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.
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?
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Hydrate. I’ve been so so bad about drinking enough fluids. I feel it.
- 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.
- 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.
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
Sunday evening I got to watch a beautiful sunset (at all of 5pm) as I finished up my 12 mile run. I don’t usually like running late in the day, but I kept putting off my run until I had no choice but to get it done before it was dark and cold out; a trend that has become all too common. I dragged my feet and got ready as slowly as I could.
When Josh finally pushed me out of the house to get started, I was in a sour mood. I just didn’t want to run. In the first two miles I decided that if I still wasn’t feeling it by mile 5, I’d just turn around. I gave myself an out. My pace was fine, fast for a long run actually, but I was struggling. I was willing street lights to turn so I had to stop and wait at the crosswalk.
It was about mile eight that I realized I stopped wishing the run was over and started enjoying the view of the mountains, the reflection of the last few leaves on the trees on the lake and the crisp smell of fall in the air. I fell into a nice easy pace and was happy when I didn’t hit a single light on my way home. For a run I didn’t want to do, I ended up with a pace that would give me at least a two minute PR at my half in December. Nice surprise.
I learned a few things about myself on this run; my warm-up time is ridiculously long and I’m getting worn down by my constant training.
In the past few weeks I haven’t really wanted to run at all. The only reason I have been is, well, Halloween candy and the fact that I have a race in less than a month. I’ve been in some form of training since about January, almost an entire year of continuous training. It’s been great for my endurance and speed, but I’m starting to fall out of love with running. After December, I’ll be ready to just run when I want, how I want and for as long as I want (or don’t want). I’m ready to try some new forms of exercise and have more flexibility in my schedule. Maybe I’ll even do a few shorter races.
How do you fall back in love with running?