Archive | December, 2010

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.

Do Turkeys Really Trot?

7 Dec

For the second year in a row, I signed up the family for the Sugar Land Surgical Hospital Turkey Trot.  My husband wondered whether it might more aptly be called the “Sugar Land Turkey Run for Your Life” because, let’s face it, if someone’s trying to kill you and eat you, you’re probably not going to be moving at a leisurely trot.

But I digress.

The race is a nice, active way to start Thanksgiving Day alongside friends and neighbors from our community.  There are only about 1500 participants, so it really does feel like a community event.

The day began with a 1-mile race for the kids.  Peter, my 9-year-old, was excited for the race and had a goal to finish in less than 11:40.  It’s funny — Peter is the decidedly less athletic child, but he has really been inspired by Hubby and me and our decision to lead a more active lifestyle.  After Hubby completed his first sprint triathlon last summer, Peter decided to train for a kids’ triathlon.  He completed his event in August and has joined Marathon Kids at school this year.  He was excited for the Turkey Trot and comfortable running the race on his own.

Jacob, my 7-year-old, didn’t have a stated goal.  But probably the single overarching goal in his young life has been to beat his brother.  At anything.  Jacob, though he enjoys sports, was grumpy that I had decided to sign him up for this race.  He was a little less confident in his distance-running abilities and requested that Daddy accompany him.

After the National Anthem was played, the gun went off and so did the kids.  My father-in-law and I waited patiently at the finish line to cheer them on.  I kept looking for Peter’s head of shiny black hair to come into view.  Much to my surprise, the first familiar sight I saw was Jacob, with Daddy running just behind him encouraging him to sprint for the finish!  Peter followed a few seconds later, with a finish time of 10:52.  What a day — Jacob beat his brother AND Peter beat his goal time.  Everybody wins!

About 20 minutes later, it was time for Hubby and me to line up for the 5-miler.  It was a warm, humid, sunny day, which wasn’t ideal for running.  Thankfully, the course winds through a stately older neighborhood with lots of mature trees to provide shade.  My finish time last year was around 59 minutes, so my only real goal was to try to beat that time.  Additionally, I knew we had a 12-mile run scheduled two days later, so I was trying my hardest to treat this as a training run instead of a race.

Ultimately, I finished in 51:59, even though I really did not push myself.  Again, mission accomplished!  I stayed to cheer on some of my friends, then we headed home to begin the cooking frenzy for Thanksgiving.

I love that we have started this tradition of participating in the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving.  It gets the day off to a good start and sure helps ease the guilt over that second helping of mashed potatoes!

Schedule — Week of 12/6 and Weekly Recap

6 Dec

My schedule for this week is:

Monday: 20 minutes easy

Tuesday: 30 minute tempo run

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 30 minute tempo run

Friday:  Rest

Saturday:  Rest

Sunday:  Sugar Land 30K

And here’s how I fared last week:

Monday:  40 minutes easy [legs felt like concrete, but slogged through 40 minutes]

Tuesday: 6×1 min./2 min. [still very tired, so opted out of speedwork this week]

Wednesday: 20 minutes easy [legs feeling better, so this short run went well]

Thursday: 30 minute tempo run [missed due to a busy schedule]

Friday:  Rest [got in my 30 minute tempo run today]

Saturday:  14 miles [relatively warm for December 4th, which made it a bit more difficult than recent long runs.  Forgot my sunglasses, which made the last 1.5 miles difficult because they were directly into the sun.  Learning how to use Hammer Nutrition Perpetuem Solids, which really seem to help my energy levels more than just Gu alone.]