being sick. Instead I ended up with 12.50 in 2:20:00. Ekk.

So my plan is instead of taking a rest day tomorrow, if the knee is feeling better, to get in 8. This will get me 20 for the weekend and give me two weeks to heal up everything more before my 22 mile, “last chance” run.

Originally posted on The Loop December 10, 2011