"Whenever you think you are giving it all you have, give just a little bit more"

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The good, the bad and the REALLY ugly......

My first experience with a real injury has been interesting. It's been 7 weeks of a lot of up and downs.  In hindsight I should have just pulled off of running at the first sign of injury, but you need to understand that anything I have ever dealt with in the "injury" department has been very different than this. Up until the IT band issues if I had a issue I'd take a day, a week or just be more careful and bam it would be over. So the first couple weeks of this injury I had the naive mindset that this too was just a little nagger. Maybe just maybe if I would have shut it down right away it would have been but I had all eyes set on that marathon PR so I pushed and I tried everything and now here I am 7 weeks later with a lot of new knowledge.

Lets start with the GOOD

*First I run for arguably the best team ever which I have always known but realized more the minute my hopes were shattered. I was hooked up with a great PT in the Springs and started my journey. An evaluation with a PT will leave you wondering.....how in the world have I not tripped over my feet, fallen on my face and broken my neck and that's just while walking. The GOOD news is we know exactly why I am hurt. I ran through 4 months of tendinitis in my ankle and while I was fine I was not running properly. My right leg that had the tendinitis is my stable leg (and trust me I use stable VERY loosly here) so with it being sore I was not able to use it thus putting all my weight on my left leg which is just pathetic. I think I would have more luck balancing on a pogo stick than on my left leg. After further evaluation I do not use my glutes or hamstrings at all. Result? A quad and IT band that have just been doing too much work over a 6 month period of marathon training. So the GOOD news is we knew the answer. Work on balance, strengthen those hips and teach the booty to do its job.

*Upon learning what I probably already knew I decided to get my little butt to the gym and go to boot camp. This was nothing a million lunges, squats and a bunch of other torture couldn't cure. At Work out West we have the greatest boot camp teacher ever. She knew I had to be in class because I was hurt otherwise I'd have my butt outside running. In a class of 50-90 people she would always make sure to throw something special in for me to not have to run. Upon talking more I decided to hire Kim to train me. We talked about my weaknesses and injury and she knew exactly what I needed to do.  My first few sessions have been great! Working with her has made me realize just how bad these weaknesses are. I am going to have to retrain my legs to do their work. Even in a glute based exercise like a squat or a lunge the only muscle that feels the need to work is my quads. YIKES! Kim really makes me work on balance and teaching things to fire, she is going to be great for me! I am going to come out of this injury speedy with a butt that knows what the heck it needs to do.

*One of the best things I've gotten from this injury? My Elliptigo! I am for sure a girl who thinks the only workout worth doing is running. But in my fight to keep myself ready to go for Houston I went and tried an Elliptigo out and I fell in love! Luckily I have a very supportive husband because he decided to buy me one for Christmas. I can not rave enough about this tool. Up until I decided to drop out of Houston I was on it on and off but the minute we realized this was an actual injury I have been on it every single day. On the days I am allowed to run I will use the Elliptigo as my second run of the day. The days I am off of running I will take it out for up to 25 miles and have been doing 110-120 a week on it. My family told me I look like something out of Whoville and I can't argue with that. I look a bit ridiculous. All I know is I can make myself work to the point when I come home I feel like I just went and did a nice long marathon workout and I am spent. The best part is now that I am back to running a bit I feel like I haven't missed a beat! After 7 weeks of only spotty running I thought for sure my first real run out I'd be running 10 minute miles but I am hitting my normal easy day paces with no problem! All of you injured runners should go try one out!

*I found a great Dr in town I never even thought of using. When I became injured and was trying just about every thing out there I heard that Eric Walker does ART and acupuncture. This has been a great thing for me. ART isn't exactly something I enjoy but I can feel the difference in my knee from it and I love the acupuncture. I'll be honest I've never really believed in any of that kind of thing but so far its working out well. I think both of them will be a good tool even as I get healthy.

*When something goes bad in your life you really learn things about your friends, your acquaintances as well as your competition. As a first timer in the injury boat it hasn't been super easy to deal with. Once I got over the fact that yes I was missing the marathon I spent a couple weeks enjoying myself. Spending more time with the kids, more time with my friends more time with my family and than it started to sink in this wasn't going to just be a couple weeks off. In that time I have had a sweet teammate reach out to me and give me great advice. I've always respected Cassie her opinions and advice. She is a very level headed smart women and she always helps me when I feel a little lost in this sport. The other person who really reached out wasn't one I would have expected. Kristen and myself have raced against one another in a lot of races. She is a girl I quickly realized would push me to my limits out on the roads. This is a great thing though! I learned a long time ago you are only as good as your competition and I always know when Kristen is on the starting line with me I will be running all I have that day. Maybe it's because we are both on the injured list right now but she has given me some great advice and I have really appreciated it. It's always good to hear things from someone who has been in your shoes. Knows how you are feeling and can help you figure it out.

