Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Six week round-up

It's been a while.  You know the drill.  Too busy doing stuff to write, too injured to run, and not really much to say.  So here are some of the highlights and low lights since the Boston Marathon.

According to the BAA, I did in fact "complete" the Boston Marathon, in a (projected) time of 4:45.  I will also be invited back with the other 5,700 runners that "completed" (wink, wink) the marathon to run it again in 2014.  I really only wanted to run it once, but what can I say?  I'll share my thoughts and feelings later.  This post is all about the reader's digest.

My heel kept bugging me after the marathon and after lots of icing and stretching I visited a podiatrist.  Not the same clown I saw for the stress fracture last year.  This one came highly recommended.  And he lived up to expectations.  I adore this guy.  Yes, he confirmed, a rather nasty case of Plantar Fasciitis.  First he taped it all up for me, then at the next visit he took some Power Step inserts and modified them with all sorts of chunks of felt wedging.  All the while I was laying off of running, which made me twitch a little especially with a half marathon coming up on Memorial Day weekend.  After 10 days of no running, I went with my brandy-new inserts to the track and did a two mile test run, the day before the half marathon.  It actually went a little better than I expected, so I packed up and headed to the Cape with Marie for race weekend.

I won't do a whole "race report" for this race, because I don't want to depress anyone.  But here's the gist:  When we ran Hyannis in February, pouring rain and low 40's, Julia said, "Hey let's come back here in May and run it again.  It will be Memorial Day weekend", she said.  "It will be all warm and summery" she said.  Fast forward to Memorial Day weekend, and it was raining, raw, and freezing.  People wore winter hats.  It was actually colder than it had been in February.  And it was windy.  The wind actually made me angry.  I actually swore at the wind a few times.  No matter which direction I turned, it was a headwind.  I've never wanted a race to end more than I did that day.  I won't tell you my time, but when Julia passed me at mile 11 with full-on bacterial pneumonia, I think you can read between the lines.  It just wasn't my day.  In any case, it was still a fun weekend and gave us some laughs.  Except for my heel, which wasn't laughing.  It was crying and screaming and bawling its skin off.

I resumed the "rest" therapy after the half marathon, but with little improvement I finally called the doctor back and said I wanted physical therapy.  He agreed, and that very same day I was able to get into PT.  After a thorough evaluation, my new therapist Dave announced that my problem really stems from my right hip, which is very weak.  (I feel Liza scowling at me).  (Liza has told me this on many occasions).  So, rather than just focusing on getting my heel all patched up, I need to start doing a smattering of different hip strengthening exercises.  This really bugs me, because I really thought I was done with the "hip pain" stage of my life (at least for a couple more decades) but it's all coming back to haunt me.  Going to PT brings back nightmares of post-hip surgery.  So here I am, after my 2nd PT session, with a really sore hip in addition to my sore heel.  Now I feel like I'm going backwards.  So let's talk about something else...

Swimming!  I've been hitting the pool 2-3 times a week, and although I was convinced I wasn't getting any better, it finally occurred to me that I'm building up a lot more endurance.  A couple weeks ago I made it to a half mile for the first time!  Now I'm up to just over a half mile, and trying to tack on a couple extra laps each week.

Biking!  In probably the best impulse decision of my life, I went and bought a road bike.  Most of the track girls have road bikes, and they were starting to get together for road rides.  I knew I couldn't keep up with them on my mountain bike, and by golly I wanted to be part of the group!  After doing some research online, I thought I knew what I wanted.  Then I talked to a lot of experienced cyclists, and they convinced me that I needed something a little better than an entry level bike.  Especially someone like me, who tends to go "all in" with things.  It was repeated over and over again that I would quickly regret getting something so entry level.  Then I did some more chatting up with local folks to find a good bike shop, and Coleen turned me onto Landry's in Westboro.  I entered the shop apprehensively, afraid I'd be overwhelmed with choices.  Instead, Ben was super helpful and didn't even give me a funny look when I told him I'd never ridden a road bike before.  He showed me all different brands, sized me up, and taught me how to shift.  Amazingly enough, they had a bike my size in stock (she's little, but she's fierce!).  Saying I was nervous test riding it in the parking lot would be an understatement.  The bike was so lightweight, I was afraid a gust of wind would knock me right over!  But, it was comfortable, shifted easily, and it was something I could grow into, so I bought it!
She's a beauty!

I've gotten in a bunch of successful rides, slowly progressing with trickier intersections and traffic situations.  Yesterday I went for my custom bike fitting, which made it "just for me" and even more awesome.  I can't say enough good things about the guys at Landry's.  They are so helpful, and they have organized Saturday morning group rides that I'm hoping to go to sometimes this summer.

Racking up some quick miles on the new Trek!

Triathlons!  (WHAT??) Sometimes if you pick just the right time, like when I'm high on running endorphins or particularly proud of myself during a good swim session, you can talk me into things.  Somehow Marie, Kristen, and Coleen each got to me during various stages of euphoria, and I impulsively signed up for a Sprint Triathlon in July!  I've had a knot in my stomach ever since.  I'm nervous but definitely looking forward to doing this with my friends.  It's a good "first timer" triathlon, and it's ALL FEMALE!  Girl power!  I fully expect every one of my guy friends to come out and applaud us!  On second thought, I'll be wearing some pretty unflattering clothes.  Please stay home.

What I'm not doing:
Racing.  I won't be running the 4th of July Finish on the 50 like I do every year.  I also bowed out of the Old Port Half Marathon in Portland, Maine.  I have a 1 mile track race this weekend that I'm tentatively planning to still run.  I might need to do a little test run this week to make sure I can handle it!

I'm actually okay with giving up a couple races.  I don't really like running a ton in the summer anyways, so I'm going to take it easy, do my PT, swim, bike, and just do a few light runs.  And blog.  I'll do more blogging, I promise.  I was in a bit of a post Boston Marathon mental funk, where the thoughts I had just weren't worth sharing, but I'm climbing my way out of that and looking forward to new adventures!

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