Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Foot Update, and a Secret About Pennies

Just a quick update one where I am at with my foot... because it seems that everyone keeps asking me what the verdict is. 

I'm still seeing the orthopedic for the ongoing heel pain. I am not wearing my boot anymore because over time it started to bother my knee and my back... but I am still trying to limit my steps. I've been taking it easy since the Ft. Lauderdale 13.1 race... it wasn't hurting so much during the race, but I think that 3 miles back to the car really did a number on me. I was in severe pain by the time Seth and I got to our post race lunch... but the margaritas helped take the edge off.

Anyway, the swelling came back. Thankfully not with a vengeance like putting a marshmallow in a microwave... but still bad enough I couldn't put a shoe on comfortably for a few days... And with swelling and pain, I know that I must take a few extra days of rest. Thankfully, I have a few weeks between races, so I have that luxury.

And in the meantime, it was a good time to see the orthopedic again... specifically to ask about cortisone shots. Which it turns out, he didn't want to do. He said that because the majority of the swelling is from the sheath of a tendon and not the tendon itself, the cortisone would be hit or miss. A best case scenario with the cortisone would be 4 weeks off my feet completely for little result. But the likelihood of that would be slim... and we know I don't take well to forced rest.

The more likely outcome of shots could be disaster. As he explained, literature shows that people who have cortisone for sheath issues in the heel wind up having exacerbated issues long term and it can lead to breakdown in the sheath. 

So what now? The only real prescription is rest. But he knows that wont work for me either... remember that running is my one real way to relax myself these days... and it is better for me to relax my brain than relax my foot in the long term.

He continued with meloxicam daily, he re-prescribed a painkilling and anti-inflammatory cream (I've had it before and I REALLY like the idea of this because it is basically reason for me to get foot massages from Scrubby twice a day), and stressed the need for rest days. Knowing that I have a marathon goal (and another goal which you need to keep reading to find out about), he said do my long training runs during the weekend as scheduled but be very careful about the surfaces I am on... NO SAND and try to avoid anything other than asphalt. Apparently I am on doctors orders to also limit my mileage mid week (but I can bike to keep up my cardio). He also said I should wear my Hoka One One shoes on long runs (excuse to get another pair? I think so). I am not allowed to drive long distances (because the spot you rest your heel is where I have the problems), I may need to continue to wear my boot at the stadium, and I shouldn't go above 20 miles in my marathon training. Essentially the remedy is rest, rest, and more rest.
I'll be bringing the pennies!
And I'm ok with that. What I wasn't ok with was the idea that he had to palpate my whole heel area to find exactly where the problems are. And since doing that, the swelling has gone back up and the pain has increased exponentially.

And with all that being said, and knowing where I am going to be headed now in terms of recovery... I want to announce that I will not be adding any more races to my race schedule for the rest of the season so that I have plenty of time to recover from the races that I already have planned from now until March... I am going to need that time to recover...

Because this morning, I dropped my registration in the mail for the Riverboat Series by Mainly Marathons... In which I will be attempting another 5 half marathons in 5 states in 5 days. And yes, I will be bringing plenty of pennies.

Monday, November 18, 2013

13.1 Ft. Lauderdale - November 10, 2013

One of my side jobs is that I do some promotions work for US Road Sports at local events, and in exchange I get complementary entries to their local events. This year, I wanted to take full advantage of this opportunity and complete all 5 of the races in the Florida Storm Series to obtain their special Category 5 finisher's medal.

The first race of the season for the Storm Series was 13.1 Ft. Lauderdale, and I was stoked. What I love so much about Ft. Lauderdale races is the amount of time that we actually spend running on sea wall and the spectacular views. I joined my dear friend Seth for the race and we sadly were minus our third in the trio as Brina was unable to make it... which I knew might be hard for me as Brina is so good at pacing me and that meant I would be on my own for the duration.

