Monday, September 29, 2008

US Cellular Half Marathon Redux

I suppose it's about time to write my race weekend report.  Okay, here goes.  I ran, my calf muscles didn't fall off and I earned myself a nice little PR along the way. 

Ha ha, just kidding.

Friday.  We arrived at High Cliff State Park around 4:00, set up camp and head to the expo.  We would have arrived earlier in the day, but we got a late start because Josh decided to buy this pimpin' new truck before we left.

We picked up some goodies at the expo.  I got The Stick, a new running top and a cool license plate frame.

Silly, huh?  Oh well.  We runners are.

The rest of Friday was spend killing time at the mall and eating at Texas Roadhouse.  Yummy.

Saturday.  Shop, shop, shop.  That's pretty much all we did for the entire day.  I made out like a serious bandit at TJ Maxx and added a few good pieces to my winter running collection.  Since I only started running in the winter last year, I only had a few things I could wear that could stand up to the cold and sweat.  By the end of the week, those things could go running all by themselves!

We had dinner at Koreana, which was delicious.  We had a sushi plate which consisted of tuna, salmon, squid, red snapper, mackerel, eel, and shrimp and I had Bi Bim Bahb rice bowl.  Yes that is a fried egg on the top.  Deelish!

Sunday.  Race day!  Got up early and had a bagel, then headed out to the starting line.  Silly me, I had a complete brain freeze and sent us to the site of the expo and not the site of the starting line!  WHOOPSIE!  What can I say, I was nervous about my legs falling off.  Since my little snafoo cost us about 30 minutes, the shuttle buses ended up arriving before us and all the indoor bathrooms were packed.  So we stood in the port-a-potty line for 20 minutes before we got to the front of the line.  Note to the race directors for next year:  DO NOT LOCK HALF OF THE PORT-A-POTTYS ON RACE DAY.  Sheesh.

There were a little over 3,000 people participating in this event.  1000-ish in the marathon and the rest in the half.  We were all packed into the start corrall and when the gun took off, it took me 3 minutes to cross the starting mat.

I spent the first few miles dodging and weaving my way through the sea of walkers (seriously people, do you have to walk four or five abreast in the middle of the road?  And, why are you lined up before the runners?  The rules clearly state that you need to be behind us.  Good job and all, but CRIPES.) and slower runners (that was me last year!)  Things cleared out a bit when the marathoners split away from those of us running the half. 

The first five miles was like sensory overload for me.  Tons of spectators, tons of runners, lots of stuff going on.  People were pretty chatty at this point, so I talked to a lot of people.  Crowd support was incredible.  We ran past a local church where the entire congretation was standing by the road singing hymns.  Lots of people had dragged their lawn chairs down close to the road and cheered as we went by.  Some just sat there and looked at us with bewilderment.  Funny.  Anyway, before I knew it, I was at seven miles.

Which is about when things started to fall apart.  My troublesome calves, which were doing okay, decided that they'd had enough and they started to get angry.  I had some stuff called Bio-Freeze with me but I didn't want to put it on myself because I didn't want to risk getting it in my eyes.  Josh, who found me somethere around 7.5 miles along the course, rode his bike up to the 9 mile mark and smeared it all over my lower legs.  That stuff actually worked, for about 2 miles.  Then I basically just gutted it out for the remaining miles.  My pace, which was averaging around 10:40-ish per mile was dropping quickly, but I was determined to finish under an 11-minute mile.  Man, I had to dig deep to keep up that pace.  The last 3/4 miles seemed to go forever and I was so happy to round the corner and see those balloons!!

I ended up with a PR of 2:23:27 and averaged 10:57 miles.  Last year, I ran this race in 2:39:48 and averaged
12:12.  How's that for improvement?

We headed back to the park and changed spots, then headed out for some more shopping and some good Mexican food and margaritas, woo!

We came home on Monday and I promptly got the cold from Hell and missed three days of work.  After running 13.1 miles two days before, on Tuesday, I couldn't walk from the living room to the kitchen without being out of breath.  How retarded is that!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

This is exactly how I feel

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

US Cellular Half Marathon

I picked up a cold on the way home and I'm not feeling very bloggy so for now I'll just post my official results from the race on Sunday.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Another test passed

I decided to head out for another run this morning to see how my leg handled yesterday's run. My left leg was again fine, yet my right is still showing signs of ... something. I still can't quite put my finger on what I'm feeling there. I think I'd have to say it's a burning feeling in the Achilles region. It's not painful nor does it alter my gait, but it does force my undivided attention.

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I wore my compression brace again and this time I just left it alone and didn't stop to adjust it every 10 steps. Even though it screams "Gimp!" it's still pretty hot, no?

Oh yeah, so my run. My miles were 10:19, 10:31 and 10:45. They felt good and I wasn't pushing. I could have (and felt like) going farther, but I decided not to push my luck.

I found a neat feather in the grass by the park. I think it's from a goose. I took it home and gave it to Spencer. He promptly chewed it to pieces. Ha.

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Testing out the legs

My legs are feeling pretty good now, and I'm completely pain free walking up & down stairs so I decided to go for a little run today.  I went for around a mile, then it started to rain so I bagged it.

My left leg felt great, my right leg felt just okay. There was something there which I wouldn't classify as pain. Maybe tightness? I dunno. I wore the compression brace I picked up last week and I kept on taking it off, then putting it back on to see if I noticed a difference. I can't really say that I did.

I was pretty careful to not run up any hills, even the little ones. One thing I noticed is that after doing nothing exercise related for over a week, my legs feel pretty heavy. I need to get my ass on my bike and get them moving again before I start to lose muscle.

