IT band

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!!!

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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!!!

Leaving blood on the trail…

“I decided to go for a little run.”

Forrest Gump

the walk back to the car...

I started my morning with a little yoga and some quality time with the kettlebell.  I also attempted a few pathetic push-ups (maybe 10 tops…I’m working on it) before I decided it was way too nice out not to go for a run.  The sunshine and cool breeze were calling me!  Since I’m still easing back in and trying not to re-aggravate my IT bands, I brought Penny along.  She was ecstatic to say the least.

I figured today would be a good one to do some hills. Why?

Well, there are numerous benefits to doing training on hills:

1) Want to improve your running formdo hills.   It’s hard to run uphill with poor form.  Running uphill forces you to straighten your back, use your arms, and get up on the balls of your feet.  Plus, it improves your turn-over and stride length.  All these benefits help prevent injury!

2) Want to run fasterdo hills.  Running against gravity is a terrific form of strength training.  Increased strength and power = faster running.

3) Want better endurancedo hills. Running hills optimizes efficiency, improves anaerobic and aerobic capacity, and increases your body’s tolerance to lactic acid.  All of these enhance your stamina.

4) Want to build your confidence...you guessed it!  Hills are tough physically and psychologically.  Conquer them in training and it will be a huge boost to your running ego.  Not to mention, there’s an added sense of achievement each time you reach the top. 🙂

If those aren’t enough reasons, how about getting a tighter backside?  That’s right! Uphill work is great for the gluteal muscles- which will not only give you a nice shape, but will help with injury prevention too!

All that being said, the hill workout went great.  At least, it was great until poor Penny got injured.

We had maybe been running 45 minutes (up every steep, endless hill we could find), when I noticed Penny kept trying to head for the lake.  I thought she could probably use a break, so I hiked with her down to the water.   Penny loves to swim. Knowing her favorite water game is to fetch, I tossed a small branch for her.  She merrily swam out to retrieve it several times before it was clear that she was getting tired and it was time to head back.  I started back up the hill behind her and immediately saw her back paw was bleeding quite a bit.  She was favoring it a little, but overall didn’t seem too fazed.  I panicked for a moment, realizing we were no where near the car, and she was too heavy for me to carry.  I felt terrible.  I considered rushing her to the vet office, but she is petrified of going there.  With the wound being so dirty, I was sure they wouldn’t be able to do much other than clean it out well and bandage it. With no other idea for what to do, I continued to walk back toward the parking lot with her.  All the while Penny trotted joyfully, completely unbothered by the bloody trail she was leaving in her wake.  I reminded myself that it was only a cut, and the worst that could happen is it would get infected (easily treated with antibiotics).

I figured it would be easier on both of us if I just took care of her myself.   Afterall, I am a surgical PA; I should be able to handle this right?  Once I dropped Penny off at home, I stopped at Rite Aid and got some supplies.  I have to give her credit for being so tolerant.  She is one of the most well-tempered dogs I’ve ever met.  She let me take care of cleaning what turned out to be a deep cut out (and applying a dressing) with only an occasional pathetic whimper in protest.  When it was all over, I think she was quite relieved.  Luckily, she was worn out from the run and has been resting comfortably.  I was incredibly grateful that she hasn’t bothered with the dressing at all.  Hopefully she’ll be good as new in no time.

The one thing I realized in all of this is that I should probably keep some basic first aid supplies in my hydration pack (especially now that I’m running in the woods alone for hours).  I’m going to get some quick clot, medical tape, gauze, and maybe a small knife to carry with me- sort of a makeshift first aid kit.  I’ll probably start carrying an extra snack just in case too.  In the meantime, it looks like I need to find a new, temporary running buddy.

successful retrieval

so proud of herself

unfazed by her injury

fetching the stick

frolicking in the fields

view of the lake