Posts Tagged ‘injury’

Back To It

I didn’t run a single step between November 17th and December 1st. I walked some, I might have dashed across a cross-walk, but no running for the joy of running. Late in those two sedentary weeks, my body felt bloated and my mind felt cluttered. It was driving me slowly insane not to feel confident enough to go for a run. I never quite grasp how important running is for my mental health until I have to go an extended period without it.

This Monday past, I packed my green gym bag with a technical shirt, sports bra, running pants, socks and shoes for the first time in a long time and committed to starting my plan to get faster.

I am going back to the beginning, back to where I started. Couch to 5k. When I started running in April of 2010, it was in the basement of the parking deck of my office. I was too embarrassed to be seen doing it in public, so it was slow, sweaty walk/run laps in the darkness of the deck. At the very beginning, even the 60 seconds of running in the first week was too much for my terrible conditioning. I think I had to spend two weeks on every single week of the plan for a while, and I think I was hung up on week 5 with a 20 minute run for 3 or 4 weeks before I succeeded.

But ultimately, I did succeed and of course finally found my way out of the darkness of the parking deck and into the light of day. And I eventually went a lot farther than a 5k, too, but never at any speed much better than maybe an 11 minute mile.

I want to run faster but have not had much success just trying to speed up with the normal types of ways to get faster, all of which are variations on just run faster and run up hills. I remember that C25K worked for me and so I think it would work for me again, just running faster. So Monday, I put myself on the treadmill and walked at 3.2 mph for 90 seconds, and then sped it up to 7.0 mph for 90 seconds. Wash, rinse, repeat until 25 minutes are up. This was actually Week 2 of the plan, but my conditioning is good enough that I was able to skip Week 1 altogether. So 7.0 mph was challenging without being crushing, but I was glad too when I got my walk breaks.

Wednesday, I decided I could walk faster on my walk breaks so I set the slow speed for 3.5 mph and kept my run speed at 7.0. I was not sure how the run would go considering I had roller skated for 90 minutes the night before, but it went fine. I will finish Week 2 of the plan today at lunch.

Are you surprised that I feel a bit intimidated by next week’s plan? I will have a couple of 3 minute runs at full speed. And the Friday after Christmas, if I can keep up with the plan, there is a 20 minute run at speed. That is not just intimidating; at this moment, it just seems flat out impossible to run an 8:30ish couple of miles on the treadmill without stopping.

Now it is not currently my plan to suddenly become a 8:30 minute miler. It is my plan to get closer to a 9:30 to 9:45 minute miler. But since I am doing this on the treadmill (so I can easily control my pace), I am training at a faster than goal pace to compensate for the easier to run on surface. It is only a theory that this will work; in a few weeks, I will start running outdoors again and that is when I will see whether my theory translates to faster outdoor runs.

Stay tuned. It should be interesting.

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Temporary

Every action must also have an equal and opposite reaction.

Isn’t that the Third Law of Motion? Seems like an appropriate quote today. Yesterday was a day of joyful post-race exuberance. I searched for new races to run. I read up on full marathon distance training. I hugged a couple of people, showed off my race medal to a few others, shared race experiences with others who ran, and got asked again and again how it went.

Today, the Third Rule seemingly must be obeyed. Blue. Low. Down. Lonely. Unhappy.

Ah, how could I possibly have forgotten about post-race blues?

My intent to fight back against them today had been initially to go to the gym and work out (not run, sadly; my knee is still very sore and stiff). Then I was asked to go get something on my lunch hour for the office (I am in the half and half creamer club and it was my turn to buy half and half). That would have made for a nice walk in the sun, so I shifted to that plan.

And then I got caught up in an epic, lunch hour-consuming project for work, and here I sit, angry at an attorney who isn’t even aware he is being thoughtless, frustrated that my plans were overturned, and mad that I let myself get derailed without fighting back.

I know I will feel better in a day or so. I know this is a temporary mental state (just like yesterday’s over-the-top feeling was, too).

