Wednesday, 9 October 2013

First post-marathon run

After twiddling my thumbs for a week, slowly going crazy, I finally decided on Monday..screw this I'm gonna run (1 week 1 day post-marathon). My knee didn't hurt anymore, why not? Bad, bad idea! I was full of the joys of life for around a mile and a half and then it all went downhill.

After that point my right knee (the one I injured) began to hurt, not unbearable but it reminded me I probably shouldn't be running. Towards the end of the run my left knee decided it wanted to join the party and hurt worst than the right one. I've had ITBS on and off with my right knee for over a year but never my left, WTF. 3.5 miles in 40 minutes, grrrrrr! I was as fresh as a daisy at the end...I never even broke a sweat despite the fact that it was over 30˚C when I ran, but the pain was just too much.

I feeling pretty frustrated, somewhere along the way I've become a running addict and not being able to go out and run even 3 miles pain free is frustrating.
I'm still stretching a lot and I think most of my problems not only stem from my IT band but the fact that every muscle around my hip area is really tight. That run has been my one piece of exercise so far this week!
When I don't exercise I don't sleep well..which means I'm slowly going crazy. I was meant to go swimming this morning but getting up before 6am when I'd hardly slept just wasn't happening. The state fair is in town right now..I'm gonna go tonight and have fun. Tomorrow its back to exercise, early mornings and all!
I am excited to try out a runners specific yoga class that is running at my favorite yoga studio for the next few weeks....thats the plan for Thursday.
I have to keep reminding myself that taking a few weeks away from running to recover and heal is not going to affect my fitness too dramatically...well no worst than trying to run, making injuries drag on for months!!

I have to surrender to what my body needs but its hard for a control freak to do that :)

Anyway, I hope your week and running are going well.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Post-race recovery

You can read all about my race experience here The race.

Crossing the finish line felt great, but as soon as I got my medal and took a moment to admire its shininess, I had only one thought on my mind..FOOD! Earth Fare were one of the race sponsors and put out a good spread! By the time I was finished running, a lot of the food was gone but I still managed to inhale a banana and some pretzels!
Me and my precious, awful picture :)
That taken care of I headed to the medical tent with the intention of getting some ice for my knee. What I got was a full injury examination by a physiotherapist, bonus! She was able to pinpoint the source of my pain..I almost jumped of the table. My Lateral collateral ligament was severely inflamed. She did checks which involved her pushing on the inside of my knee, to check if the ligament was torn. Diagnosis- it was inflamed from my stupid IT band passing over it. I walked limped away with a giant ice pack strapped to my knee.

You know what's good for pain, BEER. Thanks to the Highland Brewing Company my bib came with a coupon for two beers. A muscle relaxant, carbs and tasty all in one, what more could you want. A couple of those and I was talking the ear of my friends, who'd drove up for the day to see me finish. We headed out to lunch. I had another beer (and lots of water) and half a pizza. I really thought I'd eat everything in sight but I didn't really taste the pizza and was full after less than half of it.

I went back to the hotel to assess the damage and shower. Besides a tiny blister on one toe and some weird gunk from my belly button there was no rubbage. Thank you BodyGlide and Fleet Feet! Everyone was exhausted especially the pup! We all fell asleep with the TV on. 2 hours later my angelic best friend went to a CVS and came back with lots of liquids and a large bag of ice (forgetting that most hotels have an ice machine). I proceeded to basically bury myself in that bag of ice. I would have had an ice bath but I was worried I'd fall asleep in it!

I ate the rest of my pizza, had a protein shake and slept for the rest of the night after a healthy application of water and ibuprofen.
The next morning I continued to ice my knee. I knew the best thing I could do for my body was to walk a little and stretch but walking might not be so good for my knee right now.

My desire to see DuPont State Forest won out. I'm a little obsessed with the Hunger Games so I really wanted to see some of the filming locations in the park (at the waterfalls). No serious hiking was involved all the trails were leveled with gravel. I quickly learned that my knee didn't hurt if I walked downhill backwards. I looked like an idiot but I think the alternative moans of agony might have made me seem like more of a weirdo. Small children were passing by me even when walking forwards but it was a beautiful day for a walk and the waterfalls were spectacular.
Stairs, ouch!

This is how the cool kids walk down a hill
Totally worth it.

It's now 4 days post marathon. Each day is like getting up to a new and improved body as the soreness recedes. I'm pretty much back to normal now. I've been on a steady diet of ibuprofen, not something I like to take, so today I cut it down a lot, only needing some this evening for my knee after a day on my feet. I'm icing my knee 3-5 times a day, as well as stretching everything focusing on my IT band and my dreaded foam roller has seen lots of use.

 I got a massage yesterday from my regular masseur...heaven. After 4 visits she has managed to deknotify (my own technical term) my, until now, permanently knotted back. Yesterday she went to town on my legs. She noticed the swelling and tenderness in my right knee but said overall my left leg was in a worst state, poor thing compensated for my right one I guess. I know massages are expensive (I'm not rich believe me I know they cost money) but its worth it...not only for recovery but to help with any hard training. While I was training my runs after a massage felt like I was floating along and post-race just one massage has taken care of any residual muscle soreness.

