Excitement is off the charts….

….for my upcoming race schedule that is!

After my injection in my neck last week, most of the numbness in my arm seems to be gone.  I’ve only had mild numbness once or twice since the day after the injection.  I still haven’t attempted to get back on my bike, but my focus has now moved onto my upcoming running race schedule.

This Sunday, I will be running the Allstate 13.1 in Atlanta, but it is simply a training run for the Savannah Rock N Roll Half which I want to try to PR.  My plan for Allstate is to run part of it as a tempo run.  I’m thinking 8-9 miles. I then have the Monster Dash on Oct. 20th before the Savannah RnR on November 9th.

My current PR for a half is 2:17:07.  I’m still using the run:walk method, but I’m optimistic that I may be able to PR using it at Savannah. I just need to either speed up my walk or change up my ratio.  Yesterday, I was able to average a leisurely 11 minutes a mile on a 7.7 mile run using a 2:1 ratio.  When I got home and looked at my Garmin numbers, my run pace was usually around the low 9’s or high 8’s, but my walk was really slow, so I’m hoping to work on this over the next 4 weeks, and see if I can get my overall pace down for Savannah.  I’ve really been enjoying using the run:walk method, and I feel like my recovery time from day to day is much better.  I am no longer reaching the end of my long run feeling exhausted like I couldn’t run any further.

My Garmin data from Sunday

After Savannah, my race schedule is going to get a little crazy!  I have the Serenbe Hill Country 15K on Nov. 23rd.  I ran it last year the week after my very first half, and it KICKED my butt!  I’m hoping for some redemption this year.  It’s an awesome race, but it’s a trail run, and I haven’t ran many trails.  My biggest concern is whether I need to stick with the 15K or drop to the 5K because after Serenbe, I just registered for the Rome 30K on December 7th because of peer pressure and due to being temporarily insane.  I’ll be running it with one of my BRF’s Jeneen.  It’s a big jump to try 30K for me, but I need to test the waters of farther distances.  Right now, I just want to finish the 30K and not die at the end. 😉  If the 30K goes well, then I will be moving up my timeline on my first marathon to run Albany on March 1st, but no commitments yet!

For next year, I am registered for the Red Nose Half, Albany, Publix, and the Ragnar Trail Relay in Conyers, GA.  I’m looking forward to getting a Ragnar Relay, marathon, and Half Ironman checked off my running bucket list sometime in the next year provided I can stay injury free, so stay tuned for updates on my journey towards these goals!

 

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The Big Day

Tomorrow morning at 9:50 I am scheduled for the steroid injection in my neck to help with the nerve the bone spur or disc is pressing on.  I found out at my last doctor’s appointment that I will be put under general anesthesia for the injection, and I’ve been having second thoughts ever since.  The numbness is annoying and at times it hurts, but is it worth going through with all this?  General anesthesia isn’t something to be taken lightly, so I’ve been mulling that question in my mind over and over again.

The numbness started back at the beginning of May and progressively got worse until I could no longer ride my bike because it was causing so much pain.  When I first quit riding, the pain & numbness stayed the same, but in the last month and a half, they have gotten less persistent.  Which makes me question if I should just wait it out.

I really want to get back on my bike though, and every time I think, “maybe it’s done being numb & hurting,” it somehow reminds me, and it did so last night while I sat on the bleachers watching my daughter at her practice, and it proceeded to remind me during my sleep last night as well, so I will be going ahead with the injection in the morning.

I’ve been told that it should improve pretty quickly, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I might be able to make the last evening group rides of the season next week, probably wishful thinking.  We shall see………….

Iron Horse 15K

Rocking the horns for Amber at the finish.

Rocking the horns for Amber at the finish.