With Seth at the start. Yes it will be a good day.
But sadness over not having my friend there wasn't gonna get me down. I've run half marathons before, I knew that this would just be different. I would use the time to get deep within myself and focus on all of the important things... like why I enjoy the feeling of being at a race. I've been pushing myself for so long to get a PR, that lately I had been feeling like maybe I was losing some of the centering feelings that turned me onto running in the first place. This was a great opportunity to regroup and reevaluate my approach to races.

I arrived in downtown Ft. Lauderdale nice and early and found parking. I got ready in the garage and waited on Seth, then we went to the start line where I had the goal to meet up with a co-worker and friend who was participating in the wheelchair division. After a few obligatory photos (which I wont share because I don't want to share without permission), we headed to the start line. We ran into a few race regulars that I knew and a few old friends, and before we knew it the anthem was finished and the race had started. Seth and I said our goodbyes as we herded through the start corral, and he was off. Me, I surprised myself.

I started really strong. I reminded myself that recently I had learned to take shorter quicker steps to increase my time and reduce my energy output, and felt myself plowing through the first few miles. As I am still a run-walk-runner doing 1min:1min ratios... my overall pace was slower, but I was easily doing 11 minute miles while on my run intervals. I was impressing myself at how strong I felt. And what's more, I had NO FOOT PAIN.

The worst part of the tunnel experience
We ran through the city streets for the first few miles and down through the New River Tunnel, which was very cool. I have always wanted to run a tunnel, but now that I've done it, I don't think I ever want to do it again. The downhill is easy but right before the bottom, the air quality gets bad with poor ventilation and no movement to the air at all. It is hot and humid, and on my exit from the tunnel I felt like I had an elephant sitting on my chest. Thankfully it was a short foray into Tunnel-world and we exited back to the streets where there was a nice breeze.

I was pacing with 2 lovely women and we chatted a little. Turns out that one of them knew me from a group that I am an admin for on facebook, and we were able to enjoy our time together (I actually ran into her yesterday at a football game and I think I'd like to continue a run-panionship with her, but I digress).

Horrible photo of me with my new Run-panion, Kim
I think the tunnel and my pet chest-sitting-elephant caught up to me somewhere around mile 5... I saw these women pulling away from me a bit as we hit the beach, but I wasn't running for time (remember, this was a regroup race), so I was OK with that. I felt myself slowing down a bit, but with each moment of slowing down, I felt my joy for running and my positive thinking increasing. How different it was to run for me and not for the clock.

4 miles north on the beach, then 4 miles south to the finish-line, and the finishline was in sight. Seth ran over to me about 50 feet from the finishline and told me that he was going to bring me in (I LOVE when he does this), but he had to stay out of the chute, and I pushed full steam ahead. I was exhausted, but it was over. And I felt great.

I never steal photos, but with a pic like this...
That is... until I crossed over the mat and I revisited the huckleberry hammer gel that I had around mile 11 and I couldnt clear my airway. Before making it to get my medal, I doubled over choking on this viscous huckleberry flavored nastiness. I couldn't catch my breath and we called for medical who forced 4 bottles of water into me in rapid succession to induce vomiting. The medics stood over me while the color returned to my face and my lips went un-blue. And Seth stood nearby watching, shaking his head and laughing at the fact that I can't seem to push it like that without needing medical.

No PR for me that day... depending on who you ask. Officially, no PR... but my garmin measured the course at 13.38 miles with a pace per mile of 14:56... which would be a 1 minute 5 second PR. I'll take that. Amazing what a no-stress race will do for a person's time.

is this thing real?

Net- 3:18:43
Pace- 15:10
OA- 2002/2088
Female- 1079/1151
Age- 33.11%

AND I had enough energy left over that Seth and I skipped the shuttle back to our cars and instead chose to walk an additional 5K... guess that is a good 16 mile training session for my upcoming full marathon in January.

P.S. The foot pain returned on the walk back to the car... guess we have learned an important lesson about my feet and concrete. Time to look into cortisone shots.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Halloween Half Miami Beach - October 26, 2013

My first half marathon back after my 6 in 6 adventure.... and I had a goal for myself. Shave that extra 1 minute and 46 seconds off my half time so that I could get a better corral placement at my first full marathon. Yikes. How impressive would that have been to get a new PR, take 1:46 off my time between Billings Montana and now, and also take 21 minutes and 36 seconds off of my half time in 1 year? That would have been seriously sweet.

