Saturday, December 28, 2013

Hip Labrum Tear - now what?

Yes, those are three words no runner wants to hear.  So on the 20th of November, I felt some pain on my left hip.  Not your normal pain but sharp aches right under the hip bone.  I thought nothing of it and took off the next couple of days and hit the bike instead.  Well, after several weeks of running and not running, it just didn't go away.  On December 19th, I got a an MRI w/contrast - this is a procedure when they inject die into your hip and conduct a MRI to see if there were any tears in you hip labrum, stress fracture, or something else.  Well, it came back to with two tears, one at 7mm and one at 13 mm.  Additionally, it looked like I had some FAI going on too but the radiologists said it "may" be present (who fucking knows).  Furthermore, I have some hamstring and hip bursitis happening which may be the overall cause of my pain but don't know.  The symptoms I was getting was pain on the left hip (lateral side) and was also getting pain in the inner groin of the left hip.  All this was happening after runs longer than 4 miles and while sitting all day - yes, it sucks.

So I set some appointments up with orthopedists in Northern VA and DC, one on January 6th and the other on January 16th.  In the meantime, I have been getting physical therapy and doing hip strengthening exercises which have really been helping alot.  One of the things I have learned is that alot of people can have hip labrum tears but are not symptomatic.  Through two strong weeks of the myrtl routine, the symptoms have dissipated and the pain has pretty much gone away...not totally but I can tell that it is working.  For instance, yesterday I ran a impromptu 5k (22:29 - 7:15 pace) run down at Emerald Isle, NC while on first mile was 7:32, second was 7:12, and the last was 7:03 for a nice tempo run.  As far as the pain is concerned, I really didn't feel any at all which is quite amazing.  Today, I ran a 4 mile run and the only thing that was tight was my knees.  I might do something light tomorrow, then rest on Tuesday and try the Resolution 5k on January 1st, 2014...I would like to feel optimistic but I haven't run more than 10-15 miles per week for the past 4 weeks which sucked.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Seashore 50K-Lessons Learned

It's been a few days since I ran my 5th marathon plus distance in as many months, and I'm not sure that I have much to say about the race other than I did it.  After Richmond Marathon, I decided to sign up for Seashore 50K because I knew it was a fast course with non-technical trails.  Although I had in the back of my mind that I would like to do a sub-7 hour 50K, my heart really wasn't in it.  In my heart, I knew I was a little burned out going into this race, and I could feel the tiredness in my legs as well. I was trying to keep a mantra of "Just Fly" in my head, but I pretty much knew after the first 10K that it was going to be a just keep moving day.
Ultra Mamas

On race day, it was unseasonably warm with a low of 55 and a high of 73.  I hadn't trained in weather that warm for a while so I had a feeling that race day was going to be kind of a slog.

I met up with my friends from Moms Run This Town at race start.  One of them had gotten all of us bracelets that said Believe on them so it was nice to have them to reflect on during the race.
Modeling our bracelets

  This was also my first race as a Marathon Maniac so I got to meet up with a bunch of the maniacs for a pre-race photo.   I think being a maniac was pretty much my fave part of this race.  It was so great to meet other maniacs and to always have someone to encourage you on the trail.

We started at the Narrows, did a short road out and back and then hit the trail.  I was running with our group of 4 coming into 64th Street aid station.  I just grabbed a drink at this aid station and quickly headed out.  We picked up the pace on the next longer section of trails as Cape Henry was a wider section of trail and runners got more spread out.  I grabbed a handful of chips and some M&Ms and reloaded my handheld water bottle before heading out on Osthmanus Loop.  This section of trail was just annoying.  It was really rooty, but not technical, just enough to be irritating and slow you down.  As I finished this section of trail, I pretty much knew that I was going to be in trouble for the rest of the day.  I was cramping in my stomach and back and feeling so bloated like I had to go to the bathroom but I couldn't.  I was drinking plenty of water, but I was having an awful time taking in any calories.  I had a few Honey Stingers and headed back on towards 64th Street.