*I realized just how lucky I am. There are times while training that I look at other people and think..."Wow how great would it be to be her. She gets to focus on just running. What I wouldn't give to be able to train, sit down for a healthy meal and take a nap. Go get a massage and enjoy it all by myself" After being out for a while now I realize just how lucky I am. If I had all the time to do that other stuff I would be going insane right now! My life is so busy with running around and kids that it has really been a great distraction from my pity party.


*Well number one of this list would be I didn't get to run Houston. Being so ready for a marathon and never getting the chance is awful! I don't know how else to describe it other than it feels like the worlds worst break up. You give yourself completely to this one thing, sacrifice other things along the way and than BAM it breaks your heart.

*Turns out when you are stressed out about your body not cooperating you actually have very little patience. This injury has made me feel like I am insane. One minute I can be all upbeat and positive that things will be OK. The next I am thinking why do I even do this. Lets be honest I'm not getting any younger I'll probably just be slower anyway. I am all over the place. :)

*During this little injury I also had a birthday. Great you say? Nope not great. I am now 34 and all I could think was crap you are really going to start falling apart now. Some of the girls on our team and ones we compete against are younger or as young as my brother. My brother that lived with us while he was still in middle school. My brother that we had a part in raising. This makes me feel very old and slow.


*When I am not running I feel just evil! Yes I have been on a machine at the gym next to a guy running nice and fast and the first thought in my head was....Oh he is so happy. How happy would he be if I just went over and pulled the plug out. BAM he'd be on his face in a second. HAHAHA that would be so funny. Yeah I know EVIL!

*I've also found myself complaining about the stupid new years resolution's at the gym. Really you all know you are going to be gone in a month anyway. Please get off of this machine so I can focus on staying in shape. The normal me would be happy for these people who are trying to better themselves. The new me however wants everyone to just leave the gym so I can get on my machines and not have to hear anyone.

*On my Elliptigo rides I have witnessed every pace of running out enjoying themselves. Was I happy for them to discover how great running is???? NO! In my head I was playing runner pac man. I would just visualize running them down on my Elliptigo and taking them out. Seriously I don't even like myself at this point......

*Probably the most entertaining of the Ugly was me out on what was suppose to be a 24 mile Elliptigo ride. When I left my house it was a beautiful sunny Colorado day. A bit chilly but peaceful. Sadly at my turn around point it began to snow. At first it was beautiful. I actually remember saying to myself. "This is why I love CO. Beautiful snow flakes on a crisp winter afternoon." That quickly changed when five minutes later it was crazy windy and snowing like mad. I probably don't need to say this but my cute green Elliptigo doesn't exactly have snow tires. Trying to get home as fast as I can I take a turn in what has now become 3 inches of snow and take a nice little spill. This was not a spill of a coordinated person. My Elliptigo went in one direction and I went in another laid out like a starfish flying through the air. I didn't catch myself I just biffed it. Right at a four way stop. Now what am I going to do deny it and say oh no it must have been the other girl in town riding an Elliptigo around. Um.....this is a very small town people know its me.

Now its time to look ahead. What is on the horizon? At first I wanted to get back into a marathon ASAP, but now I realize that would be a bad idea. I need to work on my form and weaknesses first jumping back in would mean Id be full steam ahead and chances are I would end up really hurting myself. Instead.....I am going to drop back down in distance. I want to hit the track a couple times again this year. Yes you heard that out of my mouth. The girl who hates it so much is actually excited to give it another go. Maybe my new found booty will help me be super speedy. Or it wont and I will just enjoy running some laps with friends. Regardless I am ready to get back to the happy go lucky Wendy who loves to run and wouldn't actually pull the plug on anyone on the treadmill. The fact of the matter is I really love running. I am in this sport because even as I get older it gives me a way to be competitive, meet amazing people and experience things I never would have without it. I'll be back out there at races soon and this time I will have more of an appreciation for it!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

When life gives you lemons

Make lemonade........that's how the saying goes right!?!?! Well it turns out I am not a big fan of lemons or lemonade. Back in November when New York got canceled I tried to make this little saying in a positive way. I already had a trip planned to Mexico so I decided to turn it into.....when life gives you lemons you order a nice drink at the bar and ask for a twist of lemon. It worked right? 

