Balancing the Urge to Run

The road back from an injury can be a long winding one, full of ups and downs and twists and turns.  I find as you travel along this road your greatest companions are determination, belief and patience.

You must have the determination to do the work needed to heal and get stronger.

You must believe you that the work you put into your recovery will pay off.

Ah but patience….there’s the tough one. As the injury starts to heals….as you start to feel “better” the urge to run or to push your runs grows stronger. It’s easy to want to leave patience behind and get back into the game. But go too fast or too hard and you’ll find that road to recovery extending a lot further out in front of you than you want.

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I remind myself of this every time I step on to the treadmill. My knee is definitely healing and I’m definitely feeling anxious as I eye the calendar….but I need to balance the urge to run and train with patience.

The ultimate goal this year is to Thrive not just survive….A slow and steady return will payoff in the end!

 

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At the moment….

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At the moment….

…. I haven’t been running much….in fact just 6 very slow miles last week. The good news – they were pain-free!

…. I’m going for session #2 with the chiro this morning. He believes he’ll have me fully-operational shortly as long as I do my exercises and roll daily. He’s also urging me to get off the pavement for a bit – on trails, grass or at the very least the track – a more forgiving surface would help my cause.

…. while I wish I were running more, I’m embracing what I can do now –  enjoying other workouts like TRX, basketball in the driveway with my kids, walks with my injured BRF and weekly barre classes. I had stopped T25 last week, but I’m going to add it back into the mix with my chiro’s OK.

 

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#13in2013 Flashback

When I first signed on for the #13in2013 challenge there was a big part of me that thought – “What are you thinking?!?” 13 races in one year? But I love a challenge – so why not?!

After my first race of the year was canceled due to a Nor’easter, I started my quest for 13 in February with the Frosty Virtual 5K. The run benefited the American Cancer Society and I ran in honor of both of my grandmothers.

Frosty 5K

BAA 5K CollageNext up was the B.A.A. 5K – the first race of the B.A.A. Distance Medley! The race was held the Sunday before the Boston Marathon and the course was set up so we would finish the final “right on Hereford, left on Boylston” stretch and across the Marathon’s famous finish line. Definitely a fun race!

Later that month, I ran the inaugural Newport 10 Miler.  Unfortunately this would be the first of a couple of races this year where my stomach totally turned on me 🙁  Stomach issues aside, there were lots of good things about this day including meet-ups, a beautiful course and hanging with my running buddy E. Newport group 4     With Kim at Newport 10  919029_647770745240367_1885810049_o

Race #4 was Boston’s Run to Remember Half Marathon. I love this race and running it shortly after the Marathon bombings, it took on special significance. The race honors fallen police officers and police officers lined many sections of the route. The level of emotion, the chants of “let’s go Boston!” and all of those officers cheering and high-fiving runners – it was an experience I will not soon forget.  picmonkey_image (3)

Race #5 was the B.A.A. 10K  — Have I mentioned how much I love a Boston Athletic Association race?! Despite the heat-fest, I managed a negative split on the back 5K but missed my PR goal.BAA 10K

Next up was Finish at the 50 10K — This race is part of a 4th of July celebration at Gillette Stadium with great activities for the whole family. My oldest son ran in the kids’ races and then I took on the 10K. Even with a start time of 6 PM, it was soul-sucking hot! All of the runners took a “we’re all in this together” approach and there was lots of cheering and encouragement. Post-race the family enjoyed a great picnic and awesome fireworks display! IMG_2160

Race #7 was definitely the best race of the year as I ran with my son for his first 5K at the Narragansett Running Festival!

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I finished off the summer with Race #8 – Jill & Jen’s Virtual Birthday Bash! We were on vacation in the Finger Lakes region so this was a beautiful run with the lake and mountains as my backdrop. Lake

Race #9 was my first trail race! I hadn’t planned on it being my first tail race – let’s just say the course description wasn’t very descriptive! It was challenging and quite the experience to say the least!

runchat Race #10 was the Wicked Half Marathon. The original plan was to treat this race as a test to make sure I’d finally put an end to my stomach troubles before taking on the B.A.A. Half, my fall goal race. Well let’s just say nothing went according to plan – I woke up not feeling so hot that morning and by mile 5, the wheels had come off the wagon. Some how I finished that  race, though there was a great deal of walking involved, and I was down and out for another week after!

A week before Race #11, I took a fall during my long run that left me with a seriously bruised and swollen knee and a very tender foot. I was determined not to miss the BAA Half – it was the last race of the Distance Medley! Also, it was my running buddy E’s first half – how could I not be there?! This is the race I’m probably the most proud of completing! BAA Bling

The rest of the fall became about healing both the knee and especially my foot. I had to take a pass on my favorite local race and my last half marathon planned for early December. As my foot healed I found I could tolerate some short runs so I finished my 13 races with two virtual races supporting two great causes:
hope4philippines bib   miles_for_melanoma_logo_website_v2 (1)-1

After such a great year in 2012, I had had much higher hopes for 2013.  I’m disappointed with the way this year played out, but I’m far from discouraged. I learned a lot about myself this year – I think I’m much more mentally tough and know that will serve me well in the future. I’m even more determined to reach my goals in 2014 and cannot wait for the #14in2014 Challenge!

