IT band syndrome

Post Marathon Ick

“There will be days you don’t think you can run a marathon.

There will be a lifetime of knowing you have.”

Unknown

Life post marathon has been slightly less than riveting.  I have been experiencing what some (including Adam) have dubbed post marathon ick.  My body has developed a cross between mono and the flu with the result being pure general discomfort, associated nausea, and exhaustion despite sleeping most hours of the day.  Yesterday, I didn’t even feel well enough to check my email (gasp!) let alone blog.  Luckily, I think I am on the mend.

I have still not had my post marathon epiphany.  I think it’s because I didn’t feel like I conquered the distance the way I did with the half.  I knew I could have  run it better- especially if I had stretched my IT bands better the week before.  The back- to-back boot camp sessions the Monday before definitely left my legs fatigued, but I can still say I don’t regret having done it.  It was great mental prep, and I was still able to finish.

That being said, I am already trying to sort out what marathon to run next.  Initially, I didn’t want to ever think about pursuing that type of torture again.  Through more than half of the run, I was telling Adam it was my first and last.  However, just a couple days out from finishing, I have noticed that I’m not sore.  The only thing that bothered me afterward was my IT bands- which are already much better thanks to my trusty foam roller.  This absolutely tells me I could have run harder.

Despite not having a major life changing moment, actually completing a marathon has dramatically changed my perspective on a few things. First and foremost, it has lit a fire under my you-know-what.  Initially, I viewed the marathon as an end point.  It was my last big goal before some much need rest.  However, now that I did it (and know I can do better) I am already scheming for my next big race.  I knew I would want another challenge, but never imagined it would be another marathon- not in a million years.  Instead of being an endpoint, my first marathon has become a spring-board to a world of endless possibilities. After all, even though it may have been torture for 5 hrs, it didn’t kill me.  Truthfully, it didn’t even make me that sore.  I was in far worse shape post 1000 rep boot camp than I was after the marathon, so why not keep at it?

It took 26.2 miles to make me realize and appreciate just how driven I am.  I made it through 5+ hours of absolute suck- in spite of the pain, tears, and exhaustion.  I set a goal that took months of dedication and training to achieve, and I accomplished it.  Sure, it wasn’t my best running day- but I have my whole life ahead of me.  Even Adam took over 5 hrs to finish his first marathon.  I wanted to make a difference, and I did.  I raised money and awareness for a cause I believe in, and that makes finishing so much more meaningful.  I don’t know that I could have pushed myself as hard as I did if I wasn’t constantly reminding myself of the physical and emotional anguish that the victims of domestic violence endure on a daily basis.  My discomfort during the race was nothing in comparison to what these women go through; and it was a small price to pay to show them I care.  That is why I plan on continuing to run in honor of victims of abuse and continuing the Running for the Color Purple Campaign. 🙂

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Marathon Recap

“If you feel bad at 10 miles, you’re in trouble.

If you feel bad at 20 miles, you’re normal.

If you don’t feel bad at 26 miles, you’re abnormal.”

Rob de Castella, winner 1983 World Marathon Championships

Gosh, where to start?

Well, first- yes I did just post Yoda for inspiration. Trekkie-Star-Wars-geek? Guilty.  But seriously, who doesn’t love Yoda?

Everyone says running a marathon will change your life…  Something about getting a new found sense of being able to conquer anything.  To be completely truthful- I don’t feel any different 26.2 miles later.  At first, it was a bit of a let down.  I thought it would be this amazing epiphany; but, I didn’t feel anything when I finished (other than enough pain in my legs to literally make me sob in fact, I was so debilitated by that point, that the thought of needing to hobble to the bag check AND car seemed like a more difficult task than the marathon itself.)

