Pushing the Restart Button

1 Feb

After 3 weeks off from running to heal my IT band, I tentatively returned to running 2 Saturdays ago.  My 9-year-old son is in the Marathon Kids program at school, where the kids run 26 miles over the course of the school year.  He was looking to get in a mile run to help increase his total mileage for the year.

The weather was perfect — sunny, dry and in the 50s.  So we headed off to Sugar Land Memorial Park to hit the trail together.  When we run together, I always let Peter set the pace, so that he does not go too fast trying to keep up with me.  We had a nice run around the jogging path, which is slightly more than a mile.  It was good mother-son bonding time, and I enjoyed our conversation.  When we rounded the corner and could see the pavilion where we had started, I challenged him to sprint to the end.  We both took off at full speed, and he beat my by just a nose!

The biggest thrill of all, though, was that my IT band didn’t bother me at all on that run.  So, I figured I was ready to start training for my next event — Angie’s Half-Crazy Half-Marathon on March 27.  I found an intermediate level, 8-week half-marathon training schedule to follow.

My first run was this morning — 3 miles at an easy pace.  Thankfully, I made it out the door before the awful, Arctic cold front blew through town.  I felt good and hit the 1-mile mark about 20-30 seconds faster than my normal pace.  But at mile 2, I felt that familiar twinge in my IT band.  Not pain, but the feeling of soft tissue tightening up.  I ended up walking most of the last mile to avoid further injury.

I think, for now, I will have to continue using the run/walk interval method.  Walking does not irritate my IT band, so I am hopeful that 1-minute spurts of walking after every 5-7 minutes of running will allow me to continue my training.  I’ll post the remainder of my running schedule later this week.

Staying Positive

11 Jan

Those who know me well know that I’m not always a “glass is half-full” kind of person.  I know this and work hard to try to change my perspective on things.  I am still sorely (literally!) disappointed about not being able to run the marathon, but I know that my rest and down time is helping me heal so that I can get back to doing what I love — running!*

I also am hopeful that my beloved husband will still be able to run the Houston Marathon.  He, too, is battling a tendonitis issue, but seems to be recovering well and in sufficient time to go ahead with the marathon. 

So, the good news about my not running is that (a) we won’t need a babysitter for the kids and (b) I’ll get to see him finish the race!  If I were running too, I wouldn’t be there to cheer him on because he’d finish way ahead of me. 

19 days and counting….

*This week, I’m definitely more than happy to be staying in my nice warm bed instead of out running in the pre-dawn freezing cold!

Uncle!

3 Jan

I made another attempt at 14 miles this weekend.  About 1.5 miles into the run, my IT band started to ache.  Though I felt like I could have run further, I decided not to push it.  Fourteen miles was definitely out of the question, so I decided to just turn around and head home.

At this point — 4 weeks from the Houston Marathon — I have concluded that it is unrealistic for me to be able to run the marathon. 

I am sorely disappointed (no pun intended).  My head knows this is best, but my heart still hurts.

I’ve now got my sights set on Angie’s Half Crazy Half-Marathon on March 27th.  I’ll spend the next few weeks cross-training and resting and letting my leg heal before I hit the road again.

Help Me, Neuromuscular Therapy! You’re My Only Hope!

30 Dec

 I continue to be frustrated with my right leg.  After having quite a bit of pain Sunday and into Monday, I have not run at all this week.  I finally decided that a call to my neuromuscular therapist was in order.  Neuromuscular therapy (NMT) is basically a form of focused, deep tissue massage, which uses pressure applied to muscle trigger points to relieve tension.  It is performed on a massage table while you are fully dressed.

My therapist worked my IT band first from several different angles.  I definitely had a lot of tightness there, but nothing that seemed so painful that it was causing all of my issues.  Then she moved up into my glutes and found an enormous knot!  She worked it over quite well to release the muscle and spent some time working on my hamstring and calf as well just to get my whole leg relaxed.  She followed that with some stretching of my quads, hamstrings and glutes.

I felt like a million bucks when I finished my 30-minute session!  I will make another attempt at 14 miles this weekend, and I am optimistic about my prospects for completing the distance.  A glimmer of hope for the marathon still remains!

The Dream Begins to Fade

27 Dec

It has been 2 weeks since my IT band staged a revolt 9.5 miles into the Sugar Land 30K.  I dutifully followed my orthopedist’s orders to rest for the entire first week following my injury and to ice the area daily.  With each passing day, my pain and mobility improved, leaving me hopeful about last week.

Last week, I ran 2 miles on Tuesday morning, but my leg started to ache after about 1.5 miles.  On Thursday, I ran 3 miles.  My IT band felt a little tight by the end, but no pain.  I took that as a sign of improvement and decided that I would rest until Sunday before attempting a long run.

The schedule called for 21 miles this weekend.  That was obviously out of the question, but I thought I’d shoot for 14.  The nice thing about our 14-mile route is that there is a crossroads at mile 7.  You can turn left and run two miles back home in the event things aren’t going well.  Or you can turn right, run for 2.5 miles, then turn around and go home to complete the entire 14-mile course.

