Wednesday, October 26, 2011

STRETCH

This morning I had my first Physical Therapy session! My therapist's name is Steve and he was great. He watched me run, and told me I have a "very efficient stride". Of course, then he went on to tell me that I am "unbelievably inflexible" and that he "has 70 year old patients with more flexibility"! ROFL Gee, way to inspire me there, Steve! ;)

Really, though, that's no surprise! I knew that I didn't have much flexibility. I had gained some during my time taking ballet but it's been nearly a year since I took ballet and much of that gain was lost.

Anyway, he stretched me out quite a bit and then taught me the exercises I will need to do for my home program. He also gave me a strengthening exercise for my quads to help keep my knee tracking the right way while we work on getting the IT Band to loosen up a bit.

I will go back tomorrow, and then I will see him twice next week when I get back from the marathon! I think I'll see him again twice the week after the Savannah Marathon, though really I'm not thinking quite that far ahead just yet!

Gotta start packing - I leave tomorrow and I haven't put the first thing into a suitcase yet! It's so unlike me!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Some good news, I think

I went to see the Sports Medicine Doctor today. He took three x-rays of my knees, manipulated and poked at my legs, and diagnosed me with "IT Band Syndrome." He prescribed an anti-inflammatory medication and some sessions of physical therapy. I am able to get in two sessions of PT before I leave for MCM, so I'm hoping it will be productive.

He said it's OK to run the marathons but it's going to be painful. I can handle that. I won't be stupid, of course, but it's good to know that I'm not doing permanent damage to my body by continuing to push through.

I will go back and see him in 4 weeks, which will be 2 weeks after the Savannah marathon and 6-ish weeks before Goofy.

I'll update after PT tomorrow!

Monday, October 24, 2011

The pity-party is over!

I've had a lot of time to think and pray on this matter and I've decided to stop sitting around and thinking, "Woe is me!" and just let this marathon story continue to unfold! I'm going to have a blast this weekend because I've worked hard and put in the training. Hopefully, I will get to the finish line and get my medal. If not, I will be disappointed, but I will know I have given it my best shot and that's all I can ask of myself!

It doesn't do me any good to sit around thinking of what might have been or what should have been or think, "Why does this stuff always happen to me?!" To quote what my husband and I have been jokingly saying back and forth to each other these last two weeks, "It is what it is." It's time to change the only thing that I have in my control: my attitude!

I am blessed that I have been healthy for most of this training!

I am blessed that my aunt and uncle have gone above and beyond to welcome us into their home for 5 days!

I am blessed that my BFF was willing to go along with this crazy idea (which sounded REALLY good 6 months ago LOL)!

I am blessed that my injury is not making it impossible for me to attempt the marathon at all or not be able to travel!

I am blessed that I have the support of my husband, and my mother, and my friends who have done so much to encourage me through this entire process, including the last two excruciatingly emotional weeks!

And lastly, I am blessed that God will let me fuss and yell and be angry at Him, and yet He is still patient and willing to help me work through all of these emotions so He can grant me the peace that only comes from having a relationship with Him!

Ooh-rah!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Marathon Training Recap: Week 19

Here is what this week of training looked like:

Monday - 31 minute run
Tuesday - 1000 meter swim
Wednesday - rest
Thursday - 42 minute run
Friday - rest
Saturday - 2.25 mile run
Sunday - rest


At this point, I think rest is what I need more than anything else. I have a little bit of running to do tomorrow afternoon. A local reporter is doing an article on me and my BFF attempting this Marathon Maniac thing and the photographer is going to come take a picture of us running together at the park. But after that, I'm not going to run for the rest of the week until the marathon. At this point, I don't think there is anything that trying to run again will help. I was hoping that a run without feeling any pain would boost my confidence, but that doesn't seem to be happening, so there is no sense making myself upset by testing it out. At this point, it is what it is.

I talked to Coach Bill today and he said to just do lots of walking and take each decision as it comes during the race. Hopefully I will be able to go fast enough for long enough to Beat the Bridge and finish the race. I am trusting in God's plan, whether I complete the marathon or not. One thing is for sure with either scenario: I will have given this endeavor everything I have in me!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

So confused and frustrated!

