Wednesday, March 26, 2014

a race of endurance, not of speed and fancy footwork.

As some of you may already know... I had a followup with my orthopedic. He has officially cleared me to return to normal running activities. He had a little hiccup when he said normal, and had to reiterate that it was running activities of normal people, not my own personal version of normal running activities. He said that the residual pain that I am having in my knee from the booted half marathon is from a pull in the connective tissue for the hamstrings, not the dreaded and much feared IT band issue that I have heard many runners complaining about. He smiled and agreed that I can run this coming weekend's Race for Women's Wellness half marathon.

And he laughed when I asked him about my upcoming 5 in 5 series (Riverboat by mainly marathons). He said of course, this is exactly why I said normal running activities. He cleared me, with the one caveat that I have to listen to my body.

That being said, I am under strict orders to do one of three things should I experience pain during my big trip. I must either put the boot on, sit out entirely, or go through the pain. I'll admit that going through the pain is not a viable option... and one that will get thrown off the table immediately under the orders to listen to my body. Because I know what kind of pain it can cause, I doubt I would ever jump to do another half marathon in a boot either. So, really, if I am experiencing pain on that trip, I am left with the only option to take a DNF.

After last month's booted half marathon where I almost got swept and then outright refused, I dont think the thought of a DNF scares me so much. particularly if it is by choice. I need to make the best decisions for my body. And one or two DNFs is better than another year of going through this foot fiasco. I don't want to think about DNFs though, I'm not planning for them, I don't think that I will need to take them, but it most certainly wont be the end of me if i have to take them.

Other than that, I've been busy lately. REALLY REALLY busy. If I haven't mentioned it yet before, I am in the dissertation stage of a Ph.D. program. I've been a busy little bee trying to make headway on that. I've experienced some setbacks there, but I use my running history as inspiration. I just remind myself that (although I wish it was) the dissertation is not a sprint to the finish, but rather an endurance race. And this endurance race has been akin to some of the really awful half marathons that I have barely been able to complete (see Albion MT and Singer Island). Sometimes it is too hard and I kick myself for ever taking this on. but I see the "medal" at the end of the road, and I know I have to put in the time and energy to get to where I want to be.

To blow off some steam, we got me a gym membership. If you recall, the membership process didn't go as smoothly as I would have liked, but after another incident and speaking to the manager directly about my unhappiness with the way I was being treated by staff (as if my only goal is to lose weight, and being told that to do so I had to give up running altogether), it has been fairly painless emotionally ever since. I'd like to say that I am using the membership as much as I had intended, but work responsibilities and my dissertation work have interfered. I've used some of the cardio equipment like the treadmill (which I can't seem to overcome my fear of falling off the back of so I really try to avoid), the bikes and elliptical (which I love but find myself bored while using) and the rowing machine (how have I never used one before? these things are AWESOME)... but my real love at the gym is the organized classes like Zumba and Latin Heat. I can't seem to get as many classes in as I would like because my sleep cycle is off kilter again which makes it hard to make the early morning classes and my schedule has been crazy in the evenings with meetings. But I have somewhat managed to dovetail the missed classes with days that I am out there pounding the pavement.

Which brings me to my final thought of the day. I have new shoes. After completely wearing through the blown rubber treads on my hokas, I had to replace them. I bought 2 new pair and am breaking them in. But they feel funny. they are new, so obviously they have more bounce. they also have more traction and I find myself picking my feet up more (without tread, It was like i was trying to slide my feet along the ground to keep traction. is this possible?). Anyway, these seem to make my gait feel off a little. I've definitely got more spring in my step, which increases my pace during my run intervals.... but I am coping with not having the same kind of endurance I had before. Instead of 5 mile runs, I find myself to be cutting them shorter to 3. Granted, 3 miles on a run is far more than most American's will do, but still. I expect more from myself.

With a half marathon 3 days away, I definitely expect more from myself.

I know in a pinch, I can do it, and I definitely WANT to do it.

Enough rambling, its time to get out there and train.


  1. Ahhh, dissertation. We've got this. ;) So excited for your race this weekend!

    1. thanks! and thanks! looking forward to us being done.

  2. Hi there. Visiting your blog from the Run Blog society FB group! So glad I stopped by. First off congrats on working towards your PHD! I am interested in following your journey because I have similar pain. It started as what I thought was terrible IT band pain but has migrated to hips and hamstring. I have been to Chiro and PT but think it may be time for me to seek ortho. (sorry I can become too chatty). I hope all goes well with you! -Meranda

    1. I would suggest getting in to see an ortho right away. I started noticing my foot issues last year around this time with what felt like a crunching pain across the arch of my right foot. we treated as plantar fasciitis but the pain never really subsided. then i was having pain the outside of my ankle by summer, we had an mri done and learned i tore something the previous november and continued to run on it. but by the time we caught it late this summer, there was little we could do. and the ortho said rest was the only option and eventually cleared me to keep running. by november the pain was unbearable. turns out, after a new mri, we learned that the pain i was having was actually from a severely swollen sheath around a nerve in my heel, AND a bone that was significantly swollen (inside the bone), so it was another round of rest and drugs and other associated goodness. all of this has left me incredibly weak in my right ankle. and here i am starting over.