Friday, October 12, 2012
Just gonna throw this out there... when I take time to think about what I want to share in a blog, it never gets written... HA! I accuse my Daughter all the time of being an “over-thinker”, she comes by it honest!!
I am about to end week 13 of my 16 week Marathon training program and following my final long run this Sunday (with a half-marathon sandwiched between), I’ll begin my taper.
When I last blogged, I shared an overwhelming (to me) experience of attempting a PR in what proved to be a very daunting half-marathon in Indianapolis. My training up to that point, and seemingly the first few runs following, was going so well.. in fact, far too well. I feared at any point I was going to hit a wall or something. I mean, wasn’t my 16 miler or 18 miler or 20 miler, at least ONE of those supposed to leave me in tears, doubting my ability to run further?? I can’t say they were EASY by any means, but they all left me invigorated and I felt good. It wasn’t, however, till my 20.4 (oops, overshot my estimation of how far to the car), that I really felt my body could carry me 6 more. I had 20 more on the schedule for the following weekend, but that was not to be.
As I noted in my half-marathon blog, the day before that half I had run a short 2 miler in my “go to” shoes; my trusty Asics Nimbus 12s that brought me back (both mentally & physically) from the 2 stress fractures I had suffered last year. After months of dealing with what I’ll refer to as “foot & body manipulation” issues prior to the fractures, I turned to a neutral, cushioned shoe and for me they worked well!! The pair I had been training in (my 2nd pair) had reached over 370 miles & I never push shoes that far but Asics no longer makes the shoe and has since had 2 upgrades. In fact, I had ordered this pair from Amazon and had trouble finding another pair I could afford, outside of E-Bay. I decided I was going to have to give in & buy another shoe or try the upgrade at some point in time & reviews of the next upgrade were mixed. I tried both the Nimbus 13 & 14 and the 13 felt better on my foot. I also ordered a pair of Brooks Ghost 5s which had received good reviews for a cushioned neutral but I had problems with the way my arch fell in the right shoe (go figure), they didn’t feel right so I sent them back. And for the 1st time (during this 2 miler), I felt the cushion inside my “oldie goldie go tos” was breaking down, not to mention the fact the tread was bound to be worn & rain was in the forecast for this half. So on race morning, in a rush to get to Indianapolis for hubby to meet a client & to get to the Expo & check in to the hotel, I stopped by the store & bought the Asics 13s.
The race (as I blogged) was quite the disaster, high morning temps & high humidity with a severe storm nearby moving close, sweating buckets at start & starting out faster than I should have, I began to ache just over half way in and the aching became almost more than I could bear 3/4 into the game. At mile 12.5 I felt I was going to hit the wall & doubted my ability to even finish. My hips & low back ached throughout the run which I attributed to the weather conditions, my off the charts sweat rate and the reality that I was pushing myself beyond reason wanting that sub 2 hour PR. Following this race weekend, I ran (in these shoes) a 16 & an 18 when I discovered my first “black toenail”, I decided with swelling feet at these distances they were probably too tight & took them back to exchange for a 1/2 size larger & with more room in the toe box, these felt good. So all is well and I run the 20.4 miler (with the final 4 at racing speeds as I was running late for my Grandson’s birthday party). All was seemingly well until the following week.
The night before this 20 miler, I had noticed swelling in my left ankle which I suspected came from a TRX workout I had done that day, suspending in plank position with my feet in the straps & twisting from center plank to side. I had a bruise on the medial aspect of that ankle & began to ice. I iced often & rested it a few days (missing my 2nd 20 miler in the process), but no regrets, it did the trick & that ankle was much better. On the Sunday I was supposed to run that 2nd 20 miler, I attended a family reunion & wore the new Asics 13s, something I rarely do but hey, they matched my T-Shirt & Jeans well :) That evening, my hips & the lateral part of my right lower leg (peroneals) ached so badly I took ibuprofin to relieve the pain... something I rarely do, not a fan of meds if I can avoid them. From that point on, those peroneal muscles & the calf have been tight & I was actually running in pain (left ankle pain flared back up as well)... cutting back on mid week distances, it didn’t go away, I couldn’t run 3 miles without hurting & I was beginning to doubt my ability to do my Marathon.. after all the weeks of satisfying, wonderful training runs, after all the sweat I had lost running in brutal 100+ summer temps, I was in tears at the thought when it finally hit me, DUHHHHHHH... “it could be your shoes!!!!!”...