Now I am not saying the marathon was not an AMAZING experience (in a hating every painful moment of it kind of way).  However, I think the true benefit was not in the event itself, but rather in the training.  Marathon training changed my life.  It changed me so dramatically that I absolutely believed I could conquer anything before I ran the whole grueling distance.  If I didn’t believe it to the core, I never would have made through the race on a good day, let alone a bad one.  Marathon training gave me confidence.  It was an outlet for many of my PSTD symptoms.  It gave me something that was mine.  It was an excuse to be selfish and generous at the same time.  It gave me an opportunity to give something back.  Marathon training helped me redefine my identity.  I survived marathon training before surviving the marathon, and I will never be the same. 🙂

Finishing the marathon itself was just the icing on the cake.  The weather was beautiful!  The spectators and volunteers were awesome.  The course had a few nice views, but, for the most part, was not my favorite.  Adam and I held a solid 10 min pace for the first half, and then things started to get a little hairy.  Somewhere between mile 14 and 15 I had my first breakdown.  I had stopped at a water station and my left knee immediately seized up.  I tried to start running again, but it wouldn’t cooperate.  I was just over halfway and couldn’t fathom how I would make it the rest of the way when I couldn’t even walk.  I sniffled and limped next to Adam for a short while before I finally forced my body to start jogging again.  The swelling and pain in my knees was throwing off my gate, and it wasn’t to long before my hips started acting up too.  We took short walking breaks every few miles for a while, but every time we stopped I would start unraveling emotionally due to pain and utter frustration.  Adam would put his arm around me and assure me I was doing fine, but I was embarrassed to be struggling (and now crying) in front of him.  He had not done any training and made it look effortless while I worked my butt off and struggled every second.  I wanted to run harder (maybe I was a little delirious) and felt angry that my body wouldn’t cooperate.  Every step from start to finish was painful.  It was one of my worst runs in a long time; and I was beyond disappointed that, of all days, my epic-bad run day had to be this day.  By mile 19 I decided I was through with walking breaks.  It hurt more to walk than to jog, and it was way too much effort to get going again just to take a few moments rest.  I jogged the rest of the way to the finish without stopping.  The closer I got, the more determined I became.  I was happy to find Adam again around mile 24 after having lost him for a stretch.   We pushed to the finish line as fast as our beaten down bodies would carry us, and then I fell apart all over again.  I was just overwhelmed- not only by the pain, but also the whole situation.  It was a culmination of everything I had been through the past several months.  It was finally over!

At the same time, I think I was still feeling a little disappointed in myself (despite running practically the entire course, managing 9 miles more than I ever had before, and raising money and awareness for a great cause.)  It’s only now after the fact that the magnitude of this accomplishment is just starting to sink in.  Perhaps once I recover from the shock of it all I might be able to enjoy the victory a little more. 😉  Once again, it’s just surreal. I know I was there, but I have a hard time believing I did it.

The amount of support I have received throughout this process has been phenomenal and well exceeded anything I could have imagined!  I am so grateful to everyone who offered well wishes, congratulations, and donations.  It has been such an amazing journey!

As always, comments and feedback are welcome and appreciated.  You can also email me directly at runningthriver@gmail.com.   Please feel free to share any info on this blog, just please give credit back to the site.  Have a great night everyone!

Waiting at the start

Waving to Adam

Sporting our new bling at the finish 🙂

Pre-Marathon Jitters

“I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.”
Frank Herbert

Maybe jitters is an understatement… In truth, I am down right scared shitless terrified. The whole taper/rest thing hasn’t helped AT ALL!  How am I supposed to deal with all this stress without out running myself to the point of exhaustion, I mean really?  I think I am most frightened of not being able to finish- and the psychological devastation that would go with it.  I am only slightly less concerned about having to walk a significant portion; and my final lingering fear is the projection of being in some serious physical and mental torture for 5+ hours.

I find it slightly ironic (maybe even poetic) that I anticipate finsihing the marathon at around 5 and a half hours (body permitting!)- which is approximately one hour for every year I was with my abuser.  I keep reminding myself that 5+ hours of physical pain is a drop in the bucket in comparison to the years of abuse I endured.  Mentally, I know I have to strength to do; however, I am keeping my fingers crossed that my body and IT bands hold up for me.

As an added insurance policy, I just ordered a pair of compression tights from amazon.com.  I have had such great luck with my compression sleeves (even helping with my knee pain in a pinch!) that I hoped it might help with my IT band issues- which reared their ugly head during the Diva Half.  Any amount of reduction is the discomfort while running 26.2 miles is well worth the money spent in my opinion!  Plus, the product reviews looked really promising.

