Monday, April 27, 2015

Marathon #2 - Training Week 17

Yes, I've been trying to avoid social media.  Yes, there's a reason I've been quiet and absent from everywhere.  I still <3 you all though, so even though I'm going back and forth between anger, sadness, and apathetic acceptance, I want to keep you in the loop and give you the lowdown.  Sorrynotsorry for the novel.

I guess I'll keep with the title theme I had going this whole time, but in reality, the "real" title of this post should be:  The End.  Why I'm not running the Pittsburgh Marathon.  And probably not the 5K either.

Sigh.  Warning:  I may utilize the f word a lot.  I'm pissy and will say pissy things.  This will be long.  You might not like what I have to say.  You might want to point a finger and tell me how wrong I am and how I screwed up.  Please save it.  I don't need it.

Well fuck.  So, if you read either my last blog post (which I still stand 100% behind why heart rate training is awesomeness) or my last run post on DailyMile you know that last Tuesday's run was crappy for me.  During the run, my left hip just felt wonky.  It wasn't bad, it wasn't even really pain.. it just felt weird.  But, you know taper crazies as well as my known fact that my first run after a long run always feels off, even if it's just the beginning until I shake it off.  It did loosen up during the run, so again, I didn't put too much thought into it.

Ok, let me back up and format this recap-style as I have been.

Monday: Strength & Core workouts.  Both went really well - I watched the Boston marathon during, so it helped pass the time.  I had my typical day after a long run fatigue happening but it certainly wasn't in one area and it definitely wasn't anything different than I've experienced for months on end now.  My biggest bitch about this workout was the commentators for the Boston Marathon.  I wanted to slap someone the next time I heard about either Meb being "old" due to being almost 40 or how small the women were.  I remember my comments after hearing that they were around 5'3 and 95 lbs was "wow.. I must be doing something wrong with my weight/muscle balance since I'm 5'4".  I thought about how I feel better now that I've gained some weight after my pelvic stress fracture and put on a lot more muscle mass.  At the time of my EQT 10 miler stress fracture I was between 94-97 lbs and was told that being that underweight contributed to the injury.  Thankfully lifting and marathon training bulks me up to between 106-110.  And again, I feel (and believe I look) a lot better.  But I digress... back to the recap.

Tuesday:  The crappy 7 mile run noted above.  The first 6 miles I did at easy pace and the last mile was on and off 30 second strides.  I did have to stop just after the halfway point to stretch because it felt like my whole leg just said piss off.  But a few seconds of stretching and I was good to go.  I actually felt worlds better the rest of the run and the strides felt really good.  I did not see any need for concern about this run at this time.

Then the rest of the day happened.  I went to the grocery store and then about my daily business.  The left side of my lower back, my left butt cheek, and my left hip just got more and more stiff as the day went on.  By the end of the night, I could barely walk without some weird leg swing/hobble action.  I took ibuprofen, foam rolled (which hurt like a mother fucker - especially in my piriformis area), stretched, and did some yoga poses.  One thing was for sure - I was not running 8 miles with mile repeats included the next day.

Wednesday:  I did a longer yoga session with specific poses for the lower back and hips.  I felt ok - I didn't have as pronounced of a hobble as the night before but my gait was still off.  Most of my pain was centered in my rear end and over toward the hip - again, that piriformis area.  My husband stretched me out and tried to use the stick and massage it out and he said it felt messed up.  I also had a definite pocket of swelling or something on the side of my hip that hurt to the touch.  I revamped my plans and scheduled a chiropractic and massage appointment combo for the next day. If this did the trick then I could get back on schedule and only miss that one run.  But anyway, more rolling, stretching, yoga and ibuprofen on this day.