... so I dug out my oldie goldies from the Salvation Army donation bag I had just placed them in, and I ran a mile in them. Wa La... NO pain, only a tad in those peroneals but not pain, just a tad of soreness. In the midst of all this I had ordered a pair of Nimbus 12s (one of the only remaining available) from E-Bay. They didn’t feel quite right & I had given them to my daughter. I retrieved them, so now I have 2 pair of my trusty Nimbus 12s. When I run in my oldie godies, I feel almost no pain but have to admit I feel the road a bit; not as much cushion as usual, they’re clearly breaking down & I’m not sure they’ll carry me thru a Marathon. When I run in the E-Bay pair, I still feel aches in those lower right leg peroneals & calf... what’s a girl to do?? With 7 tomorrow, 20 to 22 this Sunday (which I’ll do by running a few miles, a half then a few miles more), and a taper in my immediate future... time will tell :) right? What’s a girl to do...
Hmmmm.... Jeff Galloway’s the keynote speaker at a pre-race dinner I’m attending this weekend, maybe he’ll know... no worries... I won’t bore him with my saga :) I’ll save that boredom for all of you!!!
Monday, September 03, 2012
I heard my name & my town announced as I approached the line, I walked several yards to the medal table where a kind volunteer handed me my medal, a banana, a water & a rose and then... oops LOL can you believe I totally forgot to stop my Garmin... so I turned my wrist, pushed stop & glanced at my screen which read: TA DA... 2:00. LOL I had to laugh at my absent mindedness (a/k/a as y’all have heard me refer to it “mental pause”.. after all the work & racing to reach that sub 2 I didn’t even think to stop my Garmin). Soon after a lady walked up and used a handheld device to scan my bib. Someone later told me they thought this was for “back up”?? I don’t know, I’ve never had a timing device that looked like the one on the back of my bib.
So I walk the finishers walkway (best term I can think of LOL) and as I stop to have my pic taken so I’ll have a memento of my historic home state half, my right calf began to cramp. After the photo I looked for hubby & son but they were nowhere to be found. Turns out they couldn’t find a parking spot within a couple miles of the race & were caught up in traffic due to the closed roads, but I didn’t know that, Jay had my phone. So I walk, (as cramping is coming & going in calves & toes & now a hip cramp), toward a tent marked “massage”. Just short of that tent the strangest thing happened, my calves, hamstrings, quads & hips literally all “seized up” & my entire lower body stiffened as it would in a seizure... I couldn’t stand on my feet at all, had no feeling in them and thank goodness I was on a sidewalk but near the grass so I just folded at the hip flexors & hit the grass on my (nicely padded lol) butt bone & fell to my back. I was so embarrassed as several people ran over to see if I was okay. I sat up & assured them I was only cramping and as I attempted to stretch it just hurt worse. Once I got myself stable enough I devoured the banana (up to that point any food sounded yuk)... I massaged & stretched as best I could, borrowed a phone to try & reach my hubby and after about 20 mins I made my way to the massage tent as a nice older lady offered me her umbrella to use as a cane. I waited about an hour for my turn but the massage techs were medical experts & this guy was incredible! (and quite gracious to work on my soaking wet, muddy body). He worked on active release, massaged my muscles, used a (blow dryer looking thingy) to roll over the muscles affected. He worked over my lower half over 20 mins & I felt so much better which was good considering I had to drive our son’s car home (for some needed repairs).
Hubs had finally met up w/ me and we spent a wonderful day with our Son then headed home. When I checked online for official finish times.. I couldn’t find my name and a search of my bib number showed it was assigned to another runner. By morning, however, this was cleared up but unfortunately, my chip apparently didn’t work :( they showed a blank in the chip time slot and my finish time was my clock time of 2:01:33.
I ran my heart out and was so disappointed that I couldn’t determine for sure if I got my sub 2. I think I did because I believe it took me over 1:33 to get to the start line but I’ll never know for certain. I don’t even know if the clock time equals the time on the lady’s scanner. But none-the-less, I accomplished an updated PR by 6 seconds lol (gotta look for the positives) and my clock time gave me a pleasing age group and overall finish for an ol’ chick :)
My hubby reminded me that I know what I accomplished and nothing else matters. I truly have taken his words to heart. As I continue to train for my Marathon, which I’ve said all along is my #1 priority, to finish healthy & VERTICAL, I must take the positive I learned from Saturday and push/run forward. I have to admit I questioned whether I can truly do this considering my 12.5 mile bonk... but as hubby reminds me, I will hopefully not be dealing with a looming storm & 90+% humidity on November 3rd in Indy... 2 months from today!!!
