Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Just an Update

I had a pretty good spring of running, until I was hit with a my first major running injury. Yes, after years of being equal parts proud and thankful that I had never had any major injuries - something I attribute to being very cautious in my training -  I really blew it. After a spring of over-indulging in ice cream (and beer... and chocolate? And pretty much everything...) I found myself carrying a little more mass than ideal, which I know (Really! I KNOW!) puts anyone at higher risk of an injury. Then, a few days before memorial day weekend, I put myself right in the eye of the "perfect storm" of risk factors. On one day I was pushing our daughter in the jogging stroller up and down hills in the afternoon heat, and the next day I was on my feet in my normal high heels all day... and then despite waking up with tired legs, I still went out for an intense (planned) 8-mile tempo run. BAD MOVE. I was thirty-five minutes into the run when I pulled (tore? ruptured? completely imploded?) my right hamstring. It was terrible. I came to screeching halt, and had to hobble my way home.

To make things worse, I have no experience being injured and was totally naïve to how bad the situation was... in fact if you look at my last post I said I "strained a muscle deep in my thigh"... I was in complete denial. So I did little to take care of it, and basically did everything wrong to make it worse. Really. To start with, an hour after the injury I was back in high heels (yes, I'm an idiot) and, to make things worse, I was so off-balance that later that morning I rolled my ankle severely, making my hobbled state even more pathetic. And then (*here we go... what ESLE could she possibly do?*) I ran on the leg the next day.

Yes, I did that. And I am deeply, deeply sorry to the running gods for this display of stupidity. Really.

It took me a few days to come to terms with my own stupidity, and my body's totally reasonable response to what I was doing. But goodness knows I probably lengthened my recovery time substantially by not just getting myself to a physical therapist immediately.

And so, the rest of May and June were all about just healing and getting myself well again. BUT, there was a caveat. July would bring with it my annual trip to the Missoula Half-Marathon, which I have never missed since its inception in 2007. And common sense be damned, I was not about to let a standard running injury break my streak, given that I have run that race in all sorts of conditions, including with the flu in 2012. So, my goal was to finish  that race. I didn't care if I had to walk the whole thing (a very real possibility), I was going to do it.

I did scale my mileage way back, but I made it my goal to keep some long runs on the weekends after a few weeks of doing nothing more than 4 - 5 miles. I had a couple of weeks that were just terrible, but by the end of June I mostly felt ok. NOT GREAT, but ok. I was also running very slow - partly on purpose, but partly because it was really all I could do. And so, two weeks ago on July 13th, I "ran" the Missoula Half-marathon for the 8th year in a row. And I actually ran the whole thing. I was very cautious with my pace, telling folks that it would be nice to finish under 2 hours, but going any faster than that would mean I was being (frankly) stupid. My finish time was 1:56, and I felt virtually no discomfort until the very last mile. As far as I was concerned, this was a major accomplishment.

Still, let's hope next year's Missoula training goes a bit more smoothly!

I have taken the last two weeks easy because I know that even though the race felt ok, it was asking my hamstring to do a lot. Now I have to tackle the issue of what to do next. I already have a half-marathon on my schedule for next January (plenty of time to heal!) but I would just LOVE to do an actual marathon this fall. But looking at the calendar it is obvious I would need to do a very late marathon... November or December, to give myself plenty of time to train cautiously. And my goal would be to finish. No concern about time or PR or Boston Qualifying... just to finish.

So stay tuned to see what happens next.... because something always does happen!

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