Thursday:  I felt pretty good, so I got my running gear on and figured I'd attempt something - even a few easy miles.  I made it to the end of my driveway.  Nope - 3 steps into the run and the pain started.  I'm smart enough not to run through it.  So, that was that.  I went to my chiro appointment.  He did some ROM exercises as well as some trigger point.  He also noted my piriformis as he did some witch doctor routine to try to put things back in place.  I did feel a little relief, but it definitely wasn't a cure.  We scheduled again for this coming Thursday.  My massage was wonderful... again, it provided relief, but it wasn't a cure for whatever butt/hip thing is happening.  One thing the MT did say was that my hamstrings were crazy tight... and they usually are, but she worked her magic and they still feel freaking awesome today (which is frustrating to have great feeling legs but not be able to run).  More rolling/more yoga/more NSAIDS... I did do a lot of walking on this day as well.  Walking is not a problem.  I feel 99% normal and can walk with no issue.  I figure I walked around 2.5 miles Thursday.

Friday:  As tempting as it is to keep "trying" to run when I feel just fine walking and doing everything else in life, I believed my best interest lie in taking a full day to do nothing much running related for a day.  So, aside from more stretching and ibuprofen, I left myself alone, so to speak.  I did go out and walk around 2 miles again while I was out and about.  Walking feels good - I am not in any kind of discomfort during or after it.  On this day I noted that the pain in my rear end and back was gone and now all the bad stuff was centered in that pocket/bubble of bullshit on the side of my hip and it only hurt if you pressed on it.  Of course using Dr. Google was part of my lazy day and I self diagnosed myself with either hip bursitis, piriformis tear, or a stress fracture of the femoral neck - although the symptoms I have don't really align with the FNSF because I don't have any kind of discomfort in my groin or toward the front of my hip, when I have ran in the last days the pain is in my butt/back part of hip area, and I'll admit to being a psycho and doing the "hop test" and have no pain whatsoever while doing that.  But who knows... I thought my pubic ramus fracture was a hamstring strain too.. I am not a doctor.  Doctor Google did tell me that I'm infected with about a million things and it's a wonder I'm still alive right now.  Oh, the depths of internet knowledge!

Saturday:  I felt really good!  I did a light jog in the house.  On carpet - 100% pain free.  On hardwood floors - it felt weird, but no extreme pains or anything so I was headed out to run.  My kids needed to be on the North Side for activities, so I accompanied them and had my husband drop me off on the trail.  I started off my run around the 31st Street bridge.  I made it a little over 2 minutes before having to walk.  My butt/hip just felt so tight!  So I walked about 30 seconds or so and I felt much better and loosened up.  I started to run again.  It was not good.  The tightness/pain in the rear and hip started to build up to where I was not comfortable continuing the run.  I've learned a lot since 2013.  So, I was done.  I'd gone around 5 minutes and short of half a mile.  I walked over to Sarah Heinz House where the rest of my family was helping with the volunteer day.  It wasn't a long walk and of course, I felt better as I went.  I also felt ok throughout the rest of the day.  However, I knew there was no way I was going to get in my last long run the next day.  If I can't handle 2 minutes of straight running there's no way I'm doing 12 miles.

Sunday:  Aside from a slight hangover (hey, Yuengling, Rum, and Jack Daniels absorbing your rage and feelings happens), I felt good again.  Now, I knew better than to run, but honestly I've been eating like crap for several days feeding my emotions and I needed to get some kind of sustained calorie burn happening.  So, I rode my bike for 20 minutes, walked my neighborhood at a brisk pace for 20 minutes (ended up being about a mile and a half), and then did 20 minutes of exercises that mostly came out of my old PT routine - clamshells, steamboats, hip hikes, leg lifts, etc.  I felt accomplished for the first time in many days and my mood toward myself and my situation improved.