Thank you my friends for your ongoing support... I’ll continue to be there for you as you have been for me and may we all take our lessons in humility well and value them for what they’re worth which is MUCH.... very LARGE (as my family would say)!! And as I did when I crossed finish and hope I always have mind to do when I run.... I point to the Heavens and say thank you Lord, for a healthy body and an ability to run the race that is set before me.. may it never be for my glory but for yours!!!
Monday, September 03, 2012
...One of the precautions they were taking as they explained, was to remove all the clocks so there’d be less to clear from the field in case of evacuation and I don’t start my Garmin till I cross the start line so I didn’t know how long it took me to get to start but based on times they were calling out along the course, I suspected between 1 min 30 and 1 min 45 secs. I felt pretty good, all things considered, the first 4 miles of the race, even though I was wiping sweat drops from my eyes at the first 3/4 mile. As with most runs, if you’re not up front, you’ll have some weaving to do to begin with. Especially (I learned LOL) in an all women’s race because there’s more of the LINE of girlfriends, some in pink tu tus (HA! thought of our Bobby D:) and some in fairy wings, just having fun together which I thought frankly was awesome :) when running becomes more about competition than it is about JOY... hang up my tennies!! I didn’t feel this cost me much if anything and being in my usual “zone”, at one point I offered my “excuse me” as I politely made my way through one of those lines of friends and heard one of them behind me say, “there was room to the side of us”... oops, sorry :( I didn’t mean to be rude, honestly, I’m just a “zoned” runner lol.. all I could see was my path ahead...
Miles 1 through 4 had me at 9:09 -- 8:38 -- 8:51 and 8:53. They felt good... I finally stopped even looking at my Garmin, I was racing & I was running by feel. I asked myself if it was the “going out too fast” thing but frankly, I was breathing as deeply as possible in the humidity & it didn’t feel super fast as the numbers revealed so I just quit looking & kept running. Miles 5 & 6 at 9:02 and 9:03 were also by feel and they felt very good. As I neared mile 7 I recall thinking, “oh man, am I only just now getting past half way... I slowed a bit because I knew it was going to begin getting harder & I know when I back off for a brief time, I always pick up pace a little later. Miles 7 & 8 were both at 9:19. I walked every water stop (something new for me) and when others did not & went on ahead, it was no time till my gradual pace had me even with them once again, no regrets... I had packed one pkg of blocks, even though I despise those things and gels, I wanted to be prepared in case there wasn’t enough Gatorade available; outside of that type drink, I haven’t found anything I like... Gatorade stations were few & far between & at 9 I decided to break open the blocks but oops... should have pre-opened as I had the darndest time getting into that pkg & had to come to a walk to get it open. 2 bites & I recalled why I despise these things!! Water to dilute these soon after didn’t help a lot & I began to get sick to my stomach. I don’t train as a run/walk runner & picking up my run at this point was tough... I was sore!! But I picked it up & ran on... mile 9 had me at 9:42. This race was getting hard and I fought mentally at this point.. not since my very 1st half-marathon when I experienced symptoms of heat exhaustion, has a half-marathon been this hard... I’ve experienced the typical soreness that comes about mile 10 and the tiredness that routinely hits about mile 11, but I always felt I could endure and a slight slowing of pace always did the trick. Even when I ran the half-marathon on a broken ankle (another blog, a “do not try this at home” stupid move), I still had stamina even at the end. This time was different, it was a true battle of the mind and a negative mindset was rearing it’s ugly head :( for the first time ever, I had doubts. Suddenly the sub 2 no longer mattered as much, it was still in my realm of possibility, but I was no longer positive I was going to make it without walking & if I walked, I feared my body would lock up. My mantras were, “you are a strong runner, you can do this”; “your Spark friends believe in you... they’ve done this so can you”, “think of the kids, they believe in you”... “think of the half you ran when your Grandsons were at the finish line, see them there right now...”, “think of what you’re showing them is possible...” I could see them... (tears)... I ran!!! Miles 10 and 11, 9:33 and 9:11.