 

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Slow and steady progress

Sitting here a little bleary-eyed thanks to staying up to the wee hours of this morning to watch my beloved Patriots pull off an amazing comeback against the Broncos…so with my second mug of coffee in hand, a little randomness to start this Monday…

  • While making the decision to not run my half in December wasn’t easy, I must admit that the lack of pressure to hit certain paces or log enough miles has been kind of refreshing. This has been a tough fall running-wise and only now am I starting to see that I needed a break mentally as much as physically.
  • This past week I logged more time strength training than running – that’s a first!
  • hope4philippines bibSaturday was my longest run in weeks – 5 miles, including 3.1 dedicated to the Hope for the Philippines 5K. It was great to participate in this virtual run to help provide some aid to those so hard hit in the Philippines.
  • Saturday was also my first run with my running buddy E, who’s also been nursing an injury. I’ve missed those Saturday morning runs! We keep reminding each other that slowly but surely, we’ll build those miles up again. I’m really grateful that I have her to rely on as I try to get back into the swing of things.
  • Of course I’ve been looking at 2014 races and I’m getting excited for the first half of the year – could be the year of the 10-miler! (More to come on the race calendar soon)
  • And because I cannot resist  1466305_10152037491977372_907871165_n
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Reassessing

hanging shoesI’m hanging up my half marathon training shoes for the rest of this year. There will be no half for me on December 8.

As you can imagine that is not an easy thing for me to see in print – not an easy decision, but it’s the right choice. While my foot is making progress, my attempt at returning to half marathon training has proven to be one step forward, two steps back. I may be able to kill my track workouts, but maintaining race pace on the unforgiving surface of pavement and roads is proving to be a different story – I can get 4 miles at best…clearly a problem when the goal is 13.1! And as I said to Coach Bennett during our last call, the one thing I am clear about is that I do not want to have to will myself through another race that my body isn’t prepared to handle. I’ve done that and know I don’t have the mental energy, nor desire to do it again.

So I may eye a couple of 5Ks before the year is over – after all I’ve only got 2 races left to complete the #13in2013 Challenge – but there will be no long distance races for me until next year.

Time to start building my 2014 race calendar!

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October Rewind and November Goals

Well October is quickly in the rearview mirror!

While a very busy month in the RWA household, there wasn’t much running thanks to the fall that left me with this knee photo (16) — who knew the foot would turn out to be the bigger issue?!

There was just enough running/shuffling to get me through the BAA Half to complete the BAA Distance Medley  BAA medals2

October was largely about rest and recovery – an exercise in patience that I didn’t prove to be very good at! But my foot is improving and I’m running again, so it was well worth the mileage shrinkage.

November Goals:

Just run! — My biggest goal for this month is to complete all of my training runs. I have five weeks until my December half – and how many training runs I complete and how well my foot tolerates those runs will determine whether or not I’ll take a DNS.

More Small Changes — I joined with Marcia for her One Small Change challenge in October. The goal is to add one small change each week – or you can repeat a week if you need to which is what I’m going to do this week as I didn’t get very far with my plan of daily rolling of my very tight quads and hamstrings.

How was your October? Any big goals for November?

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BAA Distance Medley – Half Marathon Recap

The last race of the BAA Distance Medley is done! And it proved to be the hardest of the three races. I had originally hoped that this race would be a goal race – a chance to chase a PR. Then I took a tumble a week before the race and all bets were off. In the week leading into the race, the most my right foot and knee would tolerate was a 4-mile fartlek run.

When I checked in with Coach Bennett that Friday morning he actually asked me if there was another race I could do and take a pass on this one. But not completing the BAA Distance Medley that I started back in April was just not an option I wanted to entertain. I also really wanted to be out on the course with my running buddy E as she took on her first half. So in the end we agreed that I would run a very conservative race, taking walk breaks as needed and if necessary stopping if my foot or knee wouldn’t cooperate. So my race goals were simple  – to finish and to not do any further damage.

Es husband dropped us off so we just had a short walk to the start.  As soon as we picked up our race shirts, I got a text from Nicole and we caught up with her at the bag check. After missing each other at the first two Medley races this year it was great to finally see Nicole! With Nic

The three of us faced the crazy long lines for the port potties and then worked our way towards the front of our wave. Soon we were off. Within the first half mile, Nicole started to pull ahead and knowing that she was targeting 2:30 I had hoped to just keep her in my sights. E & I were moving well until about 3.5 miles in when my right foot made it clear it wanted to slow down. Around this point Amy & her husband had caught up with us – Amy was also injured and had planned to do a run/walk in hopes of finishing. I would end up leap-frogging back and forth with them throughout the course which really helped keep me going. I told E that I was going to need to slow down and she should keep going. I slowed and just as I started walking a guy passed me encouraging me to join him and keep going. I started again and just tried to focus on staying just off his right shoulder. It was funny for a while we didn’t talk at all – he would just check over his shoulder to see if I was still there. We ran that way for a bit and then I just needed to walk again so I let him go.

