Sunday, August 12, 2012

20 Miles Done!

This morning Tami and I set out to do our first 20 miler of this training cycle.  I was excited because we were doing the Dyken Pond Loop twice.  It's a difficult loop but it's very pretty.  We also had a really great 20 miler there last cycle so I was hoping we would feel the same after this one, even though Tami was coming off a week of being sick and I was nervous about having knee pain. 

Dyken Pond loop is tough because you go uphill for 5 miles but then you get a nice mostly downhill section for the last 5 miles.  I like doing our 20 milers here because mentally you are only focusing on the 5 mile section you are in- either the hard uphill or the easier downhill. 

Our first 5 miles were tough but we got through them at around a 10 min mile pace. Then we hit the easier section and we were cruising.  I fell into a really great comfortable pace- around 9:15.  I felt great.  When we hit 10 miles at our cars we quickly refilled our water and set out for the 2nd loop.

The 2nd loop is always tough, you have to face the hilly section again.  I'm not going to lie I was tired and cursing the hills a little in my head.  I just tried to focus on the fact that I only had to get through this section and we would be back at the downhill again. 

Somewhere between mile 14 and 15 a big pitbull mix ran into the road at us.  We both stopped and walked for a few seconds to see if he would just leave us alone.  Instead he kept following us.  He seemed friendly but we were nervous.  We couldn't really tell where he came from so we yelled loudly that someone should come get thier dog.  No one came.  We decided to start running again and he started running alongside us.  It seemed like he didn't live in any of the houses we were near, it was a pretty rural area so he may have came out of the woods.  Anyone that we ran into we asked if they knew him but no one did. For whatever reason he really liked me and decided to run as close to me as possible.  This made things difficult.  He kept trying to circle around me and was cutting me off and I almost fell several times.  He also would run into the road and when cars came by he was running towards the cars instead of away from them.  So every time cars passed we would try to get him to come on the side of the road.  There were a few close calls.  Of course every driver looked at us like we were irresponsible for letting our dog run freely like that.  

My calves really started aching from my funny strides.  I never got into a steady pace or groove because I was constantly sidestepping the dog and stopping and slowing down.  I felt so frustrated.  About a half mile from the end of our run I stopped to walk because I felt like I was about to cry.  It seems so silly now, but my calves hurt and I just wanted the run to be over with but I couldn't push it to get it done because every time I tried the dog would cut me off and I would almost fall.  I walked for a bit and the dog started running with Tami.  I felt bad but I needed him away from me for a few minutes.  I finished the run a few minutes later and was totally done! I felt wiped out.  My overall pace ended up being 10:08...a lot slower than I would have liked but I was just glad it was done. 

When we were done our new buddy looked at us like "what's next".  We checked his collar but he had no ID.  The dog even followed my car for a couple of minutes but stopped before I turned onto a busier street- thank goodness! I can't stop worrying about him now.  I hope he found his way home.  He seemed like a good dog despite scaring us at first.

Friday, August 10, 2012

New Legs

After my knee pain and my doctor appointment last weekend I did a lot of resting, stretching and icing. Monday and Tuesday I had no pain at all. Monday night I was supposed to get a massage but there was a scheduling mix up and they had to move me to Wednesday night. By Wednesday I was itching to run again.

So Wednesday at lunch I decided to give 3 miles a shot since I knew I had my massage appointment that evening anyway. The run was great. I had no knee pain and my pace was 8:57 which was faster than what I was aiming for. My legs felt good so I just went with what felt comfortable. I iced my knee after just to be on the safe side but I didn’t have any pain after the run.

Wednesday night after work I had the most amazing massage ever! It was actually pretty painful during the massage but when it was over my legs felt looser than they have in ages. It felt like I had new legs. I wish I could get one every week or even every month (I need to win the lottery!), but I do try to incorporate massage into my marathon training when I can and this was much needed.

I ran again on Thursday. This time 4 miles at a 9:01 pace. I think it was almost 90 degrees at lunch when I ran, at least that’s how hot it felt. Despite the heat, I felt great because I was running and I had no pain. My knee has remained pain-free!

Last night I got out of work early so I decided to take a Cross-Fit class. I love these classes but missed the last week because of the knee pain. I’m still trying to figure out how to work these classes into my running schedule but I really enjoy them and I see how they will make me stronger and a better runner. It’s just hard to figure out how to balance everything and fit it all in. We did a lot of squats and again my knee was pain-free.

Today my legs feel tired in general but not too tight. I’m going to rest today and try to do 6 miles tomorrow morning and Sunday Tami and I are doing 20 miles!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Knee Injury

Last week my legs felt pretty tired and tight.  I attributed it to Sunday's hilly 18 miler and my increasing mileage.  Trying to be smart and listen to my body, I stretched and rested and took it easier than my plan called for.  I only ran twice.

I ran a really tough 9 miler on Wednesday.  It was a flat route but I just felt tired and my legs were so heavy.  I decided to rest again Thursday.  Friday morning I ran a 10K route with Jenny and fet great.  I was happy and figured that I was smart for resting.

A few hours later I was walking down the hall at work and my knee locked up.  I couldn't straighten it.  When I did it hurt so bad.  The pain was on the inside of my knee and my knee was slightly swollen.  I went back to my desk and took some ibuprofen and iced it.  The ice felt good but when I was walking again later the pain came right back.   I have had knee pain in the past from time to time but never like this.  Usually I associate it with my super tight hamstrings and stretching helps.  Massage also seems to help too. This seemed different.

I started freaking out, sure that my running days were over so I called the doctor.  We have a really great orthopedic practice in our area so I called them thinking I wouldn't be able to get an appointment for weeks but they offered me an appointment for Saturday morning! I spent the rest of the day icing but the pain was pretty much constant.

The doctor did an xray and moved my knee all around.  The x-ray didn't show any injuries.  The doctor thinks it's just overuse and tight muscles.  He gave me a brace and told me to rest and ice for a few days.  He also gave me a script for PT.  He said they can do some exercises and stretches with me that should help.  I'm supposed to go back in a month for a follow up.  If it gets worse or doesn't improve I'm supposed to call him right away and they will do an MRI.

After icing a lot yesterday and wearing the brace it does feel better.  I notice the pain a lot on the stairs but for the most part it's getting better.  I plan to take the next few days off from any exercise and spend a lot of time icing.  Joe also gave me a gift certificate for a massage that I'm going to try to use tomorrow if I can. 

Please think good thoughts for me.  My training has been going so well up until this point.