May 28, 2013

Patriots Run 5k Race Recap

Saturday morning I participated in a 5k, the 2nd annual Patriots Run. I actually participated with my whole family.  Originally, I had planned to run the 5k with my son, D. My husband, J, was going to walk with our daughter, A---he would push her in the jogging stroller.  Up until about a month ago, I had been going on some training runs with D.  I love running 5ks with him, but he doesn't yet have the endurance to go the whole way without complaining.  I signed us up for this race because I wanted him to actually train for a race for once.  As a bonus, all finishers received medals, which is rare for 5ks.  With my injury, I decided to still participate in the race, but to switch places with my husband. 

The race took place at Lake Murray, a local lake I'd never been to before. I have to say, it was very nice and I would like to go back and run it once I'm healed.  The 5k started at 8:15, so we were out the door by 7:00---no small feat for us, being the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend!  Once at the lake, we easily checked in and got our bibs. No t-shirts for this no-frills race, but I was happy it was chip-timed and that we would get medals.  So many people were dressed in red, white and blue---including my own kids. I myself wore my new Boston Wicked Strong tank top from Raw Threads; I got this in the mail a few weeks ago, but as I'm not running yet I hadn't had a chance to wear it.  We listened to an amazing rendition of the national anthem--one of the best I've ever heard--and, after the 10kers left, it was our turn.

Now, I am not a walker, and was not sure how I'd do walking 3.1 miles.  I get bored with walking easily, and while I normally would have used my iPod to pass the time, I didn't bring it because I wanted to be able to talk to my daughter.  As it turned out, the time passed pretty quickly.  I was so proud of A, as she walked quite a bit of the race.  She has a hard time walking far.  Between her low muscle tone and her lack of semicircular canals, which causes major balance issues, I was prepared to push her the entire way.  But she would walk for a while, then tell me she wanted a ride, then after  while she'd have me stop so she could walk again. She was a rock star!  It was an out-and-back, so it was fun to see J and D running past us after the turn-around.

The course was well supported, with one water station the 5kers hit twice (I can't speak for the aid on the 10k course) and a well-marked sign for the 5kers to turn around.  Once the finish line was in sight, I made A get out of the stroller so she could "run" it in.  I told her, "go get it, A!" and she replied "go get it, Mama!" That's my girl!  She determinedly strode over the finish line, so proud of herself.  My personal goal was to get in under an hour, which we did, even with the multiple stops for her to get in and out of the stroller and her slow walking.  Yay!

After we crossed the finish line, not only were were given medals, but also American flags!  This is a very cool, very patriotic race to do. I see there is another race in this series in August, which I'll look into if I'm healed.  It was a fun family activity, and a great way to kick off Memorial Day weekend!  For me, though, the best part was simply participating. Even though I wasn't running, it felt good to pin a bib on my shirt and soak in the atmosphere of the runners around me. I can't wait until I'm back running with them.

May 24, 2013

I Miss Running

I miss running.

This Sunday will mark four weeks since my last run, when I ran (or hobbled) the La Jolla Half Marathon.  I wish I could report that I am feeling better by now, but unfortunately I have had no improvement at all.

As I wrote in my last post, I had been seeing a chiropractor for the intense pains in my glute and leg that I'd been having for a year and a half.  They (it was a husband/wife team) were convinced it was my hamstrings, and that by stretching and chiropractic treatment I would heal.  The truth is, my hamstrings ARE inflamed and sore and hurting, but I always felt it was more. I wrote in numerous blog posts over the the last year and a half,  in most of my race recaps, that my sciatic nerve hurt----because that's what it felt like, more nerve than muscle.

