Allstate 13.1

Early Sunday morning, I met my running peeps from Moms Run This Town and Atlanta Southside Runners at Walmart to carpool to Brookhaven for the Allstate 13.1.  We arrived a little before 6AM with our crew which gave us plenty of time to meet up with some people who were meeting us there and to hit the porta potties, take photos, check bags, and just hang out with each other for a little while.  Everyone seemed overly relaxed for this race.  For many, it was a training run in preparation for their upcoming full marathons, and for me, it was a training run for my upcoming half in Savannah, which would hopefully translate into a great race for everyone.  Not having the pressure of a time looming over my head is often when I run my best races.

Around 6:50AM, we headed to our starting corrals.  A few people with us were in the A, B, & C corrals which were the only actual corrals.  The rest of us lined up by the pace team signs in one huge corral, but since it was a smaller race, this wasn’t an issue.  My plan was not to PR this race since I still haven’t worked up to running over 10 miles since my injuries, so I headed towards the 2:20 finish time with Dani, Jeneen, and Keri.  On the way, Jeneen was questioning whether she needed to line up at 2:20 or 2:15 because she wanted to PR, but she sometimes underestimates herself, so she was thinking 2:20 would be a PR (which it would be), but 2:20 for a PR for her was aiming pretty low considering how she’s been running lately, so I piped up and told her she had to beat my PR which was 2:17, so she had to get in the 2:15 corral.  I had all the confidence in the world that she’d have no problem crushing it.  A quick fist bump, and we left her at 2:15.

MRTT McDonough/Stockbridge  https://www.facebook.com/groups/mcdonough.ga.mrtt/

Left to right
Keri, Dani, Me, Jeneen, & Joy

The corrals started to move, and Dani and I started walking forward.  We were about 1/10th of a mile from the start and everyone was starting to run, but I didn’t want any added distance since I was already worried about hitting the wall at mile 10, so I walked to the start.  At the end of mile 1, Dani told me we were ahead of our planned pace, and we were, so we slowed down, but that lasted until about the end of mile 2 for me.  At that point, I got tired of trying to “watch” my watch, so I just decided to run a comfortable pace for me.  I was still using the run:walk method that I’ve been using, and I kept it at the 2:30 run to 1:00 walk that I’ve trained with, but I ran the speed I felt like running.  This might not have been the best plan for a “training” run, but I had initially thought I’d try to run 8 miles or so at tempo, so just running what was comfortable was a good gauge for me to determine where I was in my quest for a PR in Savannah.  Looking back at my splits, my flat, rolling hills, and downhill miles were pretty close to the pace I need in Savannah, but I definitely struggled on the long uphills.  Somewhere around mile 8 or 9, I decided to add an extra 10-15 seconds into my run portion of my interval, so I’d simply run while I continued to count to 10 or 15 after my watch beeped to start my walk.  By doing this,  it was also taking 10-15 seconds off of my walk break.  I did this for 3-4 miles other than around 10.5 miles where I had to walk a little extra up a hill.  The extra run time didn’t seem too difficult, and I have 4 weeks until Savannah, so I plan to play around a little with a 2:45 to :45 ratio between now and then.  My last 2 miles ended up being my fastest which seems to be a typical pattern for me.  I think when I get a certain distance from the finish adrenaline takes over, but by the time I reached the finish line after those last 2 miles, I was out of breath and felt slightly nauseated.  I think I can speed up the rest of my half, but I won’t have that much left in my tank at the end.  I had more reserves left for those last two miles than I’d want if I were trying for a PR.  It’d definitely make me wonder if I had really given my all if my last 2 miles at Savannah are that much faster.

My Garmin data from Allstate http://connect.garmin.com/activity/386840209

I’m still liking the Galloway run:walk method, and I can honestly say that I don’t think I’d be doing as well coming back from injury if I was trying to just run the entire way.  I still feel some twinges in my hip when I do long distances, but the walk breaks seem to be just enough to keep the twinge at bay.  I’d probably have re-injured myself by now if I wasn’t using the run:walk method, so I plan to stick with it for a while.  Part of it is curiosity too I think.  I almost feel like I’m doing speed work using it, so I’m curious to see if I can continue to hold the running speeds that I’m hitting while gradually lowering my walk speed and/or time and increasing my run times.  It’s not something I’m planning to do quickly, and it would obviously start with only short runs, and maybe the last couple of miles of long runs, but it’s something that has peaked my interest to try.