I headed out into the cold at 6 a.m. yesterday.  I went very easy on my pace, just telling myself that I wanted to cover the distance, no matter how slowly.  I was feeling good and all my thoughts focused around completing the 14 miles. 

That is, until around mile 6, when my IT band started to tighten up. 

Like my 3-mile run last week, it was tight but not painful, so I kept running.  By the time I reached the decision point at mile 7, however, my leg had started to ache.  I thought about turning right and trying to gut it out, but my orthopedist’s words echoed in my head:

I know it’s hard not to panic with the marathon just 7 weeks away, but I guarantee you that if you don’t let this heal, you won’t even cross the starting line.

So, I decided to turn left and head home.  A half-mile later, I couldn’t run anymore, so had to walk the last 1.5 miles home.  Nonetheless, I wasn’t in pain while I walked and was able to keep a decent walking pace.  I was disappointed that I couldn’t make the whole distance, but still hopeful that my leg was on the mend.

By midday, however, the pain had returned.  I couldn’t bend my knee and felt like I was right back where I started two weeks before.  That forced me to start coming to grips with the fact that it appears unlikely I’ll be able to run the Houston Marathon. 

To say I’m disappointed is an understatement.  I was so pleased to have won a spot in the new lottery system and the fact that Hubby also got in seemed to good to be true.  I know that there are other marathons and this isn’t the end of the world.  But when you’ve been working hard toward a goal and looking forward to it for so long, it’s a bit painful to see it slip away.

I will continue trying to heal my injury and to see if by some miracle I can make it to the starting line on January 30th.  However, I also want to be smart and not make things worse by being stubborn and bullheaded.  I have 5 more weeks, so we’ll see how things progress…

Schedule — Week of 12/20 and Injury Update

21 Dec

On doctor’s orders, I rested all of last week and skipped my scheduled 12-mile long run last Saturday.  I am taking Celebrex, and it truly helped my IT band feel better and less sore with every passing day.  By Friday, I felt good enough to run, but didn’t want to push myself back too early.

This week’s (modified) schedule:

Monday:  Rest

Tuesday:  20 minutes

Wednesday:  30 minutes

Thursday:  Rest

Friday:  Rest

Saturday:  10-14 miles, depending on how my leg feels

The schedule calls for 21 miles this week, but that’s just not in the cards with my injury.  And, it’s Christmas for crying out loud!

I ran for 22 minutes this morning.  I felt good and probably ran a bit faster than my normal training pace just because I was so excited to be back in my running shoes.  After about 15 minutes, though, my IT band started to ache.  I also dialed down my run-walk intervals from 7:1 to 5:1, just to be safe.

My First DNF

14 Dec

This post was supposed to be a race report on the Sugar Land 30K, which took place on December 12th.  In a way, it is a race report, I suppose, but not the kind I’d prefer to write about.

After a minor disaster at the start line where I missed the starting gun while in the port-a-potty, I finally did catch up to the pack, passed all the walkers and settled into a nice rhythm and pace.  I was running about 11:00 miles, which was slower than I wanted, but I also knew I had a long way to go and that I’d likely speed up as the race progressed, so I didn’t worry too much about it.  After all, my primary goal was just to finish.  The course is horribly dull — 3 miles out, then 3 loops of 4 miles each, then 3 miles back. 

Around 9.5 miles in (almost halfway into my second loop), I had to stop to use the facilities again.  When I returned to the race course, the first step I landed on my right foot resulted in sharp pain on the outside of my right knee.  I stepped out of the way of the runners to rub it and stretch, then started up again.  It was still painful, but I was hopeful I could run through it and the pain would subside.  Over the next 2 miles, however, the pain did not go away.  I had to stop several times.  At 11.5 miles, I realized that I would not be able to complete the race. 

We were on a residential street, so I moved off of the narrow race course on to the sidewalk.  About a quarter-mile later, some wonderful spectators offered me a ride to the finish line, about 4 miles away.  I accepted without hesitation!

I had hoped to get there in time to see Hubby finish, but he ran a great time (a PR of 2:42) and so I missed him.

But as I stood there watching strangers and even some friends and acquaintances finish the race with arms raised high and big smiles on their faces, the disappointment of my first ever DNF settled in.  The most frustrating thing was that, at the point where I stopped, I had been running for 2 hours.  I was feeling strong, and with just over 10K left, I was beginning to feel confident about a good finish.

I have often said that long-distance running is at least 80% mental and that if your mind can persevere over your body, you can succeed.  In this instance, my body won.  I know I did the right thing by stopping when I did to avoid further injury.  But it doesn’t lessen the disappointment.  I ran into my friend Claudia at the finish line.  She could see in my face how unhappy I was and, like any good friend, she didn’t need to say anything.  She just hugged me and let me cry.

Post-script:  My orthopedist believes I have an acute case of IT band syndrome.  He said it’s definitely odd that it happened so suddenly, but that his physical examination didn’t lead him to believe I had torn any of the soft tissue, which is great news.  He put me on Celebrex, advised me to ice the area and rest this week, probably skipping my scheduled 12-mile long run on Saturday.  It will be difficult to rest with the marathon only 7 weeks away, but I know I need rest so I can heal.

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