I saw JD and the kids at this aid station and let him know that I was feeling bad.  He tried to get me to eat, but I couldn't force much more than a few chips.  I started the slog back out to the Narrows and met up with the other women out there at the drop bag area.  I forced down a quarter of banana and tried to run back out with them, but I couldn't hold onto their pace so I just slowed down and resigned myself to getting it done on my own.  I saw JD and the kids again at 64th Street and tried to go to the bathroom again with no luck.  At this point I was still on pace for a sub-7 hour (even 6:30 finish).

The slog back to Bald Cypress was pretty miserable with my pace really deteriorating at that point.  I really wanted to be at sub 15 minute pace the entire time, but I couldn't do it on that section.  I rolled into Bald Cypress and knew that the Osthmanus Loop was going to be a walk fest.  I was trying to run, but the roots were making that almost impossible given the fact that I was completely bonking.  I just wanted off of that loop.  The remarkable thing was that even though I felt physically awful, I was able to stay positive mentally and was really just focused on a finish regardless of what the time was.  I grabbed a few orange slices and a chip and headed back on Cape Henry.  At some point I saw the sign saying that we passed the marathon distance and did a little mental cheer and kept slogging on.

Coming into 64th Street, I was greeted by the best surprise ever.  I didn't expect to see JD and the kids until the end, but he somehow knew that I was going to need them at mile 29 so he was there.  Nicolas came running down the trail with a cup of ice that I promptly dumped right into my sports bra.  I got out of the aid station (briefly considering asking Zach to run the last 1.5 miles in with me-in retrospect I wish I would have) and headed towards the finish.
Don't I look awesome...almost done!

As I hit the final road to the finish, Nicolas jumped up and ran in with me while JD and Zach were cheering me on. 

Final finish was 7:21:20...nowhere close to goal, but a 50 minute PR over YUTC in September.  Overall I'm proud of the finish and the fact that I stayed mentally strong.  In hindsight, I should not have raced this one with expectations of a really good time given the number of big races I had consecutively.  I think it was a good lesson though to show me what I can do when I am in total and utter physical misery.  I was pretty much at the bottom of the barrel energy wise and felt sick like I had the flu for 2 days afterwards due to the dehydration and lack of calories during the race.  So despite knowing what I needed to do with hydration and fueling sometimes your body just doesn't want to cooperate, and you do the best you can to get to the finish.

Seashore is a great race and particularly great for a first time ultra.  It's not a particularly interesting course, but it's pleasant enough and spreads out pretty quickly.  The aid stations are well stocked and the volunteers are terrific. 
Nice wood carved medal this year

Quick review on one new piece of equipment:  I tried out Ultimate Direction Jurek Essential waist pack, and I loved it.  It was super light and comfortable yet it held a phone and a lot of fuel and did not bounce around at all.  I also should note that the RunPrettyFar tank was so comfortable and very cool.

Section 1:  11:02 min/mile (2.9 miles-31:57)
AS1 (64th Street):  40 seconds
 Section 2:  10:30 min/mile (4.3 miles-45:47)
AS2 (Bald Cypress): 2:06
Section 3:  13:02 min/mile (3 miles-39:06)
AS3 (Bald Cypress):  53 seconds
Section 4:  12:42 min/mile (4.3 miles-54:55)
AS4 (64th St):  2:30
Section 5:  13:50 min/mile (1.6 miles-22:09)
AS5 (Narrows):  1:45
Section 6:  13:13 min/mile (1.6 miles-21:20)
AS6 (64th Street):  3:21
Section 7:  15:46 min/mile (4.3 miles-1:07:48)
AS7 (Bald Cypress):  2:01
Section 8: 18:36 min/mile (3 miles-55:22)
AS8 (Bald Cypress):  1:09
Section 9:  16:10 min/mile (4.3 miles-1:09:22)
AS9 (64th Street):  1:00
Section 10:  16:16 min/mile (1.7 miles-27:40)
Total:  14:14 min/mile (7:21:20-31 miles)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Jingling on Icy Trails