Well it really seemed to work when I jumped back in to marathon training immediately after Mexico and things were going so well. When NY was canceled we decided right away Houston i ran well there for the trials, the course, weather and timing were perfect. It was a perfect plan. First week back to training seemed rough but than.  Things just started clicking. I can not tell you how excited I was.When I  first decided to run NY Scott and myself decided to take the whole year and be a marathoner. At that point we talked numbers. The numbers he threw out made me want to throw up.....are you kidding me. That's what the professional girls run not this mommy. Now fast forward to NY training. Things were good. Despite having tendinitis in my ankle I was hitting workouts far better than I had training for the trials. Ok now fast forward just a couple more months and I was starting to think those numbers were not only going to happen some day. They were going to happen now. In Houston. This is what I work so hard for. For things to click and my dreams to come true. 

Here is where it gets tricky. Running was going well, I am super competitive even when it comes to out doing myself in workouts. It was just a normal Tuesday. Drop the kids off at school at 8:05 get back to the house by 8:10, put out all your bottles and gels and off on the 23 miler. There is no time for slacking on these days. My youngest gets out of school in just a couple hours. We start our warm up and I tell my training partner "wow my IT band feels pretty tight". Having dealt with this before after the warm up Tyler had me stretch. Now we are off, on this particular Tuesday things were really clicking. Our first 7 mile loop goes by we grab our first gel and drink from our water station and drop them up the road as the neighbor looks at us funny. This is normal. I look down at my watch and tell Tyler oh man we may end up regretting this, our pace is pretty fast this early. Long story short we never paid for the fast pace we just kept picking it up and finished under marathon pace. Holy cow I am so pumped......but I could hardly walk. My knee was in so much pain. No worries I just ran my fastest 23 of course something hurts. Next day....ouch my knee is not happy. Hobble through a easy run and get home to my R8. Before I know it it's Friday and time for a workout. Hmm.....knee is a little tight. No worries roll it, run a kick ass predator run followed by even faster mile repeats. Sweet! Night time brings a short easy run and some pool time. Saturday was an ugly run and than every day after that just seemed to be worse. I took it easy, got an Eliptigo, saw a PT and tried a workout the following Saturday in the Springs. The workout started good I was hitting some great splits than bam. There it is knee is "locked" up. Stop massage stretch and try to finish. Got one more mile in and bam.....

At this point we weren't worried. My base and fitness was there. I could take a few days on the Eliptigo, stay fit cross training at the gym, I would work on strength training the weak spots and get treatment. Inthe last couple of weeks I've gotten graston, dry needling, massages like crazy, ART and acupuncture. Every day I was trying to be positive, I was way too fit for this to not work out. Sadly after every treatment I got didn't seem to help I felt a little defeated. Finally on Thursday last week I got ART and what do you know. I could run! I didn't push it at first just 6 miles and on the treadmill to make sure i could do it. It wasn't pain free 
but my leg wasn't locking up either. Next day I tried again I got a little farther. Yes this was smart. I was going to make it to Houston. Next day......pain....next day more ART.....today......run a few stop to stretch...run another stop to stretch...run.....knee locks up. Lot of tears on the side of the road.

Tonight I got a call from Scott. We both realized things weren't getting better like we needed. I know I'm moving in the right direction but sadly I've run out of time. My leg will not let me finish the race. I feel so horrible! I feel like I let down the race that was kind enough to let me in after NY, I feel like 
I've let down everyone who has worked so hard to train and support me. Yes I realize I am not the 
first person to get injured and have to withdrawal from a race. That being said it didn't feel any less awful emailing the race director to tell him how sorry I am. Nor did it feel great when I got a phone call to interview me on my withdrawal. The question has been asked.......what now? My first thought was I can just take a week get healthy and jump into a smaller race. You know why not Mardi Gras that way I could do two before the end of May. I am in such good shape I need to take advantage of this. Sadly the reality is I need to worry about my leg getting better. I have the exercises from the PT, I'll keep getting ART from Dr Walker, I am going to start working with a trainer to correct weaknesses and I won't push my IT band. Maybe it takes a week, maybe it takes longer. When it is ready I can make a plan. I'd love to do Boston? Or I'm sure there are a lot of other fabulous Spring 
marathons.  All I know is I won't let this ruin my spirit. I love running and competing!

So I guess I am going to take those lemons and make...............pie? Bread? I am not sure but I'm hoping I've had my fair share of lemons for a while.