Bumpy Road to Boston.

Bare with me because I have a feeling this post is going to be a long one.  It’s been awhile since I’ve written and while most marathon segments are full of tedious, dare I say boring, reviews; this past month has been anything but smooth for me.

The year started off well. I had a brunch date on the last day of 2014 with two of my favorite runner friends Hollie and Kellie followed by us meeting up for a local 5K the next day.  Brunch was awesome.  Since Hollie moved away from us, we had tons to talk about even though we already group-text like its our job.

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The next day, New Years Day, we met up for the race and I did what I thought was a perfect warm up. The race though…ulgh.  I didn’t wear a watch and I’m not going to give any excuses.  I’ll just say I wasn’t pleased with my time. I finished second female in 19:16.  The first mile of any race is such a liar and maybe I should have worn a watch to hold back. I felt flawless that mile but we ran against the wind in a fast pace and it hit me hard in the last miles. I had a fun day with great friends, but the 5K is always the trickiest distance for me and I ended up only running a pace that brutally is the pace I would eventually like to run in a marathon (6:11).  That was a painful eye-opener.

unnamedThe day after the 5K I ran an easy solo 6 miles.  Between different activities and outings, I spent a good 2+ hours driving that day and later noticed my right hip was starting to feel sore.  That night I woke up several times with a sore hip.  It was bad….real bad. The pain was intense. An eight mile run was scheduled for the following day and I made it only one mile before turning around and heading home.  I didn’t run another step for a week. I was filled with shock & disbelief that ANOTHER injury would occur when we’ve been so cautious. I was having serious doubts that I could continue training or compete at Boston.

The timing could not have been worse either.  Instead of trying not to focus on running, in that next week, I had an article to write about the Boston Marathon for a website, a running talk to give for J&A racing, and Enduropacks was going to announce that I’ve joined their team. So many great running related things were happening that I was previously SO excited for and not only was I not running but I didn’t know when or if I would make it to Boston.  Everywhere I turned was a running-related thing that seemed to remind me I was injured with a mysterious hip pain. I was a bit heartbroken to say the least.  I didn’t actually cry but I sent many emotional and dramatic emails to the deployed Mr.   Sometimes not being able to call or skype with him is frustrating but in this case I was grateful. He is an amazing writer and I must have read the words he wrote back to me a hundred times.  I also sent countless texts to Mark Hadley and my closest friends. I tried to act stoic about it, but I was a lot little dramatic and emotional <-embarrassing to admit. 

So I did something I don’t normally do when I feel pain, I took a whole week off. The tuesday after the pain struck, I gave a talk about my running journey at a J & A Racing Shamrock training team event.  This event blew me away. I knew it would be inspiring but the four other speakers left me in tears.  The team members were all welcoming and I was impressed at everyones genuine training enthusiasm.  Public speaking terrifies me but when I was asked to speak, I was so flattered that I couldn’t say no. A good friend took me out for tequila before hand to ease my nerves (It helped!)  and while I won’t go into details about what I spoke about, I will say I opened myself up like I have never done before and to do so in front of a large audience is something I feel proud about.  I discussed a very hard time in my life, like the other speakers did as well, and putting myself out there like that was difficult. I walked away with new friends and a huge respect for the J&A racing staff.  I knew they were great before but now realized how above and beyond they go to make every single runner feel successful.

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J & A Racing Employees and Event Speakers.

Jerry Frostick announcing me before I speak.

Jerry Frostick announcing me before I speak.

Before and after the event J& A racing owner (For those who don’t know, they own and run the Shamrock Marathon  along with a few other popular Hampton Road races), Jerry Frostick, and I talked about my past & current injury, about my goals, and what is and is not most important in life.  This was huge for me. I felt a huge weight off my shoulders and was reminded that 2:43 is not the end all, be all.  Would I be running and training for the marathon if the Trials were not an end goal? Absolutely.  I love running, I love racing. I plan on being a little old lady shuffling along the sidewalks of South Beach when I’m 85 stopping for fresquila breaks along the way. Maybe I need to stop stressing about a time goal that, honestly, only matters to me and really, in the grand scheme of things, is the least of my life goals. I’ve talked before about focusing less on that end goal and more on enjoying the process and every day journey of our goals and how I believe that leads to the most success. It’s easier said than done!! To have someone else, someone who I respect,  tell me that was invaluable.  Another reminder that the J & A Racing group is wonderful.