Could It Be That Simple?

I am more or less recovered from my recent illnesses and my knee got a decent rest, but it is not healed.

It has been driving me crazy wondering why my knee has acted up two years consecutively during my autumn race training, but not at all during my two spring training cycles. What has been the difference? I contemplated the mileage (they were pretty similar), the training routes (pretty much no difference), the pace (again, the same), but it wasn’t until this morning that it dawned on me.

It’s the shoes, dummy.

Training for my first Instant Classic in 2012, I did have some hip pain (not in my knee). I was wearing crappy New Balances and went to ThreeSports where they said I needed a much more supportive shoe. They put me in Brooks Adrenalines and the hip pain vanished. Last autumn, the mileage was getting high on those Adrenalines and when I walked into RoadRunner one day, I found a pair of Adrenalines ASRs on sale for $50 and even in my size. Same shoes, just made for trails, right?

Two weeks or so later, last year’s IT band pain kicked in. I got it treated, quit using the ASRs and I switched back to my older Adrenalines to run the race.

I switched back and forth between pairs until I got my new Adrenalines in early February this year. No IT issues and they served me well all year.

It was the first week of September when I decided to switch to the less supportive Brooks Ghost 6. I liked them just fine, especially that they were lighter and they were a size larger, which was a good thing. But here I am not wearing Adrenalines again and I have IT band issues again.

Correlation does not equal causation, but next year when I get my next set of running shoes, you can bet I am going back to Adrenalines.

Dropped on My Face

So I posted about being injured and my plan to get back on the road. Modestly optimistic and all that.

The next morning, I was sitting at my desk getting my morning going when a worrisome tell-tale heat began to develop in my eyes. Isn’t that weird? That is exactly how I know when a fever is coming on though; when my eyeballs feel hotter than the skin around them. I don’t know if the sensation is unique to me, but I do know it heralds major trouble.

I was leaving work early to take Byram to a medical appointment that day anyway, so I knew I only had to hang on until his appointment was over, but I gotta tell you, I was suffering by 2pm and we were headed back to Chesterfield. I remember very little of the drive and nothing about the discussion we were having (which couldn’t have been much; my throat hurt too much to talk). We got home and I practically crawled up the stairs (my knees and back hurt so much) and crashed into bed without so much as getting out of my work clothes.

It would be 48 more hours before I dragged my sorry self to the doctor and get my diagnosis. The Flu and something so alike to strep throat that even though it didn’t pop in the petri dish, the doc decided it treat it the same.

The Flu?!? I had gotten my flu shot three weeks before to the day when the fever kicked in. The doc reminded me that it isn’t a 100% guarantee preventative measure. She knows I run half marathons and asked me if I was training. I told her about my 14 mile distance last weekend and she said the peak point in training can take a toll on runner’s immune system. Add a fragile immune system to the fact that I took my daughter to the pediatrician’s office on Monday of that week, I was set up to catch All The Things.

And so I did. I rarely get sick, but when I do, it’s kind of like the Hand of God reaches down and simply drops me on my face. Today is the first day the splitting headache has finally relented. I was able to get up and take a shower and put on a change of clothes. I foam rolled my still achy back and legs. Still no real appetite, but at least I am on the mend.

So no mileage this week. I am not sure I would have the stamina even today to log a single mile. I have to grocery shop in a little while, and I anticipate landing on the couch for the rest of the afternoon after that. I am hoping that maybe by Tuesday or Wednesday I will be able to run a little. I know I will have to take it easy, but I have to get back on my feet and get moving.

Race day is coming. I suffered some set backs this week, but they aren’t going to stop me or hold me back. I was searching my jewelry box for a gold dollar coin (Grace lost her first baby tooth this morning) and while I didn’t find a coin, I did find my drawer full of race medallions. I am not the type to display my medals, but coming across them was a great motivator and brought a smile to my face. I can’t wait to add a new one to the drawer.

