Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tough Versus Stupid


I ran the Groundhog 7 Sunday, a 7 mile run sponsored by a local running group Indy Runners.  Not only was it free, but utilized as a food drive.  Thank You to Indy Runners for the great run with a great route all while helping the needy. 

Seven miles is the most I've ran since May of last year.  Why?  Because the MRI told me to stop running. Actually, it did talk to me for about the most annoying 30 minutes of my  "have to be perfectly still" life.  Just kidding. Seriously though, I'm sure it was too much training in too little time up until the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon and by following it with a 50 mile relay trail run the following weekend. The days between those two weekends, I think I ran every single day except for the Sunday immediately following the mini.  I was in Florida that week and I didn't want to waste the rare opportunity to run in a fabulous and different environment. 

Add in to that, my training plan was less than stellar up to that point.  I don't remember exactly what my training consisted of, other than starting late, increasing mileage too fast, and not allowing for adequate rest; you know, all of those things the pros & experienced tell you not to do. 

The minute I stepped out of the creek on my last leg of our 50 mile relay, I  knew something was seriously wrong. I leaned heavily on my husband to walk after him pulling me from the ground I immediately layed on upon completion.  It was over a week of painful and difficult walking, oh and a knee the size of a grapefruit, prior to thinking maybe medical intervention might be necessary. Long story short, MRI showed strained IT band, severe cartilage corrosion, and something else I honestly don't remember. 

Of course, I was told absolutely no running for the time being and was referred for physical therapy that I never obliged in.  I layed off the running and my husband and I bought ourselves bikes.  There was no way I was going to be totally inactive.  My metabolism is not very kind to me and I need some type of activity. 

We spent the majority of the summer cycling. I eventually attempted picking running back up.  I ended up walking the majority of the time, as even the smallest attempt at running resulted in sharp pain.  I slowly crept back into it where it was somewhat tolerable.  I finished up the summer with one running event, the Rebel Race, a muddy obstacle run.  My knee didn't bother me, but I've been paranoid if you want to call it that about over training again and increasing my mileage too fast. 

Once the winter's cold weather hit, cycling wasn't as enticing and I really wanted to get back to my running.  I kept my distance to a max of 3-4.5 miles each run.  I logged quite a few 5k's during the holidays and my knees have been feeling good.  I also invested in a foam roller.  I really think the foam roller has something to do with my ability to increase my mileage and not endure the previous knee pain. 

As I mentioned, I ran 7 miles the other day. I surprised myself by running the entire distance without the need to stop and walk.  It was definitely slow at a 10.30 pace, but steady and I felt really good about it.  The problem is I don't want to get overly confident and end up in the same place I did last year, not running at all.  

After I ran the 7 miles, my confidence was sky high and I started contemplating a local half marathon towards the end of March.  I thought, right, if you want to end up right where you were last summer.  Am I being too eager or too conservative?  Would you run a half after just running a very slow 7 with only about 6 weeks to go? I'm not concerned with finishing fast, only finishing without walking and finishing without re injuring my knee.

While I'm on the subject of injuries, my latest doctor visit diagnosed a slipped disc in my neck.  Just say that was fun to experience (note sarcasm). I had to text my husband from my bed to come upstairs and make me mobile.  Doctor says I can hope for it to heal on its own. Well, I'm still hoping.  In the meantime, it has put a damper on my upper body strength training I was so desperately working on in hopes of registering for and completing the Tough Mudder.

The pain has minimized itself to tolerable.  It started out as a form of torture trying to figure out a sleeping position that was somewhat sustainable.  Most nights consisted of sleep, awake, want to cry, sleep, awake, want to smack somebody, sleep, but mostly awake, wanting to cry and smack somebody.  Healing has progressed to just annoying, tight neck muscles and the occasional nerve sensation down my left arm. 

Thankfully, the Tough Mudder isn't until June, so I'm think I'll be good if this neck saga heals sooner than later.  The half in March, I'm questioning myself whether I'm pushing it or not. What do you think?  Would you do it or do you think I'll be right back to cross training, cycling and the knee back to fruit proportions, grapefruit that is.

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