I ended up getting a second opinion by a chiropractor highly recommended to my by several running friends.  This man is a running specialist who has worked magic in every single person I talked to in just a few sessions. He told me he gets 90 new referrals a month; he's very in demand. Of course, I have to be a special case as we are still trying to figure out what's wrong.  I've seen him twice now. He sent me for an x-ray, and while the radiologist report reported "normal" he said he may see something at L5/S1.  After a visit to my primary doctor, I now have a referral for physical therapy (PT), and will start next Friday. My chiropractor wants me to go to PT for two weeks and then see him; he said hopefully the PT will loosen me up enough for him to do the right adjustment.

Unlike my old chiropractor, this running specialist told me NOT to stretch, that it will just aggravate the muscle.  So, I'm not stretching. And still not running or biking.  This means no century ride next week, not even downgrading to the 25-mile ride option.  Oh well...I can do a century another time if I want to tackle it.  I am swimming and running in the pool, using my flotation belt.  The other day I took part of a deep-water aerobics class, and may be back for that again. Just trying to find things to do that will keep up my cardio without hurting my leg.

But my god, I miss running. I miss all my running clothes....I miss my Garmin....I miss planning out what route I will take....I miss filling my fuel belt and bottles....I miss pushing myself......I miss sorting out my problems in my head....I miss grinding out any negative emotions into the pavement....I miss the zen-state I get into....I miss coming home sweaty and exhausted and endorphin-filled and happy.  I miss the old me. 

I know I will run again----seems like it will not be as soon as I'd hoped but I will.  I may miss some fun races I have planned, but that's ok. I need to heal so I can run pain-free in the future. I am looking forward to starting PT so I can get the process underway---and hopefully the right adjustment will fix whatever is wrong with me. Otherwise, I may need a referral to an orthopedist, and have an even longer road ahead of me.

In the meantime, I'm just missing running....

May 3, 2013

Injured, Down and Out

As I alluded to in my last post, I am injured, and under doctor's orders not to run right now.

Really, I'm embarrassed, because I should have gotten treatment for this almost a year and a half ago.  Back in November 2011, I ran in the Silver Strand Half Marathon.  During this race, I got a pain in my left leg that I wrote was in my glute.  I didn't think much of it at the time, but it never went away. For my next race, the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon, I ended up buying compression shorts at the expo, and have worn them for most of my long runs since. Looking back over my blog, I wrote about this very issue on December 1, 2011...again, almost a year and a half ago.  Why haven't I gotten better?  Well, I've run through it. In fact, I've run about 1000 miles since that injury, each time in pain.  Sometimes the pain wasn't too bad, other times it was excruciating, but it was always there, during every run. I thought it was sciatic nerve pain.

Finally, last week, I went to a new chiropractor. I went in thinking it was sciatic nerve pain and wanted to explore nerve flossing with him. Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather with what he said: it wasn't the sciatic nerve. Yes, my sciatic nerve was affected, but I was having hamstring issues.  This was also affecting my hip and glutes.  He wanted me stop running to properly heal. I agreed, but said there was a half marathon that weekend that I wanted run. He said he was afraid of that (he treats a lot of runners and knows us well!) and said I could run it, but then I'd have to stop running and let myself heal.

So last week I didn't run at all until the La Jolla Half Marathon on Sunday. As I wrote in my recap, I was in pain with almost every step. As that race has a LOT of uphill, my injury was aggravated more than ever. At around mile 10, I made a hard decision---that I would listen to my doctors (I am seeing a husband/wife team).  I would not run and take the time to heal properly, however long that would take. I need to get better. It's awful running in pain--and the worst part is that it's not fun anymore. Yes, I just wrote that: running isn't fun anymore. I love it, but it's too painful. I need to heal and be able to run pain-free again. 

When I went in this week, after the race, they found I'm in even worse shape. Now my connector (hamstrings to knee) is also affected, in addition to my hamstring, glute and hip. And my right leg, which is my good leg, is looking a bit sore, since it's compensating so much.  As of this week, I'm also restricted from biking, in addition to running. I asked this morning if I could bike this weekend (I had a very hilly 50 miler mapped out, in preparation for my first century ride in a few weeks). The conversation didn't go very well:

Me: Can I bike this weekend?
Doctor: No. Why, what did you have in mind?
Me: A very hilly 50 mile ride.
Doctor: {laughing} No. No way.
Me: Why? Biking really just affects my quads.
Doctor: Do you clip in? Well, then you're also working your hamstrings.