Busted

I could probably save myself a bunch of typing and just go back to a year ago and copy and paste my posts from last October into this year.

Four weeks to race day. One very long run. And I’m broken again.

I ran my 14 miles successfully on Saturday. I foam rolled before I left the house that morning. I came home and took an ice bath. I received a professional stretching session. I was up and at ’em for the rest of the day, no problems. Sunday was more of the same. Slightly sore muscles but no issues.

Yesterday, I took myself out for a (relatively) easy 7 miler, and by mile 3, I knew I wasn’t going to make it; my left knee was killing me. It’s that familiar anterior pain I know so well. My IT band is jacked up. Last year it was the right knee, this year it is the left. I came home after only 5 of my 7 planned miles.

I am frustrated. Why does this happen in the Summer/Autumn training season but not the Winter/Spring? I have run two half marathons in March with no IT issues, and I am getting ready for my second November race, and have my second major IT injury. It can’t just be the long distance runs triggering it because I would have the same problems during my spring training.

I know the drill. Back off running. Stretch. Ice. Tape. Compression. Massage. I could pay the $35 a session to go see Dr. Green at Active Chiropractic, but work and finance considerations don’t really allow for that (work more than anything else).

This is so familiar that I can set myself my own treatment plan. No running this week; I will consign myself to the stationary bike. I am icing it regularly (like, right now). Foam rolling. Self-massaging the band along my knee. Stretch breaks in the conference room.

We are supposed to run 10 miles on Saturday. I was really looking forward to it because first, it’s a drop back week, second, 10 miles is my favorite distance, and third, it will be in the 30s on Saturday morning and I love cold weather running. Now my week will be full of self-doubt and questioning on whether I should go or not go. I *want* to go. I *need* to go. But I also can tell you from experience that it would probably be best if I didn’t go.

What a depressing reality.

Owie, Again

I am dancing around the edge of being injured again. Another very common, typical runner injury; my left piriformis is angry at me. In the colloquial, my butt hurts.

It isn’t crippling, although every now and then I will get gasp-inducing shocks of pain in my left hip when I take a step, but they have come down in frequency since I started addressing the issue with stretches starting back on Sunday.

I am frustrated because I know the reason I am hurt; I sit at a desk all day and I have extremely inflexible hip flexors and weak hip abductors. Even Dr. Green commented that I have extraordinarily inflexible hip flexors when he was adjusting me back during the last round of IT problems.

It is not my habit to really stretch out after a run; I am time-pressed, I am overtired, I am rushed to get back to the office/home/wherever, insert whatever other excuse here. Further, I haven’t done any sort of strengthening exercises for my hips and glutes. As I said even in my last blog post, I haven’t been doing any lower body workouts aside from running. Well, the hens have come home to roost because of all my excuses.

Of all the possible times to be injured and need a little bit of rest from running, this isn’t the worst possible time at least. The next two weeks will see me sucked down the rabbit hole of SCA activities, and I have no long runs planned at all. I will keep my short runs on my schedule, and keep the stretching going that I have been doing. I need to find a hard ball to use on the piriformis muscle itself because the foam roller cannot get deep enough into the mass of muscles in that area. I need to keep up my daily stretching I am doing when I wake up in the morning. But I also really need to incorporate something like yoga into my routine, and I have known that for a good long while.

Like last time, I will set myself up a treatment plan including stretching, deep tissue massage (with a ball), and strengthening exercises. If it doesn’t resolve in the next 2 weeks with my own homework, I’ll call Dr. Green and get on his calendar. I guess I also need to find a yoga class at the Y to take on a semi-regular basis too.

I just wish yoga was as fun as running. I suppose it is more fun than being injured, though.

Press On, Regardless

I probably should not start a brain dump at 0500 on the Monday of race week, but I wanted to move the last post out of the top slot.