So now, as I lay here on my bed with my feet propped against the wall, both lower legs wrapped in ice packs and compression bandages, bloggity blogging away, I'm wondering if running next weekend is going to be worth all the effort I'm taking.

Maybe I should just forget about it and spend exorbitant amounts of money at the mall!


Finally, here are some gratuitous shots of Simon being way too cute.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Deep tissue massage - it's where it's at

In an effort to throw everything but the kitchen sink at my calf injury, I got my second deep tissue massage this afternoon.

I didn't go back to the place I went to last week. I just couldn't deal with the massage lady telling me that the solution to all my problems was running backwards and wrapping my legs in vinegar soaked towels overnight. Seriously. Also, I had a bruise on the top of my left foot due to an unfortunate run-in the the closet door in the middle of the night while I was on my way to the bathroom. I told her to please avoid my left foot because it was tender. Where's the first place she goes? My left foot. I reminded her again and five minutes later she's poking around my left foot. Her deep tissue massage didn't seem all that deep, either. I left there thinking that I must have a really high pain threshold because I really didn't feel much of anything while she was massaging away.

Anyway, my hair chick told me about a new massage place that opened up and I decided to give them a shot. They were able to get me in on short notice, which was a bonus. And, the message was what I initially expected from a deep tissue massage - some parts were painful, others uncomfortable, and others felt great. I left there with tingling in my toes, jello legs and an appointment for next week. I'm a believer.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It's my leg!

I quickly snapped a few pictures of my x-rays when I was waiting in the exam room yesterday.  They were on a laptop and the camera on my phone sucks, so it's not the greatest image, but it's my leg!  Sexsay!

No stress fractures either!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Diagnosis: Not bad

According to the sports doctor, I have gastrocnemius and soleus muscle strains in both legs.  "Your symptoms are classic" he told me.  I'm happy to finally have an answer.

I was pretty sure it was relating to biking, but the doctor didn't think that was much of a possibility.  So, now I'm back to blaming it on my Burma Road run as I noticed my pain the day after that.  Or, it could be from dragging my tube in the Otter River.  James said he had some calf soreness afterward.  In any event, it's nothing major and nothing that rest won't cure.

He recommended I use a compression sleeve when I run in order to keep the muscles warm and stable.  After dinner I'll head out to the shops to try and find one.

As for the half marathon, I'm going to go ahead and do it.  I'll start biking again tomorrow, but will lay off the running completely. 

The worst that could happen is that I completely overload the muscle causing it to separate from the tendon and require emergency surgery.  No big deal, I have really good health insurance.

Just kidding Mom!  Hahahaha!!!

Monday, September 8, 2008


Some notes for my Dr. appointment on Wednesday.

Run (miles)
Bike (miles)
July 7th157
July 14th168
July 21st480
July 28th1724
Aug 4th *
Aug 11th90
Aug 18th068
Aug 25th1758

* pain first presents itself on Aug. 4 run. Aug. 2 run was on an uneven, rocky surface.

Symptoms (day after running):
  • pain in base of mid-calf (both) to base of calf which radiates down to heel (does not venture past heel or into foot/arch)
  • tenderness on the inside of calf where muscle narrows, including some swelling (right leg only)
  • Pain highest upon waking, lessens after moving around
  • up & down stairs causes pain
  • currently (day 5 of rest) pain exists, but is in a low level controlled by Ibuprofin
  • Ibuprofin
  • Ice (20 minutes every 2-3 hours for the first day after running)
  • Heat (20 minutes each calf before running)
  • new shoes & insoles
  • calf & hamstring stretching
  • foam roller
  • deep tissue massage
  • arnica gel

Thursday, September 4, 2008

What to do, what to do

I was able to do my 9-mile run on Sunday after four day of rest. It was purposely slow - my average pace was 12 minute/mile. Cripes, I haven't been that slow in ages. Of course, I did stop and stretch every mile, so that probably added to my slowness factor. I was supposed to run seven miles last night, and I only made it to two before I stopped. My legs are in bad shape.

I have pain which starts mid-calf and radiates down to my ankle. It's manageable with Ibuprofen, but only rest seems to make it go away completely. The day after a run, I can barely walk.

I'm throwing everything I can think of at this injury. I'm using ice, heat, I'm stretching several times a day and massaging my calves regularly. I replaced my shoes. I replaced my insoles. I'm taking Ibuprofen and Tylenol.

Nothing has worked yet.

I'm getting a deep-tissue massage this afternoon and I have an appointment with the sports doctor next Wednesday.

As I see it, I have two options.

Pull out of the HM completely. An option that's not looking too bad as I sit here with throbbing, burning lower legs.

Last year, despite all the b.s. I went through with the twisted ankle and knee and being under-conditioned and wondering what the hell I'd gotten myself into half-way through the race, I had a blast.

I really want to run this race.

So, option two is to completely rest for the next 15 days and run it. That means no running or biking. For 15 days.

It also means that I must seriously monitor my calorie intake so I don't gain any weight. Adios, cerveza. *weep*

I'm fairly confident that with that much rest, I'll be able to run (heck, I was able to complete 9 miles on four days of rest), but I won't be setting any new personal records. I suppose I could just attempt to beat my time from last year's race, but I was really hoping to do better than Eagle River.

But, 15 days of not doing anything? I'll go crazy.

Maybe I should take up knitting. Basket weaving? Embroidery?

Maybe I should just give up running.

What a depressing thought.