Three Things Thursday – Advice Needed

1.  I’ve seen so many posts recently by people already picking out their 2011 races.  SHEESH!  I know these things sell out fast these days, but I don’t even know what I want for dinner tonight and I’m expected to know where and how far I want to run a year from now?  But I guess I better get on it.  While I’m at it I guess I’ll go ahead and schedule 2012’s teeth cleanings and 2022’s mammogram.

2.  I have quit physical therapy.  After last Saturday’s attempt at a long run I knew that what they were doing just wasn’t cutting it and stopped everything they had told me to do.  I brought all this up at Monday’s appointment, and they basically told me that they didn’t have anything else to offer me.  They agreed that I should stop what they had started me on since it was making it worse and offered to continue the ultrasound therapy.  I’m not paying a $20 copay for 10 minutes worth of ultrasound, so I guess that’s that.  I have gone back to the very agressive IT band massages and extreme foam rolling, and on Tuesday night I ran 6 miles at a very tolerable pain level.  It was sore afterwards, but by today, after another couple of days of MY version of PT, it feels completely normal.  I didn’t run yesterday, so we will see what it feels like after I run this afternoon.

3.  This weekend is supposed to be my 20 miler.  I don’t feel like I have run enough lately to tackle 20 in two days.  My long runs in reverse order have been 2, 13.1, 14, and 18 with sporadic midweek runs as pain would allow.  Here’s where the advice comes in.  Should I suck it up and push for 20 and start my taper (even though I don’t even have high weekly mileage to really taper down from)?  Or should I shoot for 15 or 16 and go for 20 next week with a two-week taper?  Either way, I plan to continue babying the knee by keeping everything slow and on the least hilly routes I can find.

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Emotional Roller Coaster

I love running.

I hate running.

I’m ready for Vegas.

I’ll never make it to the start line.

After last Saturday’s half marathon, I was feeling great.  The after effects of a new PR, no doubt.  But it didn’t take long for the pain to set in.  I expected it, so I wasn’t too worried about it.  The knee always hurts after a long run.  No surprise there.  In a way I thought it might be a good thing for the sports doc to see me when it’s painful.

So come Monday I went in for the MRI and followed up immediately with the Dr. Sports Dude for the results about an hour later.  The results were the best I could hope for.  Nothing was torn or ruptured or anything.  Nothing structurally wrong with the knee whatsoever.  He diagnosed it as IT band syndrome and gave me a prescription for PT and sent me on my merry way. 

I set up the appointment to begin PT the very next day.  The therapist said that in addition to my tight IT band, my inner quads muscle (the VMO for those familiar) was weak.  The tightness on the outside of the leg combined with the weakness on the inside of the leg is allowing the kneecap to be pulled out of alignment, thus causing my knee pain.  Her plan of action was to stretch the IT band, strengthen the VMO, and do ultrasound therapy on the knee.  And that’s what we’ve done three times this week, plus the at-home stuff she has told me to do on my own.  I’ve been a good little girl all week long.  I rested it (didn’t run a step), did all my stretches and exercises and then some, and have taken probably more anti-inflammatories than I’m supposed to.  And when I was there yesterday, they put Kinesio tape on it to help with my long run today.

My long run.

My 2.27-mile long run.

I’m a pretty tough cookie.  I’m pretty good at tuning out the pain.  But when it feels like your kneecap is being ripped through the skin with every bend of the leg… THAT’s kind of hard to ignore.  By mile 2, I knew that 15 wasn’t going to happen today, so I turned and headed a different direction instead of doing the out-and-back that I had planned.  A quarter of a mile later I was done.  It was unbearable.

So here I sit.  Typing this.  Still in my running clothes because I didn’t even have a chance to break a sweat in them.  Foot propped up on a foot stool because it hurts to sit with my leg bent and my foot on the floor.  An ice pack on my knee trying to dull the pain.  Wondering if I’ll ever see the finish line in Vegas.  Wondering if I’ll ever see the START line in Vegas.  Wondering if noon is too early to start drinking…

Clarksville Half Marathon: The Race Report

I’ve really been looking forward to this race for quite some time.  The Clarksville Half was my first-ever HM.  I ran it last November 7th a mere four months after I started running.  I was excited to see what kind of time improvement I could put up on the same course one year later.

As you may know, my knee has been giving me a bit of a fit lately, and after a six-miler Thursday night, I had serious doubts about whether or not I would be able to run this race on Saturday.  By the end of those six miles I was feeling nauseated I was in so much pain.  Every time I bent that knee it felt like something was slicing behind my kneecap.  But I had done an out-and-back and I didn’t have a phone with me, so without resorting to hitch-hiking, my legs were my only mode of transportation back to my car.

Anyway, long story short, after lots of drugs, ice, and very, VERY agressive stretching and massaging (which has led me to a new theory that I am going to be speaking to the sports medicine doctor about tomorrow when I see him after my MRI) I was able to toe the line Saturday morning feeling pretty darn good.

It was a chilly morning–probably the coolest one of the fall so far!  The temp on the car hovered right around the freezing mark on the drive to Clarksville.  By the time the sun came up and we were set to start running at 8:00, it was probably up to around 40.  I couldn’t have asked for a better running day!  It was cool at the start but with my awesome pink knee-high compression socks, shorts, and a short-sleeve tech tee I was PERFECT once I got moving.  I felt bad for the people that obviously didn’t check the hour-by-hour forecast to see that it would be upwards of 60 degrees by the time we finished.  Toward the end I was passing people who were no doubt suffocating in their cold gear tights and compression turtlenecks.

So back to the starting line…

Don’t you just love early-morning no-makeup closeups?

The field size for the half was a little shy of 500 runners this year.  There were no corals or anything, so I just kind of stood off to the side with D (Yes, the Hubs actually went to a race with me!  He slept in the truck while I was running, but at least he came!  haha  And he did make it back to the finish line before I did.) and stretched until someone yelled GO.  I waited for the pack to thin out a little bit, passed my fleece jacket off to D and I was off.

I gotta hand it to ’em… for what the expo lacked, the race made up for.  They didn’t have bands on the course like they did last year and like the website said they would this year, but they outdid themselves with the support.  There were portajohns all throughout the course (which thankfully I never had to utilize), and there was water/Gatorade about every two miles.  Each stop was very well-staffed, and the volunteers were all so cool and encouraging!

There’s really not a lot to tell about my race.  I didn’t take my camera with me because honestly there’s not much to look at on the course.  It’s a pretty course, but it’s just typical rural Tennessee countryside–the same thing I see on EVERY run!

My knee didn’t put up too much of a protest, and I made it to about mile 10.25 before I had to stop for a minute to walk/stretch out a twinge.  And with that I was good to go again.  I walked one more time for a cup of Gatorade at the last water stop at mile 12 and then brought it on home still feeling strong.  D was there at the finish line with camera in hand, but the sun behind me really whited out the picture and it wasn’t worth keeping.  Hopefully the race photos turn out decent!

My official time came in at 2:21:13, an 8:02 PR from April!  I felt strong throughout the course and can’t wait to run it again next year when I’m hopefully not nursing a bum knee and not in the smack in the heart of marathon training.  I definitely could have put more into this race than I did, but since my ultimate goal is Vegas in 5 weeks I didn’t want to push anything.

I got a hefty PR out of it and a new piece of jewelry, and really, what more can a girl ask for?