This morning I ran the Broad Run Trail Jingle Bell 5 Miler.  I ran this race last year, and it was really fun so I decided to do it again.  This year the trails had a little adventure in store for us.  It had iced on Monday, snowed on Tuesday, been really cold all week, and then snowed lightly for about an hour before the race so the trails were really icy in most parts.  I was just trying not to get hurt since I'm going into the 50K next weekend. 

I met up with some friends from Moms Run This Town, and we were ready to run.  I didn't really have a race goal other than not to get hurt and to run by feel.  I hid my Garmin under my shirt sleeve and just planned to check it around mile 3 to see how things were going.  I was feeling pretty good in the first mile.  Mile 2 was really icy so I slowed a bit just to be cautious.  By the time I hit mile 3 we had a road section so I picked up the pace again.  Then I checked my watch and was pleasantly surprised to see that I was on pace to PR.  So I locked in and pushed a little when I got back on the trail.  I crossed the finish line in 47:43 which was slightly over a 2 minute PR for my trail 5 mile time.  My overall pace was 9:32 which is really fast for me on trails especially given the icy conditions today.  I felt really good about this run.  Looking at the splits, I almost got a good negative split race with the exception of mile 2 which was really icy and caused me to slow down. 

Splits:  Mile 1:  9:55; Mile 2:  10:06; Mile 3:  9:54; Mile 4:  9:10; Mile 5:  9:08

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Running with Santa in the Snow

I did the Run with Santa 5K with the boys this morning.  The weather had promised to be interesting with a threat of an ice storm or snow and temperatures below 30.  Those temperatures don't bother me, but the kids have never really raced when it was that cold before.

We got there early and hung in our car until about 30 minutes before race time.  The boys had on tights, shorts, an Underarmor base layer, a cotton long sleeve, gloves, hat, and an Old Navy fleece.  The original plan had been for them to take the fleece off to race, but once we were outside the snow started.  I realized that they would probably be too cold without the fleece so we repinned bibs.

Then we headed over to the start line.  We were all pretty excited about racing in the snow.  This would be the first experience for the boys racing in the snow so it was going to be a learning experience for them. 

Zach was going to run on his own and then wait for Nic and I at the finish line.  When the race started, Nic and I took off at a pretty good pace. 

It didn't feel that fast for me, and Nic wasn't saying anything.  I was trying to warm up so I wasn't checking in with him as much as I normally do.  We finished the first mile at 10:07, and I realized that it had been fast for him.  He wasn't used to how the really cold air felt in his lungs so we slowed down.  We took a walk break at about 1.5 miles and ended up with mile 2 around 12:30.  He was just not feeling this race at all.  His poor hands were freezing, and he was near tears.  He kept telling me that he didn't think he could finish the race.  I just kept telling him that he was doing a great job and that we could take walk breaks when he needed them.  I told him how I have bad race days too, and that it was really hard to run in the cold. Then he slipped and hit his ankle on the curb so that was hurting too. Since this was his third time running this particular course, he knew when we were about 0.5 miles out and started to feel a little better since he knew the end was near.  He finished pretty well at 37:38.  His time was actually a full minute better than his time at the race last year, but he had run in the 33's on the same course in July so he knew it wasn't his best race. 
Zach finishing up.

Zach was waiting for us and had done a great job running a 30:28 which was faster than his time at the race a year ago, but slightly slower than his July time on the course.  He said that he had just taken the course easy because it was slippery in some parts.

Loved my new Reebok Cold Weather Compression tights

Gotta stop the Garmin!