Total Miles Ran: less than 8.  Was supposed to be 32.
Total Running Workouts: 1+ - fuck it.
Total Strength Days: 2 - 1 strength/core day and 1 PT-ish day

Nutrition this week:  hahahahahahaha.  I'm just gonna fly the middle finger here because it's been a shit week.  And those macros just weren't happening.  I've put down a lot of alcohol, cake, ice cream, brownies, chips, KFC, and you name it.  I did have a fantastic vegetable curry and tempeh off the Whole Foods hot bar the other day, though.  I don't know why but when I eat there I always eat the vegan food and it's the best.  I can't cook it that well at home.  I suck. :(

So... what the fuck is next?  Well here's the deal:  I'm preserving my health at ALL COSTS.  I'll repeat what I've told myself a million times since Fall 2013: No medal is worth losing my mobility for months.  I'd like to keep my ability to simply walk, let alone try to do anything else.  Today I have some butt soreness and that side/back of the hip thing going on.  Otherwise I feel good.  I don't have anything other than Yoga scheduled and I'm going to keep it that way.  I have an appointment with my Orthopedic Surgeon on Wednesday morning and I'm hoping that I can get in for an MRI shortly thereafter.  I'm really hoping this is "just" a bursitis or muscular problem (I mean, Dr Google can't be wrong! lol).  But, if it's not, it's not and then I at least can get started on whatever healing process that entails.  If I can get a 100% confirmation that I have nothing broken in there and I can get some kind of fix/relief, I may attempt to walk/shuffle the 5K if I feel like I realistically can.  I've thought about the marathon, and while it kills that two years in a fucking row now I've been screwed on it (and seriously, fuck you Pittsburgh Marathon for not offering deferment or a transfer/refund system that doesn't suck total ass), I'm not going to risk my health over it.  I don't want to shuffle in a 5/6 hour marathon and feel that much worse.  I've never been on my feet that long, so it's not like I'm even trained to do that.

My current thoughts:
I'm pissed... but surprisingly enough totally ok with this.  I haven't been really enthused about this marathon from the start.  I mean, I didn't even register until just a few weeks ago when they said they were close to sell out.  When I heard I got into Marine Corps (which yes, I still plan on pursuing even if I have to Galloway it) my interest went down that much more.  Maybe it's because I'm a 12+ years now transplant to the area, but I always get amused by the hype of running "all the neighborhoods" in this marathon.  Newsflash:  some of them are downright shitty.  But hey, I'm bitter.  And I can say what I want.  Speaking of being bitter - you see the weather report for this weekend?  Too damn hot. 50s in the morning climbing into the 70s?  Fuck that, that's miserable.  Maybe this is my body just revolting and saving me from the misery.

There's a part of me that's excited to not have my body beat down on one day and have to take a week or more off of real life.  I'd originally planned for 10 days off of running post marathon and then a gradual summer rebuild in addition to more heavy strength training, cross training and carb cutting to get my bikini body back.  I miss fighting for position in front of the free weights mirror with the gym bros and I'm tired of feeling like a pansy when I try to pick something heavy up now.  I'm fixing to put in a huge order from Cellucor and and get my pump on.  So I'm a little excited that I might be able to start this earlier, especially if I rest now and heal up whatever is going on with my butt/hip.

I had 16 weeks of awesome endurance training.  I ran two fun races and got 2 cool medals! To say I'm not bummed would be a lie that I don't get to close the door on the plan as intended, but I definitely don't think it was a waste.  I don't know what went "wrong" or what happened to mess me up here at the very end.  Sometimes shit just happens and you can analyze it up one side and down the other but it doesn't change anything.  I still stand behind heart rate training. I guess if there's one thing that I could say that maybe I've learned or would do differently is that 18 weeks might be too long of a training plan for me.  I feel like I could have ran a marathon 2-3 weeks ago and been totally prepared for it.  JASR to the last 20 miler.. even to last week's 16 miler I felt great and like I could go on forever.  So, again, I don't know.  Depending on the outcome of my injury here I'll probably choose a shorter plan for MCM.