I’m approaching mile 12... I recall how good that felt in previous races... why can’t it feel good this time. This time it feels like, “oh no, 1 MORE!!!!!” lol.. it’s easy to laugh at that thought now, it wasn’t so funny Saturday. Time to focus on breathing... 3 secs or so in and even longer out if possible. When my husband told me later he had trouble breathing just standing outside, it hit me that while I knew the humidity would be a factor, no wonder I struggled with this tool I pulled from my kit of race survival LOL. As I glanced at my Garmin & saw I was at about 12.53, my mind ruled again & I let it... I surmised that if I walked just briefly, I’d have steam in the end but friends cheering in my ear virtually, and the finish line crowd screaming in real time only allowed about 10 secs of that (plus, I knew that if I didn’t keep running, I wasn’t gonna be able to pick up again).. this was my BONK... it took everything I could muster, all the inner strength I could find to reach as deeply within myself as possible... all the years of training, all of the skill and gift and abilities God gave me I had to reach & stretch for in these few seconds... I stretched, I reached & I GRIPPED and I ran for all I was worth (with a very special Angel on my shoulder) i ran... mile 12 was 9:25 and 13 a 9:06 as I rounded the corner and the crowds promised me the end was near. I’ll never forget the guy sitting on the side of the concrete wall at 13.0 which rounded the uphill concrete entry to the last few yards to finish, “POWER UP THAT HILL, YOU’RE LOOKING STRONG & YOU’RE AT FINISH”... HA! He was right, it was right there ahead and my final “mental” boost came at this moment, you can “just finish” or you can do what you know how to do... you can do anything for a few seconds, give all the gusto you have and take it home, there’s GLORY on the other side of that line :) I kicked it into high gear & gave it all the fuel I had remaining which wasn’t much (I think it was fumes!!) .13 (9:02)...
Monday, September 03, 2012
A lesson in humility...
This past Saturday, Sept 1st, marked my 11th half-marathon, the first in my home State (bet not many can say their 1st in their State was their 11th lol); I live on the State line & my “home halfs”, closest and therefore most practical, happen to be across that line with most halfs in my home of Indiana at least 2 hours away. I chose to run one that was 1) an all Women’s half, another 1st for me; 2) run in my State’s Capital, which also happens to be where we vacationed when I grew up, my Aunt’s home in Indianapolis the only one 7 children were welcome to stay for free a week LOL, I longed for those trips to Indianapolis every summer; 3) portions of the course are in my upcoming 1st Marathon and 4) a mostly flat course which considering my rolling hills training, MIGHT allow me my long sought after sub 2 hour finish. I mean, after all, how long can you claim a PR as a PR... in May of 2010, I set my PR in Lincoln, Nebraska.. 2:01:39 and since that time I’ve been all over the board with anything from 2:02:43 to 2:05 ish, then a 2:12 ish (on what turned out to be a broken ankle)... back to 2:02:23 this past April following a loooooooong rebound from injury. It’s been a brutal training season in the heat and humidity so many of us have endured and since my focus has been on the Marathon, my schedule has not (until this week) included tempo runs or speed drills, but I felt that I was “ready”; would that equate to a sub 2?? That I didn’t know... I wear a Garmin & I check it occasionally but I learned a long time ago that I must run by feel.... depending on conditions & my body’s ability on any given day, what “feels” good one day lands me at a different pace than it might land me on any other day. But I was hopeful and as all my friends who know me know, I wanted this badly!!
I had chosen to taper for this event which turned out to be even more of a taper than I’d planned since life got in the way of my Wednesday, easy paced run. I had run 12 with a group the Sunday before, adding 3 a few minutes after we finished, running slowly to and from the Ironman, across the river from where I live, getting in my scheduled 15. An easy paced 3 on Thursday and a “keep the legs warm” 2 slow miles early Friday morning had me ready but also made me aware that the shoes that had carried me so well the past 387 miles had finally broken down (my recent shoe dilemma would make a separate blog).. and not wanting to risk injury in the new pair in my closet that weren’t working for me, and not having the pair I ordered from Ebay floating around out there somewhere trying to find their way to my forwarded address, I decided to buy a pair of the revised model of my brand in route to Indi. (I know friends, didn’t tell ya ‘bout that part :( what WUZ a girl to do!! They don’t make mine anymore & they’re nearly impossible to find!! An achy feeling in the area of my MCL began talking to me again following those last 2 easy runs; something I hadn’t felt since it initially reared it’s head after a couple swims months ago. With storms & pouring rain in the forecast, I dared not risk broken down shoes with little tread.