He agreed I could try a short, flat ride this weekend....I will bike the local lake,which is 5 miles and mostly flat. I asked if I could do two loops....he said try one and see how I feel, but not to press my luck.

So, that's where I stand right now. I'm under orders to not to run or bike. I AM allowed to swim and aqua jog, as long as it doesn't hurt. Yesterday I went to the pool and strapped on my flotation belt and ran in the water.  When I did it really hard, it hurt, so I did it nice and easy--not sure what fitness I got out of it, but it felt good to move my legs in a running motion.  I'm also supposed to be using my foam roller, icing, and stretching. Additionally, I got a massage in their clinic yesterday, and plan on more to come.

I may have to adjust my race schedule, too, which sucks, because not only have I paid the money for these races but I've been looking forward to them.  Here's my tentative plan:

Patriot Run 5k: This is a 5k I signed up to do with my son in a few weeks. My husband also signed up with our daughter; the plan was for me to run with our son while my husband walked with our daughter and pushed her in the jogging stroller when necessary. It looks like I'll be the one walking and pushing our daughter, which is sad because I really enjoy running races with my 9-year old. But, there are many more 5ks to do with him someday.

San Diego Century This was going to be my first century ride (103 miles), and it's coming up on June 1. While I haven't put in as much training for it as I would have liked (life and family have had bigger priorities on recent weekends) I HAVE been training for it.  I signed up for this race to do something on the bike that scared me. Well, even without doing the ride I have already done this---I have biked Scripps Poway Parkway, a local MOUNTAIN in San Diego that is included in the century, and that has always been a monster in my head. I have biked this part 3 times so far. It's steep, it's long, and it's hard, but I've done it.  And I'm enjoying the bike more. With my injury, and the fact that I haven't been able to train as much recently, it looks like I won't be doing the full century. The ride also includes a 25-mile, a 37-mile, and 66-mile option.  I'm hoping I can at least do the 25 miler, if not the 37 or the 66.  We'll see how I heal in the next few weeks and what my doctor says.  I'd like to do SOMETHING, as I've been looking forward to it and have paid for it.  I can do another full century another time if need be.

Jump! Aquathlon: This race, at which I would jump off a boat, swim, and then run, is at the end of June. I guess worst case scenario I just jump and swim, and DNF (do not finish) the rest of the race. I wonder if I can walk the 10k, or maybe even just walk one of the 3 laps. I will write to the race directors about this in June if it looks like I won't be able to run 10k (6.2 miles) at that point. But if I can only jump and swim, that will still be the fun (and scary!) part of the race.

America's Finest City Half Marathon: This is the last race I am concerned about.  It's the last half marathon in a series of 3 (along with Carlsbad and La Jolla) and completing it would earn me an extra "Triple Crown" medal.  But if I can't run it, I won't do it at all. I can always do Carlsbad (a race I love and want to run again regardless) and La Jolla (a race I didn't love but KNOW I can do better at--I need redemption!) again next year and earn the Triple Crown in 2014.

Everything else on my race schedule after that is either a non-issue (ie I have a swim race in September) or so far in the future that my doctors assure me I should be able to run (ie the Divas Half Marathon in December).

I'm looking at this long-term....yes, it's awful not to be able to do what I want to do right now, but I want to be able to run (and bike and swim) far in the future. Most runners get injured at some point, and this is my time. Rest now will hopefully make me better in the long run (pun intended).  That being said, I'm already feeling grumpy and cranky from not getting my usual fix of runner's high and endorphins, so hopefully the healing will be quick!