Crossing the finish line

Crossing the finish line
Official time 2:22:58

Allstate 13.1

2 medals because I entered the Atl Challenge by completing the Allstate and Publix half marathons

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………….

Injuries Suck!!!

Ok, so what’s up with me?  I know I’ve been kind of quiet, and honestly I think it’s because I’ve been slightly depressed due to frustration with injuries.  I miss my training buddies, and I miss TRAINING!  But, things are looking up.

After my last update, I went to the PT for my arm numbness & pain which is believed to be due to my C6 vertebra compressing a nerve.  My shoulder had started hurting so bad that I couldn’t finish my last 20 mile bike ride, and I had to call my husband to pick me up on Aug 1st, and I went to the PT on Aug 6th.  The PT did some manual manipulation and put my head in a traction device at PT which felt good at the time, but as soon as I stood up from it, my arm started going numb again.  She instructed me not to bike or run for the next week. ARRGGHHHH!!!!  I still have not gotten back on a bike, but last week, I was able to start back running, and yesterday, I did my first swim since the beginning of August.  My arm is still going numb and starting to hurt during runs, but during my swim Monday, it went numb, but it didn’t hurt.

I feel like I’m totally starting over again with my running since I was off running for well over a month due to my hip, and now I’m still having to run with pain in my shoulder.  My hip feels better though!  🙂  Last week I ran 3 days for a total of only 11 miles.  I’m definitely behind for my upcoming half marathons, but I’m trying to take it easy & not try to build up too fast, so I’ve been using the run-walk method.  This week’s plan is to run 3 days with a total of 13 miles, so I ran 4 miles this morning.  I have just over 6 weeks until the Allstate half which I will be running as a training run, and I have just over 11 weeks to the Savannah RnR half which I was originally going to try to PR, but at this point, since I’m still not 100%, that doesn’t seem very likely, but I’ll see as it gets closer.

As for now, I have an MRI today of my neck which I’m hoping shows the doctors whatever they need to see to make this numbness & pain go away, so I can get back to my full training schedule sometime in the near future.  The PT said she thought I’d probably need injections in my neck to help with the inflammation to relieve the pressure on the nerve.  I’m pretty nervous about having an injection in my neck, but if it’ll help, then I’m willing to try anything right now.

Road to Recovery

It’s 5:15 AM and my alarm clock is blaring.  Am I really ready to jump back into running?  Will this morning be a waste of time and effort, or will my hip hold up?  Well, the only way to find out is to try!  Out the door I go at 5:45 AM to meet my running peeps for a 3 mile run/walk followed by a 20+ mile bike ride!  I’m feeling rather skeptically optimistic.

Beautiful Day!

Beautiful Day! Post run & ride

There’s a group that has been using the Galloway method (http://www.jeffgalloway.com/), and their plan is to run 3 minutes and walk 1 minute, so I figure I’ll give it a go today and see how that works.  I stayed with 2 other ladies who are currently dealing with injuries as well which was kind of neat because when these two are healthy, I don’t have a prayer of keeping up with either one of them, so I got to talk to them about their injuries and road to recovery as well.

One is also dealing with DBS, but hers is much more severe than mine due to several underlying problems that already existed.  She’s been out for about 6 months, and she’s just now been released to start a run/walk program.  She’s hoping to run her 2nd marathon in November, so she has 2 under her belt before she runs Boston in 2014.  Yep, that’s right folks, she qualified for Boston on her 1st MARATHON!  Like I said, I don’t have a chance to run with her normally, so it’s nice to have that opportunity now.

