Getting Back on the Horse

It’s been months since I posted here. It just hasn’t been a priority with so much going on lately. I thought I’d pop in and do a little update post-surgery.

Surgery was back on November 7th. What was supposed to be a quick, get in, pull out the floating body, sew it up, turned out to be a little more invasive. When they got into my knee, they saw some cartilage damage from my 20 year old injury and the floating body. In order to help it regenerate a bit, they did some microfracturing. When I woke up from the anesthesia, I was disappointed to learn it would be at least three to four weeks until I would be able to run. I left on crutches which was unexpected, and I was in some pain. The pain meds did a number on my stomach so after the first two days, I stopped taking them.

Over the next week I started doing a series of recommended exercises to get mobility back in my knee. After my first post-op, I was told that I could ride a stationary bike, very slowly an with no resistance. They also told me I was going to have to wait three to five more weeks to run. WHAT?! That was a blow. Not that I was ready to run just yet, but I started to panic as I was suppose to start marathon training the first week of January.

I listened though. I rode that stationary bike and started walking on the treadmill. A few weeks later, I was given the ok to start running. My first run was on the indoor track of our local sports dome. It felt strange and stiff, but the longer I ran, the better it started to feel. I covered about three miles that morning and had a huge smile on my face.

After that run I followed up with the coach I’d contacted a few months prior. I had decided I would need help getting back from surgery and I also needed help breaking through my plateau. He started me run/walking and after a few weeks of that, slowly (both pace and distance) building a base so I could safely start marathon training. I happy to report, things are going well thus far. My legs are tired but I haven’t had any pain. I don’t have that little floating fragment pulling at my tendons which is awesome. My IT band gets so from time to time, but I figure that’s normal considering they cut through it.

I’ll report back soon about how marathon training is going thus far, how it’s different from what I’ve been doing and why as a coach, I wanted a coach.

A stick in the tendon

Twenty years ago I fractured near the patellar surface of my femur. It’s a long story, but I may be the only girl to ever sustain such an injury at a Bat Mitzvah. After a long winter on crutches and a brace that my Jankos (they were cool back then) were wide enough to accommodate, I thought I was healed. Are you laughing harder at how I sustained my injury or my super cool fashion choices at 13? Looking back it’s both funny and embarrassing.

Well as it turns out, not everything was back to normal. About three years ago, in the midst of a speed interval, I felt a sudden popping sensation followed by an intense burning down from my knee down the left side of my shin. I stopped, stretched and continued running at a steady pace rather than my intervals. Over the past few years I’ve been experiencing this same thing more and more. Sometimes it even locks a bit. After avoiding going in to have it checked out, I finally decided after Boston I had to go in.

After an MRI, we found that a piece of my femur completely disconnected from where it originally fractured and is floating around near my kneecap, occasionally tangling itself in some tendons. This means two things: it can be removed, but it also means that I will eventually need a bigger knee surgery. I scheduled the first surgery for early November. I want that annoying little fragment gone.

The second surgery will involved drilling a hole in the right side of my femur where the bone is larger and is not as weight bearing. They will then take the bone they remove and pack it in the ‘pothole’ where the bone separated after my fracture. That will give me more strength and stability. This surgery also means I will be down for the count for 4-6 months. That’s not really conducive to our lifestyle with two young kids. Since I’m asymptomatic, the orthopedic surgeon said I could put it off until I develop symptoms which could be in a year, five, 10 or more years from now. Phew.

I’m a little nervous.  I’ve never had surgery before. I’ve had several nightmares that they do the major surgery instead of just the fragment removal. I should probably just call the office to reconfirm again to alleviate my concerns. Hopefully all goes well and recovery is speedy.

A Week Later

It’s been a week since I crossed the finish line on Boylston. It seems like it’s already been a million years. I’m not sore anymore and am proudly sporting my Boston Marathon gear. I’ve been working on my race recap for days now but it’s just not ready. I feel like I’m not quite getting it. The words aren’t flowing just yet. They will come and so will my recap.

In the past week I’ve let myself recover. I’ve done little activity save for my run Saturday morning with my friends. My legs are no longer sore and the only physical evidence of the marathon are the crazy tan lines I got from my taped shoulder.