A few days after I talked to the training group, I saw a local Active Release Therapist, Jim Browning.  I was there for about an hour and we went over my hydration, vitamin intake, and stretching routine.  I left his office with my limbs stretched out and a wealth of information.  Mainly- 1.) hydrate, hydrate, hydrate 2.) Foam roll and stretch hip flexors daily 3.) Magnesium intake is very important! <- Epsom salt baths are a good way to replenish magnesium levels.

Then, the last thing I did that I believe was crucial to healing my awful hip soreness was taking a 90 minute hot yoga class. When they say “hot” yoga, they mean “FLIPPING HOT” yoga. I was sweating drenches and stretching in poses I had never stretched in before.  The heat really helped to release muscles that were bunched like knots previously.  The active release therapist said he thought I had an inflamed or knotted inner hip/leg muscle (sorry all, I can’t remember the name of it) and that it just needed to be released I believe the hot yoga was the icing on the cake of his active release routine.

The afternoon post hot yoga, I went for a run.  100% pain-free.  Could it be possible?  Did I actually act in a smart way about an injury??  I was hesitant to say it was true but after more days of running, I do think I am fully healed.   To sum it up, the 3 things I did that I believe healed my muscular injury quickly was 1.) immediate rest days (I did 7) 2.) Active Release Therapy  3.) Stretching (this one is debatable, some say don’t stretch muscle injuries but in my case it helped) in the form of hot yoga.

The next week is all going to be easy paced miles.  I don’t want to integrate any intensity that might aggravate things for a little while longer.  The Boston Marathon (my goal Spring race) is less that 100 days away and while there is so much work to accomplish in a short amount of time, I also have to be smart about it.  I would rather get to the starting line a little under prepared and healthy than get there over-prepared with a weak body.  Therefore, I don’t have any goals races soon but I will be racing the Shamrock Half Marathon on March 22nd.  My Half PR is two years old!! I have to do something about that.

Thank you all for reading and a special big thank you to my friends who listened to my concerns these past 12 days. So thankful for you all!  Wishing you all a wonderful training week!

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33 thoughts on “Bumpy Road to Boston.

    • Epsom salts are the best! And thanks for the candid comment. I worry that I ramble too much on this blog and let my feelings just go but that’s also the type of blogs I like to read…where the authors are genuine about the ups & downs. Hopefully its appreciated and not annoying 😉

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  1. Kris you are truly an inspiration to me and I’m glad to hear that you avoided a more serious injury. I have no doubts you will wrong well at Boston. I did lol at group texting like its our job because that is entirely true.

    I agree about J&A, they do so much for the race community of Hampton Roads. That’s awesome you got to do talk (and inspire) their training group.

    Above all, I’m really glad to hear you are running injury free again.

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  2. Great post. Glad you are back to running pain free and handled your injury in the right way<- SO HARD. Although this post was geared toward injury recovery, both mind and body, it completely applies to me and was a great reminder to see the bigger picture and know that running isn't everything. It's so hard to want that PR right now and train like everyone else, when in reality, that's not what's best for me at the current time. Having a baby/family is my life goal. You're right, it's so hard to remember that running isn't the end all be all in the grand scheme of things. Thanks for the reminder 🙂 And good luck with training!!!

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  3. I love hot yoga- it’s the only workout that comes close to running (as far as feeling that endorphin rush.. maybe it’s the sweat?)

    You’re inspiring in so many ways, Kris. I’m glad you were able to figure out this injury quickly. See you at Shamrock! I’m running the 8k but I’ll be out cheering for the half 🙂

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  4. So sorry about your hip issue, rough race, and having to take a week off… but it looks like things are better now with the hip thanks to the stretching and ART. If that’s what you have to do that’s what you have to do, and I think it’s important to rest with injuries. Like you said, you would be running no matter what and we all have so many awesome things in life to be thankful for that aren’t running.

    J&A racing sounds like such an awesome group. I agree 100% that every runner should be recognized and feel like a winner and I support any running groups or races that do that.

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  5. Kris, your speaking was amazing! It left many people very inspired, myself included. I for one gained a completely new level of respect for you. It is very hard to open and share the things you did. Thank you for that. 2015 will be a great year. Because it will be a fun year. Keep being smart and focus on the fun. The rest will take care of itself. We are all cheering For you 🙂

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  6. Kris, this made me so happy to read. I am SO relieved for you!!!! I was thinking about you often this week, but did not want to pry. I am glad to read this, and you know i hear you about the pressure thing, I am doing the same thing right now, but we are gonna run better if we are relaxed and enjoying the process, rather than just obsessing over that number.