There’s no better way to train and prep for a race than to forget that you registered for it.  Yes folks, that’s right, I forgot I registered for a 15K race.  About a month and a half ago my running buddy, Jeneen, asked me if I was still doing the Iron Horse 15K, and I told her that I never registered for it because of my injuries.  I even looked back at my old emails to see if I had a confirmation for it, but I couldn’t find one, so I went on my merry little way under the assumption that I didn’t register due to my recent injuries.

And then, Friday the 13th came.  A little after 8AM, I got an email informing me about packet pickup for the Iron Horse 15K.  Say what?  Time for panic to set in.  I had no clue what time the race was on Sunday or how I was going to get there.  I sent a quick text to Jeneen in a bit of a panic.  She said that she was sure someone would take the bib.  Uh, nope, not going to happen.  If I registered, then I’m going to run it.  I had 9 miles on the books for Sunday anyway, so I’d just make it a training run.  Jeneen said she’d pick me up Sunday at 5:20AM, and she, Veronica, and I could all ride together to Kennesaw.  After getting travel arrangements made, I was still dumbfounded as to how I could have missed the email confirmation a month earlier, and honestly, I was still hoping that it was a mistake, and I hadn’t really registered, so I searched my email again.  This time, I found the email in my vacation folder instead of my running folder.  Oops, I really did register.

Bright and early Sunday morning Jeneen showed up at my house, then we picked up Veronica at her house.  The ride to Kennesaw was a little under an hour, so it wasn’t a bad drive.  As we arrived, the packet pick up was well organized, so we got our packets quickly and stowed our stuff in the car.  About 7:00AM, the line for the porta potties was getting pretty long, so we briefly discussed driving to a gas station, but opted to stand in line.  With only a few minutes to spare, we finished our business and made it to the start.

Just before the gun fired, we found Joy, another running buddy, said hello, and then we were off.  I caught myself chatting with Jeneen for a minute and realized that I was starting too fast, but the course started downhill, and typically I run faster downhill.  I figured it’d probably even out quickly.  By the end of the first mile, I had settled in pretty well to my average pace, but I was still a little fast.  I lost Jeneen and Veronica around 4 minutes as I broke to a walk for my run:walk ratio of 4:1.  I knew I was going to be running the race by myself, but it’s hard to stick to your plan when you want to run with your friends.  I broke to my walk at 4 minutes knowing that if I didn’t I could be risking another injury, and I’d be dying by mile 3 if I tried to keep their pace.  They were aiming to finish in 1:30, and there’s no way I could hang with that.

The course was pretty neat for me since it took me back by my old stomping grounds.  There were lots of old memories as we ran by my Alma Mater, Kennesaw State University, and my old apartment complex.  I haven’t been back on campus in forever, so I hadn’t had a chance to see the new football stadium.  The course took us by the Home of the Owls on the way out and back, so I got a good view of it.  I knew the area by looking at the road names, but as I ran, I couldn’t actually recognize much of it at all due to the changes.  I guess a lot changes over 12 years.  Needless to say, I was pretty distracted by the sights.

The course was well marked.  Police were at all the intersections blocking traffic and letting cars through at some points around Town Center Mall, but they did a great job and never disrupted the runners to let the cars across.  At one point, there was a break between me and the girl ahead, and an officer tried to wave a car through.  The driver wasn’t watching, and the car finally noticed the officer.  He made the car wait because I was too close by then.  Just after I passed, he apparently tried to wave them across again, and the driver was once again not paying attention.  The officer yelled at the driver about not watching.  It provided me with a little giggle around mile 7.5 where I was struggling due to a rather long hill. The officer was not happy with that driver.

