Monday, November 21, 2011

The First Time I...Had a Real Runner's Injury

The verdict is in on the cause of my knee shenanigans yesterday, and I'm pleased to report that I don't have to hang up the Activelites just yet.

Diagnosis: the common malady with the oh-so-descriptive name..."runner's knee". The result of a combination of things (for me, overuse and a VERY tight iliotibial band), runner's knee results in pain around the kneecap. I'm predisposed to this because my kneecaps naturally turn outward, but this is the first time it's ever caused me to not be able to run.

Thankfully, it's fairly easy to treat. Physical therapy will be the main means by which I get better. I need to get athletic insoles, and make sure to ice more often and take anti-inflammatories after running. But most importantly, AND most difficult for me, I have to rest. Did it help that I went right from the doctor's office to work race registration for the Clearwater Turkey Trot? No, because it just made me more antsy to try and get back out there :(

So the goal here is to get myself to a point where I don't have any pain when using my knee. That probably won't be by Thursday, but I'm going to put in the work it takes to get better and keep running. Then, I'll run less. That makes NO sense. But I know what's wrong now, and I know how to fix it.

Mystery solved, and rehab is officially on!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The First Time I...Got an "Incomplete"

Today, I ran a 40% marathon. Now, you may be asking, "Amma, didn't you set out to run a 1/2 marathon when you left the house this morning?"

Very observant. Yes, I did!

However, I am starting to learn a big lesson about trusting my body. Possibly bigger than the time-honored refrain from my gymnastics coach, "Bend your knees when you land!" These may turn out to be related, actually...

So I started out the race pretty fast. Far faster than I knew I was going, actually! And I had a few pretty great moments during the first half of the race. Downtown St. Petersburg is beautiful. I mean, I've known that, but getting to see it as the sun rose, running along the water, was the best reminder I could have gotten. Around mile 6, however, my knee started to hurt. Pretty normal for me- I wasn't wearing shorts, so I didn't Biofreeze during the race. Moreover, I have trouble with my knees sometimes. They're old lady knees, but generally not an issue.

Today, it was. As I kept running, I needed to stop a few times to walk. I NEVER do that. And finally, right before mile 11 (And I mean right before, I could see it!), I stopped to walk, and couldn't start running again. Tried, more than once, but couldn't.

So after a great race- getting to run with friends, seeing other friends in the race, the first race my parents were able to cheer me on- I ended up crossing the finish line in the golf cart of the St. Petersburg Police. Not the way I would have hoped to finish. I didn't even take a finisher medal- it didn't feel right.

So now I'm listed as "day-to-day", as they say. The medics at the finish line say it's either a contusion (less serious), or torn meniscus (as you might expect, more serious). I don't know yet what it all means for the rest of my race schedule. I should know more tomorrow if I can get in to my orthopedic doctor.

So what did I learn? When your body says yes, as R. Kelly said, nothing wrong with it.
But when it says no, listen to it.

More to follow as the situation develops!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I Ran For Something

This past weekend was actually a few firsts for me- first 1/2 as part of a group, first out-of-state race, first race in Georgia...but I had a big realization as I was running, and I want to honor that as the title of this blog.

I surprised myself this weekend. My previous fastest half time was 2:09:57. Pretty fast, and that was my first half marathon. My last two have been significantly slower than that, so I didn't expect anything impressive yesterday morning. But I felt good as I ran, so I paced myself with my music and sped up a few times. The end result? 2:05:10. WHOA.

But I also let myself drop back a few times to look at my surroundings. I love race signs. I love reading them, and seeing what people have to say to their friends and families. Some of my favorites:
  • "Smile If You Pooped Your Pants!"
  • "Something Inspirational"
  • "Go, Complete Stranger, Go!"
  • "Staying Up All Night Making This Sign Was Hard Too!"
  • (for the full marathoners) "26.2 miles- because 26.3 would be CRAZY!"
I also really love reading the backs of the shirts of fellow runners, and seeing what they're running for. Some do it for fitness, and that's awesome. I know I got started to keep myself from gaining weight in grad school, and it turned into something that I love more than I ever thought I would. But so many also do it for other things- for faith, for charities, for those who they've lost or can't run. And I got to thinking about why I run. I want to run for more. I want to run for something bigger than myself.

When I thought about everything I could run for, I landed on this irreversible fact: I am a preemie, as is my sister, and want to run to help those like my sister and I. Both born at 28 weeks, we were in a lot of danger for the first six weeks of our lives and spent that time in incubators. And while my sister has asthma that is likely a result of that, I suffered no ill effects. I'm incredibly lucky. I want to do something to help other parents see their premature children grow up to do things that amaze them.

So here's my challenge. My goal for 2011 was to run 400 miles. For every mile that I run past that goal, I'm donating a dollar to March of Dimes. But I want to do one better. If you run (or even if you don't, even better!), let me know how far you run in December. I'll donate a dollar for each of your miles too :)

I can do something with all the miles I put on the road. And I'm committing to this now because it's something I believe in, that I understand the power of, and that I want to support. Will you help me?