And really, if it turns out that hardcore running just isn't for me then I'll have to accept that.  I have lots going against me but I've always tried to make the best of what I can do - I have a very narrow pelvis (which is what prompted 3 cesarean sections), one of my legs is longer than the other, and I have hormonal issues caused by my thyroid - well, the parts that are left after that big ass tumor got removed.  I ran my one marathon in less than 4 hours.  That's a huge achievement for most people and I'm happy with that.  If I have to walk/run this year's MCM and then stick with shorter runs from here out, that's ok.  I have so many other plans in life and so much else I want to accomplish than continually lowering race times.  Too often I get caught up in the more/faster/better mentality and it takes away from the sheer enjoyment of simply being present in the moment.

Well, that's it for now.  I'm mad, I'm bitter, but really I'm fine.  There are good things happening in my future - they're just not all centered around OMG GO RUN FAST THINGS.  Cheers!


  1. I completely understand why you are bitter, and I agree no medal is worth months of recovery. Only you know your body so know one else can say shit. I hope it's nothing serious and you aren't sidelined to long. Hey if you can't run this weekend you can still come and cheer the rest of us on. On a side note you say you ate shitty this last week and I was sitting here like fuck I need to hang with her she eats good

    1. Haha, I am living proof that a girl can put down some food. Add stress eating to the mix and I'm a bottomless pit. :)

  2. Wow, Nichole. I was wondering what was up with you and hoping it was nothing bad. It sucks, yes. Any injury at any time sucks. But I think the big picture is that really this race doesn't matter. What you accomplished during training--all the improvements you have measurable proof of--are what matters. It's better to treat your body well now, to give it the recovery it needs, so that you can ensure your health for the summer, MCM, and all the years ahead of you. Plus, Pittsburgh (and its shitty neighborhoods, lol...I actually love the gritty, shitty neighborhoods most :-) ) will always be there if you want to do it another year. I've said this before and I'll say it again, but your training has really been a model for me, and I think everything you have accomplished has been huge. You should be proud!!! I wish it hadn't resulted in an injury, but good for you for not letting it bring you down. And, if you do decide to walk/shuffle the 5K, I'll totally do that with you. I think that's about the only way we could actually do a race together. :)

    1. Thanks. :) And please don't take what I said about the neighborhoods too seriously - my main issue is flaunting places like Homewood/West End/Point breeze on a single day and then the city ignores it the rest of the year instead of helping build it up. I think it's sad. I know some Homewood residents in particular really resent the marathon because of it. :( Otherwise I really do love this place. I'm still sad we were priced out of the War Streets and had to move, but we're already looking at places around the North Side again and if all goes well we can relocate during the summer! :D
      I'm going to wait and see what my doc says tomorrow before making any final decisions for the weekend. I will definitely let you know, though - you are so sweet for offering!!

  3. Oh, no!!!! I am so, so sorry! It's beyond frustrating to have made this far, but good for you for playing it safe and smart...most people *cough* me *cough* would try to run through it and end up in a full body cast after.
    I also really relate to consulting Dr. Google and basically being convinced you were not going to make it through this...that has pretty much been the story of my life for the last month.
    I hope the MRI doesn't show anything serious, and that you are back on your feet knocking the bros out of the way in the weight room ASAFP.
    Sending all of the Get Well vibes and hugs your way!!

    1. I'll be totally honest - if this were MCM, I would be more likely to just go out and do it no matter what. We'll see what the ortho says tomorrow. I hate to count myself 100% out just yet, but at the same time, I really enjoy being able to walk. I still remember how awful the crutches/wheelchair thing was! You really get first hand knowledge of how inaccessible some places are!

      Oh, Dr. Google - according to him it's a pure miracle any of us are around. I mean I could have anything from a simple muscle strain to some creature in there eating away and reproducing! Freaky!

      I wish I could have just scheduled the MRI and got it over with.. I know my doctor is just going to give me the "wtf did you do to yourself again" thing and poke and prod around a bit and then say "well, let's send you over to MRI". /sigh... healthcare protocols... never make sense.