Monday, September 24, 2012

So that's what that feels like

More often than not, when I take time off from running my first run back is a complete disaster. For instance, you may recall this lovely little run a few weeks back:

That first run after time off usually feels as awkward, exhausting and just plain weird as it can get. Add to that the fact that I haven't taken more than one full week off from running since....well, I don't know, and you can understand why I was a little apprehensive about resuming training this week.

Josh went for his run first and I stayed with the puppy and the whole time I thought "ugh, this could be bad." What feeble attempts at running I've had in the last 3 weeks have been just that, feeble. Nonetheless, I laced up my shoes and headed out the front door as soon as Josh came in the back.

What I got? A beautiful run! The weather was perfect and my legs steady and overall it just felt like a lovely little afternoon trot.

Despite today's awesome effort, I'm feeling more and more unsure about this November 3rd half Marathon. Last week I had an appointment with my friendly Sports Doc. and got both good and bad news.
Good: my back is just a bad muscle pull. He gave me some exercises (that I was already doing) and prescribed a muscle relaxer. Unfortunately, you can't drive or really do anything while taking said prescription, so I haven't even had it filled. We'll see how long this "hold out" lasts. Two weeks later and my lower back is still one big ball of OUCH 
Bad: I finally got my knee looked at. While he could definitely feel the swelling and tell there were differences between my legs/knees, he couldn't figure out the cause. Luckily none of the ligaments or muscles appear torn and the structure of my knee is intact. Unfortunately, he wants me to get an MRI. With work the way it is, the likelihood of me actually getting said MRI before Veterans Day is unlikely. On a positive note, he didn't give me any restrictions - manage the pain as best I can and just don't do anything more than what I've been doing. Since "Marathon" is on my list of "recent physical activities" I'm pretty sure I'm cleared for anything

So in light of these most recent developments, I've basically scrapped my original training plan. Lucky for me there was a great article in the August issue of RunnersWorld (I'm a bit behind!) tailored for just this situation. You can find the article here and while it's listed under the Beginners section, I think it's applicable for just about anybody. So in accordance with their advice and my desire to actually heal, here's the plan for the week:

Monday - Check! Tuesday, I'm coming for you next!

Have you ever taken a significant amount of time off? How did you recover?

Happy Running!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

September Setbacks

Sometimes life hands you lemons and you make some lemonade. Then there are times when life hands you a triple fudge sundae with nuts, caramel AND a cherry on top and you just eat the damn thing and ignore the consequences. September, it seems, has given me both of these.

September started off with my triple fudge sundae - I got married! The event we'd been waiting for these last 16 months finally came to pass and it was wonderful. Hurricane Isaac's threat to ruin the entire (outdoor based) day, but ended up causing nothing more than a very stressful week and a little bit of mud. We had a blast, the Cards beat Kentucky, and I'm now officially a Mrs.

Best of all, the morning of the wedding my mom and I got to put aside all of the craziness and do what we love to do: go walking. The rain kept us out of our favorite park, but we headed to the mall and churned out three mindless miles. We talked about so many random things and window shopped and laughed. After what was a pretty stressful lead-up to the wedding, this was a great start to the day. For those of you who don't know, my mom got me into running initially. When my weight started to get out of control back in college she and my grandfather started making me walk with them on Saturdays. What started as a (somewhat) painful chore became two marathons and five half-marathons. Walking with mom on my wedding day was an amazing way to reconnect to that memory, and to honor both our relationship and my grandfather at the same time.

However, one thing got sacrificed for the good of the wedding (and the honeymoon that followed): my training plan. There are 2-3 weeks that are just blank on my calendar. Does this bother me? Yeah, it does. I'm a type-a runner girl and it annoys me to have stretches without training before a race. Will I get over it? Absolutely. I'm glad I was able to put aside my often neurotic need to run in order to enjoy the occasion. When life hands you the perfect sundae, you don't stop and worry about how it will effect your waist line, you eat!

Top Left-right: in front of the Shedd Aquarium, On the Willis Tower Skydeck
Bottom Left-Right: with the Lions of Tsavo @ the Field Museum & dinner @ the Capital Grille
September has also brought some damn lemons my way. Last week during volleyball my back started getting super tight. Sometimes I get lazy and don't really bend my knees when I play (whoops!) and end up stretching my back out. Usually the soreness goes away after a day. Not this time. Within 3 hours of playing my back was totally locked up and any bending was searing, needle-like pain. Slowly over the week with the help of a good heating-pad and lots of Motrin things started to ease up. Thursday morning I felt good enough to take Ellie for a walk before work and a nice 2.4 miler afterwards. Unfortunately Friday was back to square one.

I've never had a back injury so this is all new to me. I have no idea whether to stretch or heat or ice or immobilize or what. I have no way of knowing whether it's a strain, sprain, or what. Unfortunately, a visit to the doctor is almost completely out of the question since I just took a week of unauthorized time for my honeymoon (worth it!). I'm hoping that more Motrin, some light stretching and heat heat heat will help.

All in all - I'm still up on the month. My first priority right now is to rest my back and make sure I'm completely healed before I do something stupid. My second priority is to dive into YOUR world and find out how things are going for you! Whenever I need inspiration, you guys are always there to lend some (in a big way!). For instance, knowing that my dear friend Julia @Pain Pride & Perseverance finished her first UltraMarathon yesterday has kept a smile on my face all weekend.

Keep up the good work everyone! You're all so wonderful :)

Happy Running!!