Right now all my plans are all up in the air. A lot of it depends on my knee but I might start a swimming regime this weekend to keep my fitness up. I've even contemplated getting a trainer for my bike so I can use it indoors in the evenings to build up my weak quads. Someone smack me for saying this but I even miss running. My knee is already feeling better but I know from experience how this injury can linger so all I see in my future for sure is stretching and ice!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Asheville Citizen-Times Marathon -The Race

For pre-race details and drama see 'twas the night before the race
Crossing the start line, it was time to put all my nervous energy to good use. I ran at a fast but comfortable pace trying not to go out too fast or focus on catching my pacing group that were now 4-6 minutes ahead of me.
I wasn't sure what to expect of the first half of the course having only run the second. We ran through residential neighborhoods as we headed north out of Asheville. Hills and more hills. Thankfully I was finding it easy enough, with none of them providing any more of a challenge than the rolling hills Columbia sits on. 
I passed the 5 hour pacer early in the race and then another one for the half-marathon. At some points it was really dark and I was glad of the glow bracelets provided. Especially considering one half of almost all the roads we ran on was still open to traffic.
At three miles I caught up with the 4:30 pace group. I must have been running faster than I thought oops. They were running 10 min 19 sec miles which felt unbearably slow but I had many miles to go. I felt good chatting away for the next few miles to the nice people in the pace group. My right leg was slowly demanding my attention but I ignored it. 

Every hour or so I was taking Sports Beans with water, and in between grabbing Ultima Replenisher at the aid stations. I also tried to eat a piece of a Bonk Breaker bar for a different flavor but I had to spit this (and at one stage Sports Beans too) as holding it in my mouth to chew was making me nauseous. The aid station were spaced 1-2 miles apart and were well stocked with all sorts of stuff including drinks and Gu gels. I also passed about 3 medical stations so all in all we runners were very well looked after!

Somewhere around 7 miles (after the half-marathon split) the real bad boys came out to play, a.k.a what seemed like a f'in mountain. I think it might actually have been part of a mountain. We climbed and climbed and climbed, steeply. Every time the course turned onto a new road or came to a bend I thought it has to level out or go downhill. Noooo more uphill. I fought my way up them keeping on pace but it was a hard ol slog. 
After around 3 miles of hard climbing we had a few steep downhill sections which I really wanted to run all out on but held back. Then the smaller individual hills just kept coming. At this stage my right leg hurt really badly and was tight from hip to foot. I hung on to see my best friend and puppy at the 12 mile point, what a pick me up. 

At this stage even the smaller hills were becoming a struggle but I clung to the pacing group as best as I could. I knew a flat section was coming up so I used the pacing group to get me there. I hung with them for about a mile of flat. 
Physically could I have stuck it out with the pacing group til the end?, unknown, but mentally I needed to run my own race. I took a bathroom break at mile 19 ending my run with the pacers, this also marked my first walking break (yay). I had a few shaky moments (ok minutes) when I got going again, dizzy and shaking with chattering teeth (the wall?). Mile 19-20 seemed like the longest mile ever until I realized there was no mile 20 marker when a lovely person at an aid station shouted that I was almost at mile 21. Hallelujah!
I started to feel a bit better overall (with the exception of my stupid knee) so I consistently ran the flat and downhill sections. Hills now began to make a reappearance (looking a lot bigger than I remember) so I quick marched up them. 
22-24 miles were a loop section for the most part so once I got out of that I knew I could walk the rest if I wanted and still make it in loads of time for the 6 hour cut off. Having not yet been passed by a 5 hour pacer made me pick up the pace a bit to try get over the line before 5 hours. The last 2 miles except for one or two small sections were up steep hills...have I not earned my medal by now!!

 I made it tho 4:49:10 (chip time). Slower than I wanted. Especially considering my half-marathon split time was 2 hours 13 mins.
 I'm now gonna put this into perspective for myself. People who have run tons of marathons (30+ including Boston) have been quoted as saying this is the hardest course they've ever run. I not only did this for my first marathon but I did it with an injured knee. I ran up and down a frickin mountain as well as a butt load of other hills. I'll take my time and be proud.

I enjoyed every bit of the race even the worst moments.

Back of medal lists all the neighborhoods we ran through.

 A few things stand out in my memory:
The buzz from the crowd at the starting point.
Running in the dark with only glowing bands stopping me from ploughing into other runners.
Passing and being passed by the wheelchair (bike) participants, and watching their struggle up the hills, not only dragging their body weigh but a great big bike, very inspiring and humbling!
A girl bald from undergoing chemo cheering us on from her garden...I felt like I should be applauding her.
Being told I looked strong in the first Half and believing it, being told that in the last 8 miles and knowing they were lying lol.
The hundreds of volunteers and supporters along every mile of the course...thank you, you made me smile and laugh the whole way through!
Seeing a cross covered in teddy bears along the roadside..this may have made me cry.
Taking to a man more than twice my age about Chi running as we both walked up a hill....he eventually left me behind.
Knowing I was going to finish.
Cheering back at the awesome drummers at the start of the finish chute.
Being able to pick up the pace and run hard across the line!