Monday, January 26, 2009

When life gives you lemons....make margaritas!

OK, I have a lot of catching up to do. It has been a roller coaster of a week. I'll go back to race day...

By now, most of you know that my day did not go as I had planned or hoped. To say that I am anything less than heartbroken would be an understatement. I made a very poor decision in my training 2 weeks before the race which led to an injury that I couldn't overcome. I felt pretty good in the two days before the race, which I can only assume was due to adrenaline masking the pain.

I had high hopes when I lined up on marathon morning. I ran at the pace I trained for through mile 8. I was feeling a significant amount of fatigue and tightness by mile 5, which is very unusual for a marathon. From mile 8-14 I struggled to keep my pace below 8:20 which was the slowest I could run and still qualify. From mile 14-19, I kept looking at the clock each mile to figure out how slow I could run and still make it. Since I had trained, and run, at a 7:50 pace for the first 8 miles I had a little bit of "time in the bank". Just before mile 19, the 3:40 pace group passed me. At that point I had been struggling to keep it under a 10 minute pace. I tried to run with them. I think I lasted about 100 yards or so. With each step I felt as though my hip were going to break. I dropped out of the race at mile 19 when I knew I couldn't qualify. I could have walked the last 7 miles, but I likely would have done more damage in the long run. The SAG shuttle took me back to the finish line. I made it there just as Dan crossed the finish line in about 3:06.

I learned several years ago that I never want to live life with regret. So I don't. As long as I learn something from the challenges that I am dealt, then I will never look back. Yesterday, I learned that I need to respect my body and it's limitations. I should never have tried something new in training 2 weeks before a race. It's such a rookie mistake. But I overestimated my fitness level and never thought I would pay the price. In the future I will not make the same mistake again.

I am sad, and disappointed. I feel guilty being sore today because I didn't complete the race. But ironically, my mindset is better than I thought it would be because I truly believe that I was appropriately trained and ready for the race. If I hadn't been injured I think my goal would have been "easily" accomplished. I have an appointment tomorrow to be evaluated. Once I understand the full extent of my injury, I'll have an idea about how to go forward from here. I'd like to try again for Boston before summer if I can. Once I get into the meat of my training for Ironman this summer, it will be too difficult to do the kind of run training that is needed for a fast marathon. But for now, I am resting and recovering.

I would like to thank all of you for your support and encouragement over the last 18 weeks. I cherished all the emails and phone calls I received in the days leading up to the marathon. A special thanks to Janine, who flew all the way here to be my support crew in hopes of watching me qualify for Boston. I know that is what best friends do and I am thankful for her. And for Dan, who only ran yesterday so that he would be able to run with me in Boston. He needed a qualifying time as well since he hasn't run a marathon in the last 2 years. Thanks to Kristina, Mike, Paul, Dan and Janine who took me out for massive amounts of beer and pizza after the race. It works as well to kill the pain as it does to celebrate victory. You guys are awesome! Thanks to the spectator at mile 14 who graciously gave me her bottle of water when I asked for a drink. I'm sure I looked like death warmed over. And thanks to the shuttle driver who tried to make me smile even though I wanted to cry.

And then 2 days later...

I had my appointment with the physical therapist today. The good news is my injury is very minor. There is no structural damage and he feels he will have me symptom free in about 2 weeks.

Basically, I am extremely inflexible. (Not a big shock to those who know me well). So what happens is over time, as my muscles tighten up it throws my pelvis out of alignment. My right hip is rotated forward, my left hip backwards and I am shifted left which is my body's way of trying to protect my right hip. This is a change that has occured over a lifetime of being inflexible. So when I tried a new exercise 2 weeks ago (against the advice of my personal trainer and my boyfriend) it was sort of the straw that broke the camel's back so to speak. It was just a little bit out of the range of what my hip flexor was capable of at the time. Essentially I caused an impingement in my acetabular something or other which is the pain I felt during the race.

My therapist encouraged me to continue my core strengthening program. He said that it actually saved my ass because I would never have made it past September in my training had I not had a strong core to work from. Now, we will add yoga back in twice a week and I'll be stretching 3 times a day on my own. For the next few weeks I will see the therapist twice a week for some "torture" as he works to release my tight muscles and allow my hips to move back into allignment. Once he corrects me it will be my job to stay on top of things. He also encouraged me to run, bike and swim as long as I don't feel any discomfort. He thinks it's important to stay active which was a huge relief to me. I have a hard time sitting still as it is.

So I should be up and running in no time. I'm looking for another marathon this spring if possible. My Ironman training will take off in April so I don't want it to interfere with getting ready for Wisonsin.

I am definitely feeling better today knowing that this set back will be very short lived. I will continue to look for ways to improve my health and take care of my body.

And that brings us to to the last 6 days...

Wednesday did core workout. Very limited lower body work. Don't want to exacerbate things. Thursday swam 1500 m, all with a pull buoy as I am avoiding kicking as it pulls on my hip flexor. Am I pressing my luck here? Friday morning I woke early and drove to Endurance Rehab. Had to be there by 7 am so I could still make it to work by 8 am. Do you know how hard it is to drive yourself somewhere when you know you will be tortured? I'm still bruised from ASTYM on Tuesday, and now I have to have more??? The stretching feels great and the trigger point feels awesome. And then he pulls out the torture device. I try not to scream. Or cry. I vow I will never be able to handle child birth. "Don't worry," he reassures me, "most of my clients tell me this is much worse than child birth." Worse?!? And yet the outcome is worth the 60 seconds of pain. My therapist believes that my alignment is 90% better after just one treatment. I see a small ray of hope. Saturday I swim 1600 m. This time I alternate swimming and pulling. I'm a little uncomfortable after rehab yesterday, but still better overall than last week. Sunday I participate in the Phoenix Triathlon Club's Annual Ride-N-Tie. Basically you are in teams of 2, one person starts out biking and the other running. Somewhere along the trail you ditch the bike and take off on foot. Your partner sees the bike and hops on and rides for a while. You keep passing it back and forth (unless you are like me and can't bike as fast as my running partner) collecting toys for time bonuses along the way. And then there's the "not-so-aid-station" at which you can stop and partake in some food and beverage for additional time bonuses. F-ing awesome! Screw Ironman... I'm doing Xterra! Maybe I need a little more practice. But seriously it was so much fun. I had the hugest grin on my face the whole time. I took those rocks and tree branches like a pro! Well sort of. I will definitely do it again. After I get some more practice. Then later in the afternoon we drove the Lost Dutchman Marathon course. I think it's a bit too soon, but I wanted to see if I could handle it should the opportunity arise. There's about 7-8 miles on a dirt/gravel road and a few rolling hills. It wouldn't be my fastest marathon ever, but I could run a 3:40 if the stars were aligned.

Today I ran 7 miles. PAIN FREE! I paid very close attention to everything my body was doing. I had some tightness in my hamstrings (I think from mountain biking yesterday). But no pain. Never felt that thing in my hip like the last 3 weeks. I was soooo excited! Then I went to the pool with Dan and swam 3000 m (all pull). I didn't fatigue until about 2300 m into the workout which is a huge improvement. And, I only have to cover 1950 at IM-CA 70.3 so I know I'll be fine! I am feeling great today because I see some light at the end of the tunnel. I see that I could very well be ready to run another marathon in the near future. Hope is a beautiful thing.

1 comment:

Jackie said...

So glad you are back to your 'old self'...take it easy....

Love to you both