Saturday morning, I made the decision to do the last 6 mile training run with the team. It was just driving me crazy not to run, so I went and I am so glad I did. While the route drove me absolutely bonkers with zigs and zags through unfamiliar streets, I guess trying to keep track of where I was going helped keep my brain off other things. I was fighting a lot of negativity at first; I hated the route, I started out kind of hot trying to pace with a faster runner, my knee was pinging earlier than it had on the previous 12 mile run. At the 15 minute mark I was so aggravated that if I hadn’t already been desperately lost, I think I would have turned back to the stadium (maybe that’s why they chose this nutty route???).

Fortunately, I was able to turn it all around with the phrase “Press on, regardless.” I picked it up last week while sitting on a stationary bike, aggravated with my injury, aggravated not to be outdoors on the floodwall on a perfect day, and just aggravated. I read the article “My Wife’s Spandex” from a back issue of Blue Ridge Outdoors, about a guy on his first century bike ride and his sufferings and travails with that distance, particularly when NOTHING went right for him, down to grabbing his wife’s shorts accidentally before the ride. At his darkest moment, another rider came along and helped him work through it, and said to him “Press on, regardless.”

I think I am going to write that on my forearms in Sharpie marker on Saturday morning. It is the choice I have made thus far; to press on, regardless, and now I have to see it through to the very last.

So that came into my aggravated brain on Saturday; about the same time, I passed the guy who I had followed on the 10 miler and had tried to pace with at the start of the run that morning. I knew he and I were both dealing with IT band issues, both of us getting sports treatment for our injuries, and both of us committed to finishing out, regardless. He had stopped and was stretching and clearly hurting. I asked if I could help, but of course there isn’t anything I could have done, so I uttered the same words, “Press on, regardless.” I moved on and didn’t see him again until he got back to the stadium a little later, but he did finish. I hope he can heal up this week.

Same as I hope for me.

I could have deferred my race to 2013. The only financial loss would have been the cost of the training team, and I would find the $75 or so dollars to run with them again next year; the hours and time spent training are never a loss, no matter what. I chose not to defer out of pride (you know, the chief of all sins …). I have chosen to press on, regardless.

Early this morning, I decided to go look up my chiropractor’s Ironman race results on the Ironman website. I was just curious; how long DOES it take to swim, bike, and run 140.6 miles? For my doctor, about 11 hours and 37 minutes. I was trying to wrap my brain around it as I looked over his splits. This was where I found a major surprise: in his marathon splits, he started out running sub-8 minute miles (after just finishing a 112 mile bike ride!!!). But around mile 13, he started slowing down towards paces that are in my rage of normal speed (which is to say, slow); and then somewhere around mile 19, he suddenly pulled up to a 24 minute mile pace; meaning he almost assuredly stopped. You don’t stop at 19 miles in a race except for one reason. You’re hurt.

His next split was a 19 minute mile pace (brisk walk), then the last two splits were in the 14 minute mile range; he was probably walking and running to finish his 140 mile race. He pressed on, regardless. That kind of hit me: my doctor was hurt; the guy who is helping me just try and finish 13 miles just completed 140 miles and finished anyway, even though he was hurt. Now, I don’t know the story and I don’t have the courage to ask him (I’ll ask him how his race was, but I don’t expect these details), but you can work out all kinds of scenarios in your head.

Having already done 12 miles on my dorked up knee, I know what to expect. I know what level of pain I am looking at finishing in, what pain I will feel for the 24-48 hours after the race, and I also know that a couple of days after the race, I will be okay, and officially fulfilling the “R” of RICEing my knee. An IT band is not a serious deal; it is painful, and it can be lingering, but it won’t lead to long-term or chronic injury, it won’t cause structural damage, and it won’t land me in the hospital.

I can do this but I will admit I am struggling with fear. Not fear of failure, but fear of pain. I am working on my brain to quit anticipating the pain (the source of my fear); while at the same time accepting that this will hurt (the source of the courage to do it anyway). Even on a good day, for me, 13 miles are gonna hurt, so Saturday won’t be any special exception. I will force the fear aside, into some lockbox in the back of my brain where it can do no harm and I will press on, regardless.