St. Jude Marathon Training: Week 14 – I’M BACK!!!

Planned                                           Actual

Monday:  Rest                                 Monday:  Rest
Tuesday:  5                                      Tuesday:  5 miles @ 10:54 + 10 minutes high-resistence spin
Wednesday:  5                                 Wednesday :  5 miles  @ 10:41
Thursday:  5                                     Thursday:  Rest
Friday:  Rest                                     Friday:  3.1 miles @ 10:55
Saturday:  19                                    Saturday:  2 miles @ 10:22 + core and upper body
Sunday:  Cross-train                        Sunday: 19 @ 11:23
Total:  34 miles                                 Total:  34.1 miles

Rather than resuming the regularly scheduled program, I decided to pick up where I left off pre-leg pain.  If I had picked up where I left off, that would have only put my long run at 12 miles this week, and since October 14th was my last LONG run of 18 miles (followed by 13.1 and then no long run the next two weeks), I just really felt like I needed a long run.  Mentally as much as physically.

I took all of my runs super easy this week, still trying to get my quad back to 100%.  I did a lot of my miles on the treadmill this week too for the sole purpose of avoiding hills.  Running downhills seemed to bother the ol’ leg more than anything else, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t aggravate anything.

Tuesday it still hurt pretty bad to run, but I had it in my head that I wanted to run to make it hurt so that hopefully the sports ortho could easily pinpoint the cause of the pain at my appointment the next day.  So I hopped on the treadmill and decided to run as long as I had to to make it hurt.  But to my surprise, the longer I ran the better it felt.  So I cancelled my ortho appointment and instead went to my chiropractor.

Wednesday I ran outside after the chiropractor worked his magic, and that’s when I discovered that downhill running still kind of hurt, so I took Thursday off and then took to the treadmill again for Friday’s run.  I cut that run short anyway because I was just exhausted, and made up the additional mileage on Saturday morning.  All of those runs were positively uneventful and not noteworthy in any way.

And, in all honesty, the same can be said for Sunday’s 19.  Which in my opinion is a GOOD thing!  Everybody likes uneventful long runs.  That means nothing went awry, right?!  I did get super bored though.  Good God, I’m glad I only have one more long run.  I’m running out of things to think about.  The only thing out of the ordinary that happened Sunday was that I could feel a hot spot on the ball of my left foot that I knew would be a blister if I let it go, so I stopped the “out” portion of my out-and-back so I could get back to the house and take care of it.  By the time I got back, a blister was just starting to form.  I changed socks and hopped back on the treadmill to finish out the last four miles.  As far as the pain goes, I was still pretty aware of the thigh for the first several miles, but somewhere around mile 10 it hit me–“Hey!  I don’t feel anything!”  It felt completely normal.  And now, as of about three hours after finishing the run, it feels good as new.  I’m still gonna follow-up with my chiropractor tomorrow for one more myofascial release session just for good measure, but at this point I am deeming myself REHABILITATED!

See?!  34.1 of the most boring miles ever!  But you know what?!  At least I ran 34.1 boring miles!  Much better than last week!  WOOHOO!

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Warning Shot

Dear Running Gods,

I know I have no one but myself to blame for being where I am now.  I have forsaken the strength- and cross-training.  I run with bad form and have made no attempt to correct it.  But if you’ll PLEASE get me to the start line in 32 days, I’ll do better–I PROMISE!

Faithfully yours,

Pam

*************************************************************

I’m not down for the count yet.  I feel like this injury was my body firing a warning shot.  My chance to make things right before shit got REAL bad.

Let’s back up a few days, shall we?  When I last left you on Sunday, I was feeling pretty good about things.  I had just run one mile, and I told you it wasn’t painful.  Welllllllll, I spoke too soon.  Just like last Sunday after the half-marathon, the pain got worse as time went on.  I wasn’t quite back at square one, but I was definitely in more pain than I was before I ran.  It was back to where it hurt to walk again.  But I did as I said I would do.  I iced and rested Sunday night and Monday, so by yesterday it felt some better.

