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.
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.
The 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.
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!