I tried to run again today, and again had trouble with my RIGHT knee. Today I didn't wear the knee braces, since I was wearing them when my right knee started to hurt. Instead I wore my new CW-X Stabilyx capri pants that I had bought for the airplane ride home after the marathon. Both of my knees had been completely fine Thursday evening and all day Friday and all this morning. But soon after I started running today, my right knee started hurting. I ran about 25 minutes total, with 3/1 intervals, but when the knee wasn't getting better, I decided to stop.

I really don't understand why nothing is helping. I am stretching, icing, resting just like I'm supposed to. I've done knee braces and fancy stabilizing pants. I have some KT tape that I borrowed from a friend.

And nothing is helping. Ok, granted I haven't tried the KT tape, yet. That's next.

I think I'm going to call a Sports Medicine doctor on Monday and see if they can get me in. I figure the worst he can say is not to run (which I will ignore) and maybe he will have some solution for me that will allow me to get through the marathon!

My marathon goal seems to be slipping further and further away. And besides all of that, I really miss my running!! I really, really miss it!! :(

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Now the OTHER knee???

This morning I ran with knee braces on both knees, and with my new running shoes, and my right knee decided it wanted to scream and holler. @@ It started around 35 minutes into the run and so I stopped at 42 minutes when I realized it wasn't getting any better.

I'm aggravated because I haven't had so much as a twinge out of my knees all week long. I've been stretching and icing every few hours during the day. I'd like to stomp around like a two year old and have a tantrum - but I'm afraid that would merely aggravate my knees! LOL

So I rest and wait again. The marathon is only 10 days away, so I'm sort of running out of time. I'm starting to think it's going to take a miracle to finish this marathon.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Some progress!

I wanted to wait until the day was over before I posted, but I ran this morning with the knee brace on my left knee and I didn't have any pain issues. I did about 30 minutes, running 3/1 intervals. It was slow and I'm sure it wasn't pretty, but it was running and there was no pain so I will take that as progress and be completely thrilled!

I continued to stretch and ice all day and didn't feel any twinging.

My plan is to try to do another run on Wednesday or Thursday, and if that goes well, then I will try a somewhat longer run (no more than 5-6 miles) on Saturday. I might try to get over to the pool and swim now that my aquatic center is back open after renovations!

The race is 12 days away...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Marathon Training Recap: Week 18

I don't even have to check my training log for this one! LOL

Monday - rest (knee)
Tuesday - rest (knee)
Wednesday - 40 minute run (intervals)
Thursday - rest (knee)
Friday - rest (knee)
Saturday - rest (knee)
Sunday - rest (knee)

You know the other weeks that I said were the hardest in training? I was mistaken. THIS was the hardest week of training. Resting - not running, only doing the stretch/ice/rest/repeat drama - has obeen the hardest thing. I know in my heart and in my head that it is the right thing to do. But my body has so much energy and it doesn't know what to do with it. Add to that the nervous energy from wondering what's going to happen and the ups and downs of my emotions this past week and I'm feeling lucky to have lived through it mentally intact! LOL

I was finally able to email Coach Bill (my triathlon coach) yesterday and tell him what was going on. He suggested that I get a knee support bandage and do not try to run again without it. So I bought one this morning and will try it tomorrow. It feels very supportive on my knee.

I am really, really nervous about running tomorrow. I'll be sure to post about it when I can.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Whispers

This morning, even though I had intended to sleep in, my body clock woke me up for our Saturday morning run. 10 miles was on the plan. My BFF was at the park without me. It was all I could do not to cry.

So I reached over and opened up my Kindle, and flicked on the little reading light that I bought, and opened up a book that I've been reading for the last month or so - A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World by Paul Miller. Prayer is been something I have struggled with as long as I have been a Believer, and this book was recommended to me by at least 4 completely separate people (meaning that these people are from different parts of my life - they don't even know each other!).