Mile 8-9 was my fastest mile at 10:05.  It was downhill which was a nice relief after the previous mile.  I knew I still had an uphill somewhere up ahead, but I couldn’t remember how far ahead.  Luckily, it was only the last 3/10ths of a mile on the course.  As I headed up the last hill, I saw Veronica and Jeneen standing on the side cheering for me to keep going, which sucked and was great at the same time because I really wanted to break to a walk by this point since I had skipped my last walk break trying to finish at a run.  There was no way I could break to a walk with them cheering for me though, so I topped the hill feeling like I was going to hurl as I turned the corner towards the photographer and finish line.  I really thought he was going to get a great photo there for a minute, but I regained my composure, smiled, and rocked the horns as I specifically thought about my friend & running buddy Amber who now lives in Kansas.  She always throws the horns at the camera, and for some reason she was on my mind, so I had to do it for her.  😉

They gave all the finishers a pretty cool medal as we crossed the finish line, and there were several sponsors with pasta, pizza, muscle milk, and other food in the finish area.  The race had great support, and it’s definitely one that I’d recommend to others.  My finish time was 1:42:08 on my Garmin which I’m happy with considering all that I’ve been dealing with injury wise lately.  My goal is to try to PR my half at the Savannah Rock n Roll, so I have to keep my eye on the prize and take it easy.

Next up, Allstate 13.1 will be another training run.  I’m sticking to the plan.

Post race with Jeneen & Veronica

Post race with Jeneen & Veronica

Injury update

Since my last update, I went for an MRI on my neck and got the results.  The MRI showed that I had a bone spur on my C6 vertebra that was pressing on the nerve that goes down my arm as it exits the spinal canal.  It also showed some other minor disc issues, but the bone spur is what seems to be causing the issue with arm numbness and pain.   The orthopedist said a bone spur in that area is actually pretty common, and if we did MRI’s on everyone over 40 (which I’m not), then we’d see it on over half the images, but since I’ve had a pretty active life it’s not unusual at my age.  For lack of a better word, he said it was basically some arthritis forming.  Yeah, yeah, just go ahead and say I’m getting old doc.  THANKS!  He thinks that with a cortisone injection the inflammation will go down, and the numbness and pain will get better, and surgery won’t be necessary.  Thank God, because I’m not really sure that would be an option I’m willing to consider.  The pain would have to be really bad before I am willing to go that route, and luckily I’m not in a lot of pain.  As a matter of fact, most of my pain is now gone, so it’s mainly just the numbness that is bugging me still.

On August 30th, the orthopedist referred me to a pain management doctor, but the doctor was to call me.  After a couple of days of not hearing from them, I stopped by their offices on Sept 4th, and I was able to schedule an appointment for tomorrow Sept 10th.  However, the appointment is only for a consultation to discuss the injection.  I wanted to go ahead and schedule the injection as well, but I was told that I had to wait until after the consultation to do that, so hopefully, I can schedule the injection by the end of this week or next at the latest.  My husband keeps telling me that I’ll be self-healed by the time I actually get the injection, and I’m beginning to think he may be right.  At least I can make it to about mile 3 or 4 now on my runs before my arm goes numb, and it doesn’t usually hurt anymore when it does, so my half training is getting back on schedule.  I still can’t bike though, and I’ve been told to stay off my bike until after the injection and preferably  until all numbness is gone.  I’m hoping I can return to biking by the end of September.

My DBS has been put on the back burner for now since I’ve been dealing with my neck issues, but I really think the slow down in everything has probably helped it as well.  I haven’t been able to do all of my exercises for it since some of the positions aggravated my neck worse, so it’s been a vicious cycle, but I’ve been taking my running return slowly, and I’m using the run/walk method doing a 4:1 interval right now.  I’m not back to the speed I’d like to be, but my mileage is almost back on track for my upcoming half marathons this fall, and my hip is holding up.  I was able to do a long run of 8.5 miles yesterday, and I still feel some tightness in it, but no pain, and that’s what counts!  I also ran the Big Peach Sizzler 10K on Labor Day, and even though I did it as a training run and wasn’t trying to PR, I was able to PR it since I hadn’t actually ran a 10K since last August which was my first 10K.  I could have definitely ran it faster and it wasn’t a PR I’m thrilled about, but it was a PR none the less, so it did make me feel better about my half marathons starting next month.

~ Train smart & have fun people!