There are a few things that I will have going for me on race day (that I continually remind myself of).  First, I’ll have Adam with me, who- as far as I’m concerned- gets the BOYFRIEND OF THE YEAR AWARD for signing up to do this with me, ultra runner or not.  Just having someone there who supports and cares about me is something I know will make a HUGE difference.  Plus, I always push a little harder when we are running together.  What’s more Adam absolutely believes I am ready and can do this, and that almost makes me believe it too.  Second, I have a higher purpose for this run.  For once- hold your breath people- it’s not about the bling or racing swag. Instead, it’s about paying tribute to all those women and victims of violence who have suffered at the hand of an abuser.  It’s about taking a stand for those individuals and myself to say we are strong and we are going to do something about this.

I am happy to say the Running for the Color Purple Campaign is gaining momentum, and the money is starting to come in!  The campaign has gotten some publicity on the Channel 8 blog and with the Citizen’s News in my town.  I am beyond thrilled to be bring awareness to this cause, and my passion for it is what will help me push through the tough points when I am beyond fatigued and miserable.  Afterall, what wouldn’t you endure if it could mean changing or even saving someone else’s life?

Meds I may need by Saturday!

Biting off more than I can chew?

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face

… we must do that which we think we cannot.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Yesterday I survived another round of Boot Camp- push-ups and all!  I was actually excited to go.  I guess that makes me a glutton for punishment.  lol Each time the drill instructor gave us a challenge, I wanted to yell “bring it on!”  Every time I was tired and wanted to quit, I reminded myself that marathon runners don’t quit, Tough Mudders don’t quit, Spartans don’t quit, and I certainly don’t quit.  When I was told to push, I pushed as hard as I could.

That being said, I woke up this morning incredibly sore.  I wanted to stay in bed, but it was the only chance I’d have this week to get in a long run.  I truly regretted not doing a better job stretching before and after our class.  In the theme of not being a quitter, I dragged myself over to the Bridle Trail and started my 17 mile run.  My legs were heavy and my body was fighting me at first, but eventually I settled, and it felt like less of an effort.  By the time I hit nine miles, I was still feeling strong and really thought I was going to get through the run unscathed.  I knocked out my first 10 miles in just over 2 hrs, which was pretty good for me given I had on my vibrams and a weighted pack.

By the next mile, I was not feeling so hot.  Another mile in,  my IT bands were SCREAMING.  I panicked for a minute, but kept pushing.  Then my body came to a grinding halt.  I tried to force myself to run, but the pain was searing up my legs.  I couldn’t get back into a rhythm.  I couldn’t even walk straight.  I still had over 5 miles to go- a very long distance to walk.  I figured I would walk a bit and see if it got better- no luck.  Then I got the brilliant idea to pull my compression sleeves over my knees, which worked like a charm!  Then next five miles weren’t easy, but at least were doable.

By the time I got to the end of the trail, the GPS was whining flashing that it’s battery was low.  I thought it was very nervy for it to be complaining when I was doing all the work and still had to keep going. 😉  At the same time, I was a little proud of myself for outlasting it.  In the aftermath, I have to admit I am having a bit of trouble moving- especially up and down stairs.  Adam has been getting quite a chuckle watching me limp around.  He assures me this is normal.  I was hoping to make-up tomorrow evening’s Boot Camp class in the morning, but now I’m not sure 1) if I’ll be able to move by then, and 2) if it’s even a good idea.  I have not really been good with taking rest days, and now I’m paying for it.  Another lesson learned!

17.19 miles in 3:45!

Getting muddy...again! And sporting my awesome hot pink compression sleeves!

Just in case anyone needs a laugh, I read this post a while back from a HILARIOUS blogger- the Bloggess.  It’s about a metal chicken.  It made me literally laugh out loud because I could absolutely see my mom and myself doing this.  Then yesterday my mom and I were at the Home Goods store, and look what I found!  I immediately took a photo (see below) with my iPhone and sent it to my sister with the following message “Look, it’s even on sale!!! Lol I think mom needs one!”  She replied “No, I don’t think so,” but I’m sure my mom would have loved it and totally appreciated the humor in the situation.