To be honest, I’m feeling a bit of post-race blues. With no marathons on my calendar, and no possibility for qualifying again, I’m a bit sad. I need this break from marathons, but it’s hard. I accomplished my ultimate marathon goal. Now what? Will I ever be able to qualify again and run the race in Boston I’d like? Will I ever get to feel that excitement and energy that made that right on Hereford, left on Boylston so incredible?

I registered for a September half marathon. That will give me a few months to relax before I train for that. I just have to make myself actually train for a half with the same enthusiasm I have for marathon training. I’ve also starting looking at races for next spring and fall, even considering entering the lottery for London. I might just for fun to see if I get in. I mean, that would be so fun! Other than that I’m looking for local races, one spring and one fall. We’ll see what happens.

How do you get over the post-race blues?

Prepping for Boston Training

After years of hard work, this past year in particular, I’m on my way to Boston. I’m excited, nervous and every emotion in between. With about five weeks to go before training starts, it’s time to get my head and body back in the game. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to do to make this training cycle really work for me.

  1. Step back from weekly mileage just enough not to be fatigued when training officially starts. I’m going to basically reverse taper from the half, slowly building so that my first week of training isn’t more than a 10% jump in weekly mileage.
  2. Finalize my training plan. There is always flexibility with my plans, but I want to at least have a good grasp on my what my training will look like and take into account any travel we might have planned.
  3. Get my diet in check. With no specific goals since my marathon back in May, my diet has been bad. Atrocious really. Burgers, yes. Desserts…you better believe it. Booze..why not? To run well, I need to fuel well.
  4. Kick up strength. I say this all the time but now I will have a breather with time to do it. Even if I only manage do to the 30 Day Shred, it’s something.
  5. Drop a few pounds. Refer to #2. While I’m still well within the healthy range for my height and age, I’m about 8-10 lbs heavier than my average adult weight. I’d like to get back down there and just see how it affects my running. I’d also be nice to fit back into some of my older clothes that are a big snug and not cringe when I see full body shots of myself.
  6. Hydrate. I’ve been so so bad about drinking enough fluids. I feel it.
  7. Get some sleep. My internal clock has been totally off. I’m not only staying up late, but waking up early, like 4 am early, for no reason. That, and the germs the kids bring home from school, may be why my immune system isn’t quite up to snuff.
  8. Enjoy the downtime. I’m planning on Boston being my last marathon for a little while. How long is a little while? I don’t know. These five weeks will be a nice time to breathe a little before training takes priority again.


Chicago Marathon Training {Week Three}

Vacations are great. Fun, relaxation and lots of indulging. What they are not so great for is sticking to training plans. Last week we enjoyed a family vacation to the Wisconsin Dells immediately followed by a weekend in Lincoln with the Van Kirks for the 4th. I did my best to get my runs in as planned, but I didn’t do so great on was effective cross-training. I also was a champ at eating. Ice cream, chocolate and caramel topped pretzels, brats, s’mores, etc. Not at all stomach or race weight friendly. That’s a whole other battle this time around. That’s neither here nor there.

My hardest run last week was absolutely my tempo run. I woke up early to hit the country roads by our condo at Castle Rock Lake. It was already nearing 70 degrees with visible humidity. Not ideal for running but it did not deter me. I had beautiful scenery and a long empty road. I started my first mile at a easy pace. I had a five mile tempo on tap – a warm-up mile, three goal tempo pace miles, and one cool-down mile. Just as I was finishing the first mile, I saw a nice large hill. Where did that come from? I picked up the pace to try to get a sub-8 min/mile average for the three miles. I finished the first mile in 7:28. I was at the mid-point of another hill and stopped to catch my breath.

About a minute later and with a wipe of the sweat dripping from my head, I started on my next mile. I finished the next mile in 7:17. Again stopping to catch my breath. The hills were killing me. One last mile and I would finally be on cool down. Finally mile was my fastest, 7:06. Phew, I was done, one last easy mile and the torture would be over. Of course the biggest hill was the last one on my way back. I caught up with the family at the playground where I stopped to stretch and cool off on the cool sidewalk.

Monday – 2.5 mile hike with the fam
Tuesday – 5 mile tempo
Wednesday – 30 mins elliptical, 30 mins stationary bike
Thursday – 3×1600 @ 7:35 min/mile
Friday – Walk with the fam (about 2.5 miles)
Saturday – 12.09 miles
Sunday – Rest