I have been a little concerned through this knee thing that praying to God that He would heal my knee and allow me to run these races is "wrong" and "unChristian." Shouldn't I just pray for His will? Well, I was delighted to read in this book this morning that it's OK to ask for what I want, and in fact, God wants me to do that - to be real with Him. It just needs to be balanced with surrendering to His will.

"Christians rush to 'not my will but yours be done' without first expressing their hearts. They submit so quickly that they disappear. Overspiritualizing prayer supresses our natural desire that our house not be burning
[this is relating to an example earlier in this section]. When we stop being ourselves with God, we are no longer in real conversation with God."

and later in the chapter, the author sums it up: "Desire and surrender are the perfect balance to prayer."

So often I have remarked that I don't hear God when I pray and that makes it hard to pray. I have been trying to do better in listening for whispers from God. And today, while I was reading during the time I would/should have been running, I read this quote:

"If you were to look at a photo album of his [Jesus'] life, you would not see him with the best and the brightest but with the low and the slow."

The emphasis was mine... because one of my mantras in running has been something I learned from The Penguin: Low and Slow. When I am in training, I fall back on keeping my feet low to the ground and moving slowly forward. In fact, both my husband and my BFF have replied to me this week when I told them how worried I am about my knee - "Low and Slow, Jen."

Even though I know the author's use of the words "low and slow" don't have the same connotation as they do in my running life, I can't help but believe that it is a Whisper from my Lord telling me that He is with me!

And now, off to Stretch and Ice. :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Stretch. Ice. Rest. Repeat.

This is my life:

Stretch.
Ice.
Rest.
Repeat.

It's been beautiful out the last two days. But I don't get to run. I get to:

Stretch.
Ice.
Rest.
Repeat.

I wish I could say that something felt different. It still feels the same, which means that I can walk fine and I get a twinge in my left knee every now and then. But that's the way it was on Wednesday, and during my run the pain came back.

I'm working on thinking positively, though. No, I won't be running 10 miles tomorrow morning. But I am still preparing for the marathon because I'm resting up my knee in the hopes that, come marathon day, I am all healed up and ready to run! I ordered a new pair of shoes, thinking that maybe mine are dead. They shouldn't be, according to mileage (I rotate between 2 pairs of shoes and they each have about 175 mile on them), but I'm willing to give it a chance!

My plan is to try to run Monday morning, but if I'm still feeling twinges then I may wait until the new shoes arrive on Wednesday. I really don't know yet. Part of me wants to go ahead and try to run, that way if I have to go see about getting a knee brace, I will have plenty of time to do so. But the other part of me is just plain afraid to try to run again, not only physically but emotionally.

But like I said, I'm trying to remain positive. I'm praying that God is going to heal my knee, or in some other way enable me to run again and take part in these races. And at the same time, I am trying to remember that if something happens and I am unable to complete these races, that it will be OK. God has a plan for my life, even when it comes to running! I'm going to trust in Him to work out the details!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

More rest

I ran yesterday morning, and it went fine until around the 25 minute mark. When I noticed the pain beginning again, I stopped to walk for a few minutes. Tried to run again after a few minutes, and the knee pain began again so I just finished out my scheduled 40 minutes with a walk.

The plan is to take another 3-4 days off, and then I will try to run again on Monday. Friends who are "in the know" assure me that the hard work of training is past me now and I will still be able to do the marathon even if I'm not able to keep to the training schedule during this taper. It's better to get to the start line with healthy knees than to push through the running and risk a worse injury.

I spent the better part of yesterday crying. I don't know what happened to cause this. I followed the training plan. I didn't feel like I was pushing too hard. I really guarded my pace. I had done 18 miles two weeks prior without any trouble at all, and that was after having walked at Disney World all week and driving 8 hours in a car less than 24 hours before. I just don't know what happened.

I'm just going to stop there so I don't get myself upset again. All I can do is rest up, and try to run again in a few days. And pray that I'm able to get through these marathons.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Knee Update

I took Monday and today (Tuesday) off from running - Sunday was a scheduled rest day - and my knees seem to be fine. Yesterday I did ice but no motrin and felt only a slight twinge a few times. This morning felt a little more "off" but it's more in my quad right above my knee than where it was on Saturday and Sunday.