I knew had an appointment scheduled with the sports orthopedist (the one I saw almost exactly two years ago for my IT band when I was deep into marathon training) today, so last night I had a brilliant idea:  Run.  Make it hurt.  Make it easy for the doctor to pinpoint where the pain is coming from.  So I ran.  And I ran some more.  And the pain got better.  So I kept running.  And it got even better.  Still there, but better.  So I kept running.  Before I knew it, I had run five miles and I was in less pain than I had been in for over a week. I stepped off the treadmill expecting to feel that familiar stab when my feet touched the ground and… nothing.

Just for good measure, mostly because I know how much biking benefited me last week, I hopped on the spin bike and set it to high resistance and pedaled for 10 minutes.  When I got up, my legs felt like Jello, but there was no pain.  All evening long, no freaking pain.

I didn’t know what to do.  I was so confused.  I fell asleep last night wondering, “Do I keep my sports ortho appointment?  I KNOW it’s not a stress fracture now.  I hate to drive an hour and a half for someone to tell me I’ve strained a muscle.  I’ll cancel.  But then what if I cancel and it starts hurting when I run again tomorrow night?! ARGH!”  I made up my mind to decide in the morning.

Well morning came, and when I got up I felt a twinge.  Nothing anywhere near what I had been feeling though, so I decided to cancel the out-of-town sports appointment and call my local chiropractor.  He got me in this afternoon.  After talking with him about where the pain was, how it came on, etc., he decided I’d benefit from some myofascial release.

If I had known what he was about to do to me, I probably would have climbed out the window when he stepped out of the room while I changed into shorts.

O.

M.

G.

I didn’t know it was possible for a small piece of metal to inflict that much pain upon a person.  He said that’s how we knew it was working.  It’s like taking foam rolling to the next, more excruciating level.  Then he hooked me up to the electrical stimulation thing and was all, “That was fun!  Let’s do it again in a few days!”

I got the green light to continue training, instructions to foam roll the heck out of it, and an appointment for torture session round 2 on Monday morning at 0715.

St. Jude Marathon Training: Week 13

Planned                                           Actual

Monday:  Rest                                 Monday:  Rest
Tuesday:  5                                      Tuesday:  Rest
Wednesday:  5                                 Wednesday:  Core and upper body
Thursday:  5                                     Thursday:  20 min spin
Friday:  Rest                                     Friday:  30 min spin
Saturday:  19                                    Saturday:  30 min walk, core and upper body
Sunday:  Cross-train                        Sunday:  60 min spin, 1 mile run
Total:  34 miles                                 Total:  1 mile
Yep, you read that right.  It’s not a typo.  ONE MILE.  I’ve been doing this recovery shit by the book.  And, thank God, I think it’s paid off.  I didn’t make it to my acupuncture appointment on Friday.  I couldn’t get away from work, so I had to call and cancel.  And unless the pain comes back full-force when I run on Tuesday, then I’ll be cancelling my sports orthopedic appointment for Wednesday as well.  I may have jumped the gun on scheduling those.  It’s funny how runners’ minds work.  Instead of, “Hmmm… something feels off.  Maybe I need to take a few rest days,” we immediately jump to, “OMG, MY LEG IS GONNA FALL OFF!!!!  I WILL NEVER RUN AGAIN!!!!”

I got on the spin bike Thursday to see if biking would hurt it, and it didn’t.  I only went for 20 minutes that first time because, even though it didn’t hurt while I was doing it, I wanted to make sure it wasn’t going to hurt when I got up and tried to walk.  It didn’t.  If anything, it helped.  So I went a little longer and a little harder the next day, and then really kicked my own ass with the bike today.

Hey, just because I can’t run, that doesn’t mean I can’t get a good sweat on!

I have to admit something.  A part of me has enjoyed the week off from running.  Yes, I’m ready to get back at it, but rather than fretting over the missed training this week, I’ve savored the extra leisure time.  I came home from work and didn’t have to get in a hurry for anything else all evening.  It’s been kinda nice.  I’ve even had time to start reading a book, for Pete’s sake!