Unfortunately that isn't even close to what happened, but it was nice to go into this event having a goal.

It shouldn't be a surprise to know that the week leading up to this race, my foot wasnt doing well again. I was in and out of the boot. I was minimizing my training runs. I was babying myself by laying on the couch with my foot elevated... I was sore, but I was feeling fairly confident. And then I got an email telling me that the course had changed. The course was bring rerouted to include 1/2 mile on the "hardpacked sand" around mile 4, then another 1/2 mile on the same sand around mile 10 at the return to the finishline.

If there is one thing that I already knew beyond a reasonable doubt would wreak havoc on my bad foot, it was sand, whether "hardpacked" or not.

But as much as I worried that this sand would do a number on my foot, I had already paid the entry, I had a goal to meet in terms of time, I still wanted to go out there and run. Plus it was a Halloween themed race and Brina and I made really cute Dr. Who costumes...

So we get there bright and early... and for the first time since my first half marathon back in January, Ray was joining up at the 13.1 distance. He hadn't done any training for this race, so he felt kind of under prepared but he really wanted the Halloween Half medal... anyway... I am clearly digressing.

So we (me, Seth, Brina and Ray) arrive at the parking garage and wait for our fellow Half Fanatic Juanita to arrive, then off to the starting corral.

Before we knew it, it was time to go. The first mile or so of the course was awful. The race started at Jungle Island in Miami, then we had to wind around the access road, underneath the bridge then onto the causeway toward Miami Beach. At that time of the morning, the road was really poorly lit, I felt exhausted, and bored. Here we go again. Just go through the motions, right?

To help myself along, I find my person who would be my goal to finish in front of. Normally I don't pick my person that early in a race, but I needed some kind of extra incentive to push it. She was a larger woman in purple, and we passed her before we even hit mile marker 1... never to see her again until mile 10 where we suddenly saw her in front of us, realized she had cut the course and was cheating, then shamelessly passed her again)... so clearly she wasn't a good choice in a person. But even though we passed my person so early, I was feeling good. The first 4 miles or so, I was making really good time... and Brina was really supporting me and pushing me on.

I really can't say enough how much I love this girl.

But then after mile 4, things started to deteriorate... and fast. The course veered off to a concrete (then brick, then sand, then brick path) and the constant pounding was like being hit repeatedly with a machete in my lower back. I have always had back problems, but never felt this kind of pain while running. I wanted to push through it, but I was in so much pain I was almost in tears. Then on the sand portion we chose to walk it to not risk further damage on my foot, and that slowed me down even more.

It was clear that Brina was getting impatient with me (which in retrospect I don't blame her for), and her impatience was discouraging me. I wanted to be better. I wanted wanted to get that PR. I wanted my training partner to be proud of me. Instead as the time went on and she kept trying to motivate me and push me to be the best I could, I got stuck in my brain. I felt like a failure. I felt like I was not only letting myself down... but I was letting one of my best friends down as well. I was hurting. I was angry.

I said some things that I NEVER should have said to the girl who has never wanted anything but success for me (things that I am incredibly remorseful for when I look back at the situation). I lashed out and pushed her away because I didn't want to hold her back. I didn't want her to see me fail. I kept chugging along, but my brain hurt more than my body did... and my body was in very rough shape.

I struggled to keep up with her, but eventually I felt that distance between us growing larger and larger until I couldn't see her through the field anymore. I was about half a mile from the finishline, and I was on my own.

I finished, and I felt awful. I felt like a failure. I felt like I had let down everyone around me. I had one job to do (bring my time down), and I couldn't even do that. I could barely even hold my own brain together. I needed to go home and cry. And not the good kind of cry either. I needed to wallow in my self pity.

But we went to breakfast instead. And it was good.

The Halloween Half was over, and tomorrow would be a new day.

Gun - 3:26:00
Chip - 3:23:29
Pace - 15:32/ Mile