Off I go to Indy, the MCL thing bothered me all day that Friday but I enjoyed the Expo and a long talk with a close friend (who gets me:) as I waited for my Son to pick me up (college student there in Indi) and then enjoyed a quiet dinner with him while hubby met with business colleagues in the area. Home early, clothing & gear prepped and to bed early. I awakened to my early alarm, dressed & was soon out the door and thanks to the prayers of good friends, the MCL was playing nicer!! Hubby dropped me off near the start line as he went to park & I ran my planned 1 mile slow warm-up which loosened me up. I knew when I stood in the porta-potty line, shortly before the race began, and I was already feeling sweat running down my back and my stomach was wet with sweat, it wasn’t going to be an easy run but again, I felt good and I was ready! The officials were announcing about this time that if we saw a red flag to be prepared to come off the course, black flags would mean they were ending the race and evacuating the field. Severe storms were nearby, dark clouds hovered & humidity was already over 90% with temps in the mid 70s at our 7 a.m. start. Hubby Jay gave me that “Jay look” I’m so familiar with that silently says, “don’t do anything stupid” HA! He soooo knows me... he gave me a kiss & wished me luck simply saying (along with that ‘look’), “be careful!”....
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Sitting here this morning with an attitude of gratitude as the Holidays approach, I decided to take some time to jot a few notes, especially for the benefit of others who might be discouraged by a set-back due to injury.
It has been eight months since that fateful day in Pennsylvania when I ran a half-marathon on a broken ankle. In my defense, “WHO KNEW!!” In my guilt however, I KNEW that I hurt and I ran anyway..... and as previous blogs attest, it was a mistake!! Physical therapy, Podiatrist, X-rays, Bone Stimulation, Two DNS Half Marathons, Orthopedic Surgeon, more X-rays an MRI and One Cancelled HTC Event later, I reflect on my journey and will forever hold on to the lessons I’ve learned and hopefully become better for what I’ve experienced. And if I can help one runner avoid the pitfalls of pushing beyond what one’s wisdom (that inner voice we often recognize & ignore) tells them to push, it’s certainly worth my time to share!!
As a recap, pain at the back of my heels which began in late fall, 2009 led me to investigate more than a year later what might be causing it. It rarely hurt past about 1/2 mile into any run but felt terribly bruised for hours after. Checking into this with Physical Therapists led to side notes by these & other specialists that I had a leg length discrepancy & some issues with hip alignment. This led to some manipulation, suggestions by a clerk at a specialty running shoe store to try inserts to raise my heels, etc. etc. etc. x 100 and ultimately, I wound up with pain in my lower right leg that moved around then finally subsided when I removed the inserts... then what felt one day on a training run like an acute, “out of nowhere” sharp pain in my right ankle that a Sports Doc & Sports Radiologist said was not, in their opinion, a stress fracture, finally “took me down” as I was adamant I was going to run the JASR half-marathon with several Spark friends in PA, do or die... I do’d HA! and I “died” HA! HA! for 8 months!! I attempted to return 4 weeks post JASR before an x-ray confirmed fracture... attempted a 2nd return 6-weeks later only to have my body make some kind of gait shift (as best we can determine), bringing about a 2nd stress fracture (per MRI) below the joint on the inner right knee.
So here I sit, having completed an Aqua Jogging recovery program by Pete Pfitzinger (I highly recommend) and his “7-Week Schedule for Returning from Injury” (again, HIGHLY recommend) pfitzinger.com/labreports/stressfrac
ture.shtml feeling very blessed and very strong and ready to run, tomorrow morning, my 4th Fast Freddie’s Five Mile Foot Fest, our local running community’s Thanksgiving tradition, with my nephew and niece-in-law :)
And for the record (to show how far this competitive spirit has come), I did not run one minute past the time allotted for any scheduled recovery run no matter how good I felt or how badly I wanted to on many sunny, perfect breezy & stressful days. I pushed forward one week of recovery opting for rest when I felt a little “sumpin’ sumpin’” going on at the point of knee fracture, and I saw my recovery process through. Tomorrow’s race just happened to fall on the last day of the seven week plan.... how cool is that!! So I’ll be out there, maybe not with bells on but certainly with a smile on and my most important race goal yet...
Fast Freddie’s Five Mile Foot Fest (non-chip race - clock time)
11-27-2008 = 47:39.75
11-26-2009 = 47:19.35
11-25-2010 = 45:22
11-24-2011 (HEALTHY & STRONG)
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