But it’s back at it tomorrow.  I did one slow test mile on the treadmill just to see how it felt after I finished spinning today.  I was still aware of it, but it wasn’t truly painful, ya know?  I hope that means it’s almost there.  I’ll rest it the remainder of today and continue with the intermittent icing, then Monday starts off the new week with another rest day, so hopefully those two additional days will have me ready to roll on Tuesday.  Fingers crossed for pain-free running this week!

A Plague on My House

If you count the four-legged members, which I do, there are five members of this household.  Of those five members, 60% of us are ailing in some way.  (Coincidentally, all the females.  Hmmmm…)

First, there’s me and my leg.

Second, there’s C.C.  Once a few months ago, she went through this stage where she was licking around her nipples a lot.  It only lasted a few days, so I chalked it up to allergies.  Well, a couple of weeks ago, she started licking her belly again but this time a lot worse.  She licked herself raw!

I took her to the vet on Monday and they gave her a shot of antibiotics and said if it didn’t get better to come back.  It was time for her blood work and overall well-kitty checkup anyway, so while they were doing her physical they noticed that she’s developed some pretty significant arthritis in her back hips and lower back.  I felt bad for not knowing that my poor kitty had been uncomfortable, but the vet assured me that cats are notorious for hiding pain.  She’s still pretty active and still able to jump on and off the furniture with no problem, but apparently she’s been uncomfortable doing so.  With only five days of the anti-inflammatories in her, I already see a difference in her posture and gait.  So we’re looking good on that front, but her belly hasn’t gotten any better, so we went back in for a follow-up this morning.  They just gave me a topical steroid spray to use and said to give if two weeks.

Bella also came along for the ride this morning because she’s been shaking her head a lot lately, and Harley has been licking her left ear.  Last time that happened, she had a yeast infection in her ear.  Besides that, she’s been kind of favoring her left back leg off and on for a couple of weeks.  Now with two bullies who like to wrestle… like ALL the TIME… strains are nothing new in our house.  But with this one hanging around for more than the usual couple of days, I wanted to have it seen about.  Turns out she does have another yeast infection in that ear.  When he checked out her leg, he noticed that her knee is pretty swollen, and she would wince when he would extend that leg.  So it’s ear drops and anti-inflammatories for her too!  And no strenuous exercise.  THAT’s gonna be fun… He said I can walk her, but no running.  That much, I can control.  But keeping these two yahoos from their wrestling matches, or from playing chase-and-tackle in the back yard, or from running full-speed up and down the deck stairs… that’s gonna be more of a challenge.  And on top of it all, he heard a heart murmur today that he’s never heard before.  He told me not to lose sleep over it because it was very mild, but he wants to listen to it again in 3 months and do chest x-rays and an echocardiogram if it’s worse.

Anyone got any tips on training an animal to do laundry or clean the house?  These critters gotta start pulling their weight around here!

Runner Down

It’s confession time.  I haven’t run a step since Sunday.  I can’t even walk a pain-free step.  I did something to my right thigh during RnR St. Louis.  I don’t know what or when, but I first mentioned it at brunch a couple of hours after the race.  I just remember mentioning, “Man, I think I strained my quad.”  Well, it only got worse as the day went on.  I’ve been RICEing like a good little runner, but yesterday, three days post race, it was at its worst.  I’ve been trying to do things to figure out if it’s muscular or skeletal, and I really think it’s muscular, but hell I’m no doctor.  I’m being smart, though, and resting.  I’m not trying to run through any pain.  But really, it’s not like I COULD run through that kind of pain.

I have an appointment with my sports doc next Wednesday afternoon, and I’ve decided I want to try a more nontraditional approach as well.  I have an appointment for a consult with an acupuncturist tomorrow with a treatment to immediately follow if she feels it’s something she can help me with.  I’ve never been to an acupuncturist before, but I’ve heard amazing success stories.  I hope I can be one of them.  I have this little marathon thing coming up in…. oooooohhhhh…. 36 days.