That’s all for now!  Tomorrow we are California bound. 🙂  My next post will likely be the race recap, so everyone have a wonderful weekend!!!

Weekend Update

Spend the afternoon.  You can’t take it with you. 

~Annie Dillard

Okay, so I have been slacking on the blogging lately.  Life has been so busy!  All good things, thankfully.  I have not managed any long runs since my last post, mostly due to lack of time issues.  However, I did get in some workouts at the gym.  I have spent an hour on the elliptical with the resistance maxed (and my hydration pack on to add some weight) on two separate occasions- the most recent being today.  When I first started running I couldn’t make it through a full hour without feeling like I would pass out or throw up- even without the resistance maxed.  Now I am plowing through that hour- even with extra weight!  Workouts like that help me realize just how much progress I’ve made. 🙂

I have also been spending a lot more time stretching now that I got my foam roller in the mail.  The first time I used it I had flashbacks of physical therapy as a teenager.  The therapist would press on my IT band insertion point, and I would literally jump off the table.  This was the same pain.  The experience can be summarized in one word “OUCH!”  By the time I finished, it was much less tender, but I felt like I had deep bruises in my thighs for a whole day afterwards.  I am hoping this helps with the long runs!  I am also pleased to announce that I did not have any increased IT band issues after my 13 ish mile run, even without the benefit of the foam roller- something I am taking as an extremely positive sign.

Today I will be going out on the boat with Adam and some friends.  We’ve been trying to cram in as much time as possible out on the water before the weather gets to cold (part of the reason I have not had as much time to run).  It’s nice to get a change of scenery and actually be social (for a change!).  Although I have to admit it gets tiring at times to spend so much time around other people- being an introvert and all.  It is so worth the exhaustion at the end of the day though!  So far we have taken out my little sister- who loved every second of it, and a few of my friends from high school.  It was so great to see everyone have a good time, and especially to spend time with some special people I don’t get to see very often. 🙂

That’s all for now!  Boot Camp starts tomorrow.  I will keep you all posted on how it goes.  In the meantime, I will be thriving.  I hope you all do the same and have a happy and healthy holiday weekend!!!!

Me and my BFF

When trails become streams…

I may not be there yet, but I’m closer than I was yesterday.” 

~Author Unknown

I’m BACK!!!! It’s official!  Just shy of 13 miles today and only minimal IT band pain.  Wohoo!  lol  I’m so happy to FINALLY have gotten some mileage in.  Initially, Adam and I headed to Hopbrook (my favorite place to run), but it is completely under water.  We decided to do the Bridle Trail instead, which was slightly less damp.  The trail had turned into a fresh water stream in many places, which was actually pretty fun to run in.  Meanwhile, the small brook that typically runs along the gravel path had turned into class 5 rapids (See picture below).  We actually thought we heard traffic coming when we were crossing, but it turned out to be the water.  It was pretty impressive.

when brooks become rapids...

 

 

The first 6-7 miles were pretty easy, but my legs got pretty tired on the way back.  I was getting tangled in a lot of the debris from the storm, and Adam was light-years ahead of me.  He kept stopping or walking to give me time to catch up, and I felt kind of bad that I was running so slow.  I know there is a faster runner inside and I am determined to release her at some point!  I kept reminding myself that no matter how slow I was running, I was moving forward and still smiling- the 2 most important things.  Overall, the run went pretty well.  I was glad to have Adam there to show me a few new side trails and keep me from over-doing it.  Plus, he makes good company; and the view running behind him is not too bad either. lol  He even took pictures for me to adorn my blog.  He is so supportive!

Initially, when I was reading about many of the other bloggers who had run their first marathon, I noticed that a lot of them had a fair number of people cheering them on.  Many of them had photos holding flowers while posing with their finisher medals.  It made me want flowers when I finish!  Then I realized that I have something even better- a boyfriend who is willing to suffer through the 26.2 mile stretch with me to help motivate me and keep me going.  How lucky am I ?!   I am sure there are other things he would have rather been doing today than running through 13 miles of mud and debris, but he knew I would appreciate it.