I kept plodding along, soaking in all of the encouragement from the volunteers (BAA Volunteers really are awesome!) I shuffled passed the water stop just after the 7 mile marker and heard someone call out to me – it was Jose who volunteering! Thank goodness for friendly faces! I soon came across the guy I’d been running with – this time we introduce ourselves (he was Charles) and started chatting as we ran. We picked up a woman named Rachel along the way and the three of us ran together for a bit. Having them to chat with and seeing Amy & her husband off and on were all great distractions from the growing soreness in my foot and now my right knee had joined the angry party!

Run, shuffle, walk is how I continued to make my way. E & I passed each other on the last out and back and high-fived. We were back in Franklin Park now and soon I spied my cheer squad! At this point I knew if I could just get through the last killer hill that was mile 11 it would be a fairly flat loop through the zoo and then into the stadium to the finish.

Walk, shuffle, run and finally the finish! E had finished about a minute before me and was waiting. I’m so proud of her!!

Eileen and I_BAA

Once I had completely stopped moving it really hit me just how much my right knee and foot were hurting. I couldn’t wait to get home, get a shower and become one with the couch 🙂 Race #11 for this year done!

BAA Bling (Awesome double bling – one for the half and the other for the Distance Medley!)

The BAA Distance Medley was a great series of races – as I’ve said before the BAA does not disappoint! If you’re looking for some great courses through Boston and crazy-well organized races I encourage you to check out the Distance Medley.

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Race Week Focus

photo (16)I can already be pretty obsessive during race week…but now there’s this.

Yes that’s my right knee. I had just 3/4 of a mile to go in my long run on Saturday when my toe caught an uneven piece of sidewalk and before I knew I was air borne. I jammed my left shoulder and scraped my right elbow, but my right knee took the brunt of the fall. So I spent the rest of Saturday alternating between icing and hobbling around.

I’m happy to say that while still stiff and sore, I’ve got a lot more mobility today. I’m sure it will continue to loosen up as the week goes on (she says with fingers-crossed). I have just a couple of light runs planned for this week, and one run with a few miles at race pace – but, at this point the work is done.

My main focus this week will be to eat mindfully, get enough sleep and, yes baby the knee. (I will not obsess, I will not obsess, I will not obsess!)

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Irritable ITB, Step-back wk and Vacation runs – WWYD?

I was really looking forward to my 11 miler this morning…but my ITB clearly was not!

I was feeling pretty sore and tight yesterday and no amount of foam rolling or icing seemed to make too much of a difference. I kept hoping if I just took it slow that I could get the long run done. Well, when I got up this morning nothing along my outer left leg felt okay…and so the internal bargaining began. OK so maybe I can’t get 11, but surely I can at least get 8, right? Hmm…yeah…not so much.

It was a struggle almost from the beginning  – I stopped just before 2 to stretch and to decide whether or not to keep going. I kept going, but as I reached the 4 mile point and turned to head back I started to think that there was a very good chance that I would either have to walk to whole way or call J to come pick me up. Luckily, J and the boys did come by – they decided to check on me cause they knew the leg wasn’t feeling great – and without hesitation I hopped in the car and called it a day. I was really bummed to not finish the run, but pressing on just seemed like a really bad idea!

So Week 7 starts tomorrow and it’s a step back week. It also happens to be the week were heading to Disney. Originally, I had planned on running on Tuesday and then a couple of times while we’re away – the resort has a great mile and a quarter loop around the lagoon that sounded perfect for some short runs. But now given my cranky ITB I’m wondering if I should run at all or just rest it (aside from all the walking we’ll be doing) and take the 5 days off.

And when I get back I’ll have a week before the Tufts 10kso what would you do?

Would you rest or would you run?

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Thursday Thoughts – aka 3 things

  • Took my first post-race run this morning — it was a very tentative 2 miles. While my knee felt ok, my hamstring was not having it! It was such a beautiful morning, I wish I could have gone further, but I’m playing it safe.
  • Don’t forget about my Running on Empty giveaway – it ends tomorrow. You can click HERE for details. There are some really great giveaways going on in the blog world – I have a bunch listed on the sidebar if you want to check them out.
  • I’m WAY behind on my “spring cleaning” so I’m back on a huge clutter purge. With the end of school coming, it time to go through all the many school papers and projects that seems to be taking over my dining room table!
 It’s almost Friday – love a short week!

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