Las Vegas Rock n Roll Marathon Weekend Recap – The Race!

Okay!  So to pick up where I left off in my last post

I slept like a baby the night before the race.  I had my alarm set for 5:00 to be ready to leave the hotel room at 6:00 to be in my corral at 7:00.  I got up feeling pretty good.  M asked me if I was nervous, and I answered honestly.  No, I was not.  I wasn’t nervous; I wasn’t excited; I wasn’t really anything.  I had a few butterflies when we first got to Vegas, but after that there was really NOTHING.  I knew what had to be done, and I knew what I had to do to accomplish it.  I just had a very calm, matter-of-fact feeling.  Regarding the race, anyways.  I was excited as all get-out just to be in Vegas with friends!

I knew that the strip was going to be closed Sunday morning, so all along I had just been planning on walking to the start line at Mandalay Bay from our hotel, which was about a mile and a half away.  But as we were leaving D asked a taxi driver, “How close can you get us to the start line?”  He told us to hop in, so we did.  A few minutes and $12 later we were THERE.  Like RIGHT there.  He got us closer than I imagined he could.  Since we ended up riding rather than walking we got there earlier than I had planned.  We just hung out on the sidewalk right outside the corrals, people-watching, stretching, and eating my Clif bar breakfast.

Before I knew it, it was 7:00.  Only then did I stand up, strip off my throw-away clothes, and squeeze myself into my corral.  I wish I’d kept them on until I got closer to the start line.  It was another 25 minutes before I actually made it to the start, and I was FREEZING.  It was comfortable with my yoga pants and a sweatshirt on.  Not so much with a tech tee and shorts.



View in front of me from my corral

 I was in corral 16, but I think I actually ended up crossing with 18 because I hopped out of line to make one last stop at the portojohn.  And with that, I was off!

The first half of the race was basically an out-and-back of the strip with a loop at the farthest point.  Within NO time after starting, we were already seeing the wheelchair racers coming

back up the strip toward their finish.  Just a few minutes behind them were the fast cats.  It was cool to get to see them on the course!
I think Vegas has some sort of optical illusion effect to it.  The course is advertised as being flat and fast.  But from the very start, I felt like we were on an ever-so-slight downhill.  It didn’t FEEL like I was running downhill, but it did look like it.  I was thinking, “Ah, crap.  That means I’ll be on a steady uphill grade the entire way back.  The funny thing?  It looked the exact same way on the way back.
I took my phone with me on the course for two reasons.  First of all, I wanted to be able to keep in touch with my husband and friends to let them know where I was and whether or not I was still alive.  Yes, we could have signed them up for runner tracking, but that only tells you so much.  And secondly, I wanted to have a camera with me!  I took several pictures with it, but for most of them I didn’t stop so they ended up blurry and not even worth keeping.  I wish they had turned out better because I saw some cool stuff on the course!  There were lots of interesting characters running.  I saw Tarzan (running barefoot and wearing nothing but a loin cloth, and I think he was within the top 10 half-marathon finshers), Spongebob, Fred Flintstone, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, more Elvises than I could count, and lots of Santas.  Did I get good pictures of any of them?  Of course not.
I took my first walk break somewhere around mile 7-8.  I don’t remember where it was exactly, but it was the first GU station I came to.  I walked through the station long enough to suck down a GU and wash it down.  At that point I was right where I wanted to be.  I was trying to hold between an 11:00 and 11:30 easy pace, and I was doing just that.



How cruel to tease a bunch of marathoners with a bigger-than-life glass of beer!

 And that leads me to a question for you experts out there.  In theory, a flat course would be easier than a hilly one, right?  It just makes sense that that would be the case!  Flat = easy!  So WHY did it feel so taxing?  All of my training is done outside, and very, very little of that is on flat terrain.  I’m usually either going up a hill or coasting down one.  Is it because with a flat course you have to maintain a steady level of exertion without the breaks of a downhill?  I don’t know what the issue was, but by the time I came to the halfway point, some of the muscles in my hips and glutes were on FIRE, and that’s the only thing I could come up with.