In related news, I am looking into joining the boot camp program at my gym.  It looks like a lot of cross fit type training, and I’m hoping it will help me take my conditioning to the next level.  I also got an email today that my foam roller and cliff bloks shipped.  I am pretty excited! 🙂

running through the stream

 

 

 

made it!!!

It gets harder before it gets easier…

“You have a choice. You can throw in the towel, or you can use it to wipe the sweat off of your face.
–Gatorade

borrowed from Pushinspire

This morning I was little discouraged by my marathon training…or current lack there of.  It’s not like I’m sitting on the couch eating potato chips, but I also haven’t logged any significant mileage in a couple weeks.  I desperately want to be out there running 20 miles; however, my body, unfortunately, has had other ideas. That being said, I understand all to well that injuries and setbacks are a part of running, and I’ve been extremely lucky that this is the first issue I’ve had since my return to running many months ago.

Initially, I thought running in Vibrams had cured all my running issues, and that the only limitation to my future running would be my own determination.  It wasn’t until recently that I found out that is not exactly the case.  In the defense of my VFF, I have been still using regular running shoes for pavement and gravel; so many of my longest runs have not been “barefoot”.  Plus, I increased my mileage way too quickly on my last long run.  Now that I am re-familiarized with the perils of over-training, I will return to running a wiser endurance junkie. 😉

Happily, I have taken this hiatus from lengthy runs as a chance to work on some cross training and general conditioning- which is especially important now that the NorCal Tough Mudder is coming up fast.  I am pretty confident I will be able to finish, even if I don’t complete every obstacle successfully.  I am also confident about being able to complete the Diva Half Marathon.  What I am terrified about is my body limiting my ability to run the full marathon 2 weeks after.  I’m worried that running 13.1 miles on pavement is going to aggravate my IT bands, and that 2 weeks won’t be enough time to recover before the Hartford Marathon.  I am also scared that I won’t be able to get my mileage up any further beforehand due to my IT band issues.  Finally, my greatest dread is that I will continue to be plagued by the chronic knee pain and joint issues that have stifled my running for so long.  Now that I have tasted the freedom of running without the obstacle of chronic joint pain- I never want to go back.

The good news– since I started running in my VFF, I have have been pain free (minus the current IT band issue- which, thankfully, has been okay on the last few runs)!  Not just without joint pain while running- pain-free in general.  Before, my knee caps popped out-of-place when I walked, and I always had knee and hip pain.  I had it my whole life, so I didn’t know any better.  Now, the only pain I have is in my muscles!  It’s been truly liberating.  It’s something to remember when I feel like I’m not making enough progress.  I have come SO far.  I had dreams of running a half marathon one day, but NEVER believed a full marathon would be attainable.  That was something only super-fit, athletic people could  do in my mind- not someone with a host joint issues.  Besides, I had numerous ortho docs tell me all the reasons I couldn’t and shouldn’t run. I always viewed running as something I loved, but also as extremely damaging to my body.  Look at me now!  I have 4 hours of extremely slow running (without walking!) under my belt with plans for my first marathon in less than 2 months!  What a difference a year can make in a life. 🙂

As an added insurance plan, I have a foam roller to stretch my IT bands in the mail… along with a new box of Clif Bloks. 🙂  What a crazy journey this has been- and it isn’t even over yet!  Whatever happens come October I know one thing for sure- I will make it across that finish line even if I have to crawl!

One thing that has kept me motivated and inspired has been following other running bloggers.  Below I’ve listed some of my current favorites.  As always, thanks for reading!  Comments and Feedback are always welcome and appreciated (you can also email at runningthriver@gmail.com).  Feel free to repost any material from my blog, but please give credit back to this site. 🙂

PushInspire

Marathon Sweetheart

The Primal Challenge

Experience Life With Me

I Run Long

Runwithdesire

Happy Trails Everyone!!!