I will try to run tomorrow morning and see how it feels.

I've been having really bad nightmares the last 2 nights. About my knees giving out, and not being able to finish these 3 races I have scheduled in the next 3 months that I have spent half the year and a lot of money training for. It's been really awful.

Will update tomorrow after I try to run.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Marathon Training Recap: Week 17

Wow, this was such a bad week of training. I'll try to keep this post positive. Just be glad I didn't post on Saturday afternoon like I usually do! My attitude is somewhat better today.

Monday - 48 minute run
Tuesday - 45 minute run (5/1 intervals)
Wednesday - 1000 yard swim
Thursday - 48 minute run (5/1 intervals)
Friday - rest day
Saturday - 20 mile run
Sunday - rest day

So you see, I did get my 20 mile run in. It went really, really well until around mile 17-18 when my knees started to scream at me. It wasn't ever "we are injured", just "we are your knees and we aren't going to do this any longer"! During the cool down walk, which probably should have been longer, they quickly felt better. I stretched and drove home and took my cold shower. Put on compression socks and did a few things around the house, and noticed that my left knee felt especially badly. I decided to ice both knees a few times during the day. The left knee got worse as the day went on, but not when it was still, only in movement such as walking or flexing my knee. I took a motrin and went to bed.

When I woke up this morning, the left knee felt much better and the right knee was a little twingy. I iced both knees this morning before church, and the left one has been bothering me off and on all day. Sometimes it's fine. Sometimes it's not. Sometimes it starts to hurt but then it just goes away. I have no idea what the problem is. I haven't had ANY trouble with my knees at all during this training - at least not that I can remember. I had a little trouble with my left foot earlier this week so I wonder if I changed my gait in some way and that bothered my knee, maybe? Who knows! All I know is that I did my 18 mile run after walking at Disney all week long and felt great afterward. This is awful!

I am now actually wondering if I'm going to be able to finish. I never worried about that before. I always figured that I would be able to plod along, slowly but surely, and reach the finish. But now this knee thing comes out of the blue on the one run that's supposed to reassure me that I can do this. :(

I'm going to wait and see how I feel before I consider my run for tomorrow. I am starting to taper but it really isn't a dramatic taper - in fact, for the next two weeks the only part that decreases is the long run on Saturday. So if I need to miss tomorrow's run, or Tuesday's, or both, for the sake of my knee, then I won't hesitate. I'll just have to see how I feel when I wake up in the morning. All of my runs from here on out will be with walk intervals, and I will definitely be guarding my pace religiously during the next 3 weeks! That's really all I know to do: rest and go "low and slow". I hope it's enough!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Marathon weary

Tomorrow is a rest day, so that mean there is nothing between me and my 20 miler on Saturday. I am looking forward to getting it done and beginning to taper. I am totally exhausted - physically, mentally, emotionally. It seems like everything is in complete chaos around me. This busiest week of training has turned into the busiest week of everything! I am so tired and I cannot seem to get the things done that I need to get done. I figured it would be this way last week after Disney, but that it's still persisting is rather annoying!

If I ever try to sign up for another marathon, someone please stop me!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Marathon Training Recap: Week 16

Training is 80% complete!!

This was a decent week of training, especially compared to last week, and I'm really surprised. I figured my legs would be like lead all week long since I had been walking all week at Disney World and then came home to run 18 miles. But it really wasn't too bad - and I truly NEEDED that, psychologically!

Monday - 48 minute run (5/1 intervals)
Tuesday - 45 minute run
Wednesday - 1000 yard swim
Thursday - 48 minute run, plus form drills; 6.6 mile bike ride
Friday - rest day
Saturday - Georgia Race for Autism 10K
Sunday - rest

Monday was a rough run, I won't deny that. But I switched over to intervals early on so I could make it through more easily, and that helped a lot. But by Tuesday, I was able to run straight through. And by Thursday, I was actually feeling really strong! It was an awesome feeling!