When we were nearing the halfway point, back where we started at Mandalay Bay, I seriously wanted to slap some people in the crowd.  There they were at the half/full split and they’re yelling, “You’ve got this!  You’re almost there!”  Ummm…. excuse me, but not all of us are almost there.  Some of us were almost HALFWAY there.  It took a lot of will power at that point to veer right instead of staying straight and finishing with the other 19,000+ half-marathon finishers!  But alas, 5000+ of us made that right-hand turn and pushed on.
I had gotten a text from D telling me that he and M & C were there after the turn waiting for me.  It was nice to see them at that point! 

I slowed down to a walk and M walked with me for a minute, asking me how I was feeling and telling me, “You’ve got this!” and all other sorts of lies to make me feel good.
It was right after the halway point that we came to the first overpass bridge.  Holy moly!  I thought my glutes were on fire before!  I walked again up the rest of that hill, stopped and stepped up onto the sidewalk to stretch for a bit, and then coasted down the other side.   Ahhhhhhhhh…. that felt good.
After that, the scenery changed drastically.  No more big, pretty, elaborate casinos to look at.  No more spectator-lined streets.  There was the occasional band or cheer squad, but for the most part it was just me and the other runners on the back half of the course.  And it was nothing to look at.  The mountains were pretty in the background, but it wasn’t long before we turned and headed into what seemed to be a more industrial part of the city.  Lots of warehouse-type buildings and such.  Once I made it to the back half and I knew I was okay on time, I started walking through all the water stops.  I took my first really significant walk at around mile 18.  It was about there that my knee really started giving me some sass, so I walked a half-mile to appease it.  I honestly didn’t care about the time as long as it was under the 5:30 cutoff.  I was doing all sorts of math in my head:
“If I hit 20 miles at 4 hours that leaves me with an hour and a half to do 6.2 miles.  That’s just a little less than a 15 min/mile.  I can walk the rest of the way in at that pace!  But wait a minute, my Garmin is showing about 0.25 mile longer than the mile markers.  I need to jog on a little longer.”
Haha… yeah.  You can have some pretty strange dialogues with yourself when you run alone for that long.
At mile 22 I decided I’d given it what I had.  I walked it in from there.  I knew if I walked at a 15 min/mile pace I would finish with a few minutes to spare, and that was ALL I cared about!
When I got to mile 26, though, my pride got the best of me.  I couldn’t cross that finish line walking!  I picked it back up to a jog and crossed the finish line at 5:27:08.
I was in a pretty good deal of pain and was physically and mentally exhausted.  I grabbed some Cytomax and water and a Snickers bar and met up with everyone just right outside of the finish area.  After sitting and stretching for a few minutes we headed toward the beer garden and passed a tent where they were engraving people’s medals with their name and chip time.  I thought that sounded like a cool idea, but when I got up there I saw that it was $20 so I passed.  D ended up convincing me it was worth it.  I think his logic went something along the lines of, “Do you know how many $20 bills I just fed to a slot machine and have nothing to show for it?  At least you’ll have something to show for this $20!”  haha  Twisted logic, I know, but it worked.
Am I glad I did it?  Absolutely.
Will I do it again?  I believe my exact words at the finish line were, “Never again!”.  But I’d like to recant.  Instead of saying “Never,” I will say, “Not in the foreseeable future.”
For now, my immediate future holds at least a two-week hiatus from running.  I had my knee at a point that it didn’t hurt–not so much as even a twinge of pain–during the short runs of the last two weeks of taper, but I’m not sure what Sunday undid.  Monday was brutal, but I took today off work too and have mostly sat around alternating ice and heat.  It’s better than yesterday, but that’s not saying much.  If I can get it back to where it’s happy with four and five miles every other day or so, that’s where I will start and I will GRADUALLY build up my base from there.  There are some local half-marathons this spring that I would like to do, so hopefully I’ll be pain-free and PR ready by then!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go look at my medal again.
Here, I’ll show it to you again too.