    As for going into it underprepared and healthy, could not agree more! THE MOST important thing is getting to the start line healthy!

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    • Your support was amazing Tina. Thank you so much for listening to me and offering your encouragement!! I always think we are on the same train of though when it comes to training and marathon goals. Wishing you all the best!!

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  7. ART + yoga + foam rolling is my new formula for keeping hips within normal range of motion. It’s critical for those of us who work desk jobs. 100 days is a long time to train!! Have faith. Thanks for sharing! Kristen

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  8. So sorry to hear about the recent setback Kris but happy to see you discussions brought you perspective I also been battling injuries with my right leg off/on for what seem like the better part of 8 weeks now but my perspective is better through this injury bout and that’s huge. I’m pulling for you and I know you’ll get through this and know you are not alone so no worries about sharing your process. Doing so will help you heal and be stronger in the big scheme of things. Also, myself as well as others are probably going through a similar comeback right now and you have only inspired us all.

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  9. I’ll admit that I was holding my breath when I clicked on the title of this post from my email – SO happy to read that everything is working out okay and you were able to work through this minor blip just fine. I am sure it hasn’t been an easy few weeks for you. Thank you for sharing the journey with us and I’m really happy that the combo of rest, ART and yoga worked and you are back running pain-free. That’s AWESOME. On another note, I’d love to listen to your talk with J&A – it isn’t posted anywhere (YouTube?) is it? Those in attendance were very fortunate! Sounds like it was a great panel. And thanks for sharing your thoughts on goals – that’s something that I struggle with as well. But as you stated, anything time-related isn’t really a true life goal for me either and it’s helpful to remember that from time to time when I tend to get caught up in paces and schedules and start to heap loads of pressure on myself. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

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  10. I’m SO happy to hear that you’re feeling better! I know that taking that week off had to be hard…but what a great result!! Praying for many more pain-free days for you ahead!

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  11. Kris I am so sorry you had a rocky patch and emotional week…so understandable! But sounds like you gained A LOT from it which I think sometimes the setbacks are most important to help growth… or else we would do the same thing all the time and I think we need to make changes as we grow. I am a FIRM believer in hot yoga! and heat treatment in general. I never use ice unless there is inflammation (like a sprained ankles). I use one of those mircrowave rice thingys every day, sometimes multiple times a day, and warm up where I have issues then stretch and foam roll. I find it to be a quick and easy replacement for daily hot yoga which I find hard to attend even weekly.
    I hope this week continues to go well!

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  12. Ugh, I feel your pain. By which I mean I have felt your pain at a few different times in my running life. It sounds like you’re being smart about it and doing the best you can — I hope it all pays off and you are able to run well in Boston!

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  13. Good job getting yourself through a scary patch! (my chiro is my lifesaver for such things, he also does ART, Graston, e-stim and a little athlete counseling 😉 Epsom salts are good – I’ve also used Ancient Minerals magnesium lotion and spray, avail on Amazon (the spray leaves a slight “salt” residue, best used after runs before showering, lotion when you want to feel cleaner – especially good after warm shower/bath when pores are open). Don’t use if you’ve just shaved the area tho – stings! May feel a little odd the first few times you use it, but as you get used to it, I found that fades. I need to get back to that. Also check what form/amount of magnesium supplement you take, and any food/med interactions that might be causing reduced absorption (like the PPIs I’m on).

    I’m excited to follow your progress as I train for my first Boston this year! BQ’d at Shamrock last March. Best wishes!

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  14. Kris, So smart on handling the injury when it popped up and taking care of business there. Also… great job on opening up in front of a big group like that. I have a hard time being open on a blog and sharing thoughts/emotions through writing, I can’t imagine doing the same thing in person in front of a crowd. I usually start shaking with nerves if my name is announced in front of a crowd. Remember though, that by sharing and being genuine you are inspiring and gifting your experiences and your amazing spunk and personality with those around you… Thank YOU so much for doing that 🙂

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  15. I too am training for Boston and understand the cautious approach / hyperawareness that comes from wanting to stay-injury free. I struggle with keeping my L hip/glute med healthy. I have done a fair amount of hot yoga which always helps! Keep your chin up– sometimes the journey is a roller coaster but it always seems worth it in the end!

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  16. Nobody is as good as Jim Browning. He’s the best! Keep your head up. It’s not always about the end result. It’s the process and journey along the way that’s most important 🙂

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