Not the news I wanted to share.

Like life, running can flip in no time at all. My last blog post hinted at a sore calf and it’s blatantly obvious to me now that maybe that hint was a bit of subconscious foreshadowing on my part. Four weeks ago my soleus muscle was tender but not painful. There have been many a times I’ve had an achey this-or-that then days later, with proper care, the soreness is miraculously gone.  Unfortunately though, that little soreness turned into something greater.  

So it was three weeks ago that I decided I needed time off.  I took 3 days off and ran pain-free, then the next day my leg was swollen again and very sore to run on.  I took a week off and ran pain-free, then the next day my leg was swollen again.  You get the idea.  Finally last week the Mr. urged me to make a doctors appointment.  I have an amazing runner Doctor who was able to see me almost immediately and within days I had an x-ray that came back clear followed by a bone scan….that did not come back clear.  I am still in complete shock and denial while typing out- I have a stress fracture in my upper tibia.  mother trucker.  

The good news is that on a scale of shin splints to fracture its “barely a fracture”  We caught it quickly and it’s borderline “stress reaction.”  I can hop without pain (not that I’m doing that again), walk without pain, and I can rub the fracture spot without feeling anything at all. Still though, time off is needed.  The Chicago Marathon is out and any hopes of another fall marathon are out as well.  I will rest and cross train for 5 weeks  then slowly ease back into running and choose an early/mid Spring Marathon.

Why did this happen?  Honestly I have no idea.  I ran at a high/competitive level for 5 years with one injury that was entirely  explainable. When I ran a 50K that I was not properly trained for and barely drank a sip of water, I shouldn’t have been surprised when I tore my calf.  That was my only injury before this year! Last year I had such an amazing year, PRing in every event.  Then this year on the same exact training I suffer two stress fractures.  I have no explanation why this has happened.  I change shoes regularly, my bone density score is almost perfect, my calcium and vitamin D levels are great, and (tmi) I get my period every single month (no female athlete triad here).  I honestly am baffled by this injury.  Frustration would be an understatement.

So where do we go from here?  I am being referred to physical therapy.  We would like to figure out why, well, why this year sucked.  More specifically if I have any muscle imbalances that are putting undue stress on my right side (both fracture were on this side).  As far as coaching, we will move to a different training cycle. For the past two years I’ve been on a 7 day training cycle, by my choosing.  I LOVE a 7 day training cycle because it allows me to get all my hard days in while my children are in school.  Unfortunately it also give my body less rest than a traditional cycle does.  So we will adjust that and see if it helps.  So while I am very frustrated, we are being proactive about my situation.  I’m not just going to sit around and wallow about it.  I have had my fair share of wine & golden oreo cookies the last three days but that’s expected.  The Mr. has been an absolute champ at helping me feel better and not reminding me that I’m old and can’t do this stuff anymore.  

I am not one of those people who believe “Everything happens for a reason”  Honestly I think bad stuff happens all the time for no reason at all, but I will say my attitude is important and I can make the best of this situation.  I’m still in the initial shock stage and therefore feeling a bit helpless because I felt so close to my goal of 2:43 but just couldn’t seem to keep it together.  I’m not ready to let that goal go….at all.  Thank you so much for your support everyone.  Thanks for letting me vent on this little corner of the interwebs. Hopefully my ramblings make sense.  I’ll be reading all your running blogs, tweets, instagrams, etc. over the next 5 weeks to keep me run happy.  Thanks for any advice too!

Joggin for Frogmen 5K Race Recap

A little over a week ago I raced the Joggin for Frogmen 5K in Norfolk, Virginia. This was at the end of an 88 mile training week but for some reason I had it in my stubborn mind that I was going to set a PR (sub 17:53). Right off the bat, I’ll tell you that did not happen…not even close.  However I did have an amazingly fun time at a great organized race that I will, for sure, run again.

Race morning, we lucked out with cooler temps but the humidity was still high (this is the beach after all).  I did a one mile warm up alone then striders and some drills with friends around the starting line. We all sang the Star Spangled Banner together, led by race director Cameron Cooper, such a cool touch but maybe the runners within ear shot of me didn’t appreciate it, ha.  Then we were off!

1924322_538313802963300_3970033460511823056_n

On the starting line. Already staring at my watch (my worst racing bad habit) Silly Kristen.

I found myself as 2nd place female a quarter to half mile in and the girl leading was pushing 5:15 pace, out….of….my…comfort….zone.  So I backed off and settled into the grind. I focused on staying relaxed but pushing hard and until the half way mark, was lucky enough to have a man at the same pace to work with, we had passed the first female somewhere close to mile 1.

At halfway our overall average was 5:37 pace, which I was happy about. I still felt like I had a ton in the tank, and that I could pull off a PR, but things change so quickly in a race.  Legs started to feel heavy, the man I was running with faded a bit, and the course that was previously super straight and fast, started to weave through narrow streets.  With almost a mile to go and us still running past the park, away from the starting line, I knew the course would be long. And that’s the thing with 5K’s.  I feel like, the second I start losing focus, I’m done.  I started worrying about the finish line, I started asking volunteers which way to go, I turned down the wrong way on a street and had to back track (not by too much).  These are all things that were 100% in my control, my fault, and I messed up.  The finish line was very cool (see picture below) and I was elated to finish as first female, but I was not thrilled with my time of 18:26.  It was a huge reminder to me that at Chicago I MUST focus. Stop getting sloppy when you are tired, stop staring at my watch every 10 seconds, remember to keep pushing.   

Besides not coming close to the time I had in mind, I loved this race.  Not only did our $40 race entry fee go to a good cause, Joggin for Frogmen beneficiaries, but we recieved soft shirts in sizes that fit all women (this is a race rarity and deserves bonus points!), a medal that doubles as a bottle opening key chain, gorgeous location, finish line food, and something especially cool…free race photos.  Also the awards for first male and female were fantastic.  Its hard to see the details in the photo but the handle is gorgeous.  It’s one of my favorite awards ever.

Awards

The next day after the race was an easy day then I was back at the training. With only 9 weeks to go until the Chicago Marathon, I can’t afford the time to taper for shorter races. I do feel that I have come a huge way since my injury in March but in the grand scheme of things, hearing there is less than 10 weeks until your goal race is a bit terrifying! My right calf has been a bit cranky here and there, and a little twinge like that can give a huge sense of paranoia. There are days that I feel completely overwhelmed and doubtful and there are other days that I feel confident and in control. I guess that all goes in as half the fun right?! My next race will be the Rock & Roll Virginia Beach Half in three weeks.  I have run this race for the last 3 years so even if the weather is bad, I can use it as a nice gauge of fitness.

Thanks for reading everyone!  Have a great week!