Overall: 4720 out of 5154 · Division: 376 out of 419 · Gender: 1900 out of 2141

Flyin’ Solo

So the MRI confirmed it.  M has a tibial stress fracture and a small meniscal tear.

I swear, I couldn’t be more upset if it were my own leg.  😦

So this first-time marathoner will officially be making her maiden voyage solo.  Guess I’d better be making me one heck of a playlist!!!

My 20-miler was today.  It went pretty well.  My ONLY goal for today was to get in the distance and to keep the knee as happy as possible.  I succeeded at both.  The time was not impressive, but considering all the walking (mostly for the knee’s sake–see goal #2) and the time that I spent coming back by the house for a pit stop and to change shoes (breaking in a new pair), I can’t be too upset about the finish time.  Yes, I include all my stops in my time.  Once I hit that start button with my first step, I don’t hit stop until I’m done.

I did find myself feeling sluggish though.  When I got up into the double digits I was like, “UGH!  Why are my legs so DEAD???  I’ve run these distances before!!!”

Then it hit me.

Until this week, the most I had run in a 7-day period was 30 miles.  It was at about that mark that my knee started acting up and I started cutting out midweek runs.  At the end of 20 miles today, that put my 7-day total for this week at 46 miles.  No freakin’ wonder my legs were like lead!  It was because I messed with my schedule last weekend and ran on Sunday instead of Saturday.  Sunday’s 15, Wednesday’s 5, Thursday’s 6, and Saturday’s 20 added up without me realizing it.  I was just so excited to be able to run at at manageable pain level again that I just RAN and didn’t do the math!  Oh well, it all worked out.

All aboard the taper train!!! 

Here a Gimp, There a Gimp…

Seriously.  WHAT is with this epidemic of injuries???  This is my first year that I’ve really been into running and socializing within the running community… Is it always like this?  Is it all coming to a head now because most everybody is at the peak of their training season in the fall?

I don’t follow just a whole lot of blogs, but a very high percentage of the ones I do read are (or have been) dealing with injuries!

I think Ethan was first with his hip/leg/knee issue.  (He hasn’t posted since about a month before he was supposed to run Chicago.  Does anybody know if he was able to or not?)

Molly was unsure for a while whether or not her hamstring was going to let her complete her marathon.

Julie’s guts started falling out when she ran.

Kate’s leg kept her from toeing the line at Malibu.

Beth had to withdraw from Denver when she suffered a femoral neck stress fracture THE WEEK BEFORE THE RACE when she went “balls out” on a tempo run.

Jen did battle with a bruised tibia as well as an angry IT band during the last few weeks of her training but was ultimately able to rock the MCM.

Tricia has been dealing with her knee issues for some time but gritted her teeth through delirium-inducing pain and completed San Antonio anyway.

Same goes for Chris and his sub-4:00 at the OBM marathon despite his knee pain.

Jamoosh still isn’t fully recovered from foot surgery, and now his knee is “jacked” too.  Yep.  Jacked.  That’s the official diagnosis.

Julie, Sherry, and I have all been babying our knees for the past few weeks.

And now Amanda’s knee hurts too!

I’m sure there are more that I’m just not thinking of right now.

But the one that I am the most upset about…

My Vegas Running Buddy, is sidelined.  She KILLED a 20-miler Sunday but had some knee pain with clicking afterwards.  She rested it a couple of days, but then when she tried to test it out and run again Wednesday the knee pain was far overshadowed by lower leg pain. 

She saw her sports doctor yesterday, and he ordered an MRI for today.  But just from physical examination he suspects a tear in the meniscus and a stress fracture.  ONE of those would be enough to do a person in.  We’re hoping for the best, but right now it’s pretty hard to be optimistic given the circumstances.

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?