The other girl has a calf injury and her PT is wanting to do dry needling on her, so she was asking us some questions about it since we’ve both had it done before.  She’s hesitant to try dry needling (http://www.neurosportphysicaltherapy.com/services/dry-needling), but due to the results I had on my previous calf injury with dry needling, I’d try it anytime a PT thinks it might help!  It’s a strange sensation, but basically a small needle is inserted into trigger points in the muscle.  You don’t really feel the needle much, if at all, when it is inserted, but when the PT finds the right spot, the muscle feels like it contracts tightly like a cramp or charlie horse and releases immediately.  After having it done on my calf, it was sore for a couple of days.  I had to have 3 sessions on my calf before it was better.  I will have dry needling for my DBS on Tuesday.

Running is always more fun with friends to talk and keep you distracted.  The 3 miles actually went by really fast this morning, and we completed it in just under 36 minutes with our run/walk pattern.  It’s funny that when I started a year ago my first 5K time was slower than that, and I was dying at the end of it, but today’s run felt extremely easy which is nice because one of my main fears with having to take time off due to injury is that I’ll be starting completely back where I was in January 2012.  As I ran today, I did feel the muscle some, but it wasn’t a pain or stretching sensation.  It was just more of it being used like when I do my PT exercises, which is a good sign….I think.  I will say that I won’t be jumping up in distance really soon, and I think I may actually stick to the Galloway method for this season since it’s supposed to help with injury recovery.

After the run, 2 of us jumped on our bikes for at least 14 but maybe up to 28 miles.  I hadn’t rode after running in quite some time since I haven’t ran in forever, so I wasn’t sure how it’d go.  We rode a 14 mile loop, and it wasn’t very hilly, so it was a somewhat leisurely ride.  Instead of doing the 14 mile loop a 2nd time though, we decided to opt for an 8 mile loop, so we ended up with 22 miles total on the bike.

Overall, I’d say today was a pretty successful outing, but I’ll see if my hip agrees with that verdict later this evening since that’s when it usually starts aching.  I’m hoping this means that I can start back running with my running buddies about 3 days a week.  I need their motivation, and I miss my friends!  Running buddies quickly become more than just running partners.  Some of the best conversations about life in general happen while pounding out all those miles!

Just suck it up!

I had planned on getting up and riding at Trek this morning with the group ride, but my bed was calling my name, and I gave myself every excuse as to why I could skip.  Of course, the bed won out, and I ended up sleeping until after 10AM.  As the day went on, the guilt set in.  I hadn’t hurt anyone else and no one was putting this guilt on me other than myself, but I felt like a slug all morning after skipping.  Now, I needed to figure out how to get out of this funk.

My son had a cub scout event at the skating rink, so my husband took him and my daughter, so I had the afternoon to get my lazy butt going.  Not having anyone to ride with and knowing that I’d be doing a long ride tomorrow morning early, I opted to head to the gym to get a swim in.

Even as I walked into the gym, I was trying to talk myself out of my workout.  I’m not sure what’s going on lately, but I think this whole DBS has me in a bit of a funk since I’m not running.  I fought the urge, and I got in the pool and swam the 800 meters that I’d set out to do.  My swimming is definitely improving with the freestyle.  I’ve totally given up the breaststroke due to my hip pain, and I think the freestyle is starting to really pay off.  The added bonus is that the freestyle also works the glute muscles that I need to strengthen, so they are getting the work with the PT exercises as well as the extra swimming now.  After my swim, I decided to ride the stationary bike for 30 minutes to get some more cardio in.  Again, it took everything I had to finish the entire 30 minutes without stopping early.  I haven’t been on a stationary bike in FOREVER, and it sucked!

Knowing that I have a 10K on Labor Day and the Allstate 13.1 in October, I decided when I got home that I’ve got to try to start training again, so tomorrow morning I will be attempting a walk/run for 40 minutes with some supportive friends of mine who have graciously agreed to meet at 6AM.  I’m hoping it goes well because I really don’t have time to put my training off anymore without starting to drop races.  A lot depends on tomorrow morning’s walk/run for me, so I’m off to bed with sweet dreams in my head.