Wednesday I went back to the pool for the first time all month. I was so looking forward to my swim, but my son had left my goggles (which he borrowed @@) in my husband's car. I wore my daughter's goggles but they leaked horribly and I ended up swimming with one eye open and one eye closed, which makes it hard to concentrate on form, or much of anything. Finally, I gave in and went home. BUT... I had still managed to get 20 laps in, even though the first 5 or so weren't nonstop due to the goggle issues. I can remember last year when swimming 20 laps at all wouldn't have even been a consideration!

On Thursday, my tri coach had asked me if I could meet him at the park for a ride. He has had my bike for the last week or so to look it over and tune it up a bit. I have been wondering if I need a new bike to accomplish an Olympic distance tri next summer. He looked it over and deemed it worthy for that distance - but said I should ask for a new bike as a reward. Considering they are $1000 at the cheapest, I'm not thinking that will happen, but at least it's good to know that I can do the distances I want to do on my current bike.

Coach got my lowest gears working, which is awesome for the hills. Then he gave me some secrets on how to get up the hills standing up. I had tried that before but always felt like I was going to fall over, which isn't a good feeling. He also worked with me on increasing my cadence when I ride. He had me spinning pretty fast and told me that's the lowest I should use when riding. Yikes! Finally, he raised my seat a good inch and a half which miraculously took all the pressure off my knees!!!! I have been wondering why people always talked about using cycling the day after a long run to loosen up the legs - my knees always hurt so badly after riding that it makes it feel horrible. Apparently it doesn't have to be that way! So now I can't wait to get back on the bike again, when I usually dread it!

See?? A nice training week!! About time, huh? Oh, I probably should mention that I have been a worthless lump of a person when it comes to anything BUT training. I fall asleep at 8:30 at night, can barely get up the energy to clean my house or educate my children, and I am just a general mess! LOLOL But training went better, so does anything else truly matter?? ;)

This coming week is the peak of training - along with the dreaded 20 miler! I have already put in my order for one of my husband's famous steaks, and I'm going to make cupcakes for a treat! That should help me get to the end of the workout, right?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Race Report: Georgia Race for Autism 10K 2011

I was really excited to be able to participate in this race today - the proceeds go to the local autism support group, and benefit kids locally. I last ran it in 2009 when it was just a 5K and in another location. Last year, they moved locations, added a 10K, and became a "Peachtree Road Race Qualifier" (which is the Atlanta equivalent of "Boston Qualifier" LOL). Because I was in the middle of Half Fanatic qualifying, I chose to volunteer instead of run. My daughter and I set up the food table and had a great time. But when the race started, I felt sad that I wasn't running.

This year, I decided to volunteer on Friday evening for set-up and packet pick-up so I could still run! My daughter and I worked together again, which was nice!

The marathon training plan called for 8 miles today, but I figured 6.2 miles was close enough, especially since I had an impromptu cycling lesson with my tri coach on Thursday that added to my training. We are experiencing a cold snap and I awoke to the temperature being 49 degrees - about 10-15 degrees cooler than usual. I wasn't sure what to wear, but I went with my new capris since I might need to wear them for MCM and I haven't had a chance to wear them in the heat of the summer.

The course was moderately challenging... a few hills including one long one... but it wasn't too bad. My BFF took off on her speedy way to a new PR and I settled in to try to work on my race pacing. I did better than I had during the Big Peach Sizzler (when I set a PR) or during the Operation Soldier Support 5K. Still, I was about 25 seconds per mile faster that I was shooting for. The first mile was the fastest, and then I settled into 2 miles around my goal of 10:30, before I inched back to 9:55ish.

The course wound mostly through a neighborhood and there weren't a ton of folks running the 10K so after we split off from the 5Kers, it was very quiet. There wasn't much crowd support - or ANY crowd support LOL - but the volunteers who were out there were very encouraging and nice! It was easy to zone out and get into a groove, which was something I haven't been able to do for awhile. It was really nice!!

Here is the requisite "race shirt" picture:
The next race on my calendar is the Marine Corps Marathon!! WOW!