Overall, we had a fun time running in the snow and in the festive weather.  We stopped for hot chocolate on the way home.  I'm very proud of the kids this year as this race was the 6th race in the PR Trophy Series for them including their first 4 mile race and first 8K.

Cool ornament that everyone got!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Repeat at the Gobble Wobble 5K

Thanksgiving was our third year running the Shenango Conservancy Wobble Gobble 5K.  This is a great race through Buhl Park and always kicks off our Thanksgiving festivities.  The course is challenging, but we have done well there the past two years.  The weather was extremely cold and very snowy on race morning.  JD and I had done a short shakeout run on Wednesday after our drive up to PA to get used to the colder temperatures, but it was even colder on race morning with a high of 9 (felt like 3). 

The park was gorgeous, but the path was completely snow covered with ice underneath.

After picking up our bibs, chips, and shirts, I headed out to do a mile warm up and check out the roads.  I was trying to decide if I wanted to run hard enough to try to age group place again.  After the warm up, I decided that it wasn't worth risking an injury on the slippery terrain for an age group award.  JD and I settled in near the middle of the pack and got ready to race.  I had in the back of my mind that I wanted to do a bit of a tempo run with this and try to negative split the race with a vague time goal of sub-30 so nothing overly ambitious for me.  Mistake #1 was settling into the middle of the pack.  The middle of the pack should be running at the start of the race, but there were tons of walkers as well as a bunch of people who ran a 1/4 mile and then started walking so we spent a lot of time weaving and dodging people.  We still finished the first mile in 9:02.  I still felt pretty good, but my legs were a little stiff from the cold.  The second mile of this race is the hardest because there is a false flat and a decent hill in this section.  JD was pushing the pace a little here while I was complaining about not wanting to run this fast.  He slowed a little for me, but he continued to talk and crack jokes including at one point singing "What does the fox say?"  In my head I was thinking the fox says shut the fxxk up because I'm busting my butt trying to get up this hill while my feet are sliding backwards on the ice and get under a 9 minute mile.  I successfully made it through mile 2 without killing him at an 8:55 pace.  At this point, I knew there was one more short hill and then the big downhill finish.  I started to set my sights on some female runners that were dying after mile 2 and just started picking them off.  When we finally hit the downhill section, I really wanted to take off, but my shoes were sliding everywhere.  I was terrified of falling or sliding down the hill so I kept the pace in check until we hit the final flat straightaway.  I must have passed at least 20 people on the final stretch and ended with an  8:44 pace for the last 1.1 miles.  Just as I was coming into the chute (which is way too narrow for a race with 1500 people) this other woman comes charging in and elbows me causing me to slide on the ice and almost fall down as we cross over the timing mat.  I guess she thought we were in contention for the last spot in the Olympics or something.  Seriously, I have a bruise on my arm from where she elbowed me, and I can't even figure out why since she was a lot younger than me so not an age group contender.  Final time was 27:58 so an OK finish time, but I was happy with the negative split pace and the fact that I ran so strong at the end.  Without the icy conditions, I could have easily pushed harder. 

It was freezing so JD and I hopped back in the car and headed to Starbucks to warm up.

 Once I got home, I looked up the results just to see how I had done in my age group.  Surprisingly, I found that I had placed third again even though my time was about 2:30 slower than last year's time.  I guess the ice slowed everyone down.

Special thanks to JD for hanging with me and pushing me a little near the end.  I would not have pushed as hard had I not been running with him.  After the fact, the fox says, "Thanks for the age group award."
In case anyone is wondering about what to wear in those conditions, I went with Underarmor base layer, UnderArmor coldgear mockneck, and then a long sleeve tech tee on top.  I had Smartwool socks, regular Target C9 thick weight running tights, Underarmor gloves, and Underarmor fleece beanie.  I also put on mittens over the gloves.  I was actually too hot by the end with the mittens and the hat because I almost never run with a hat.  We were mostly moving while we were outside and weren't outside for more than 45 minutes.