Friday, October 19, 2012

Looking past Newport

So it took a little  bit of time to digest everything that's happened over the last week and put it into words.  I had been doing very well running, sticking to my marathon training plan, and was feeling very good about running the Newport half marathon.  In fact, I felt more prepared for that race than probably any other race I've run, and I was quite confident that I would break my personal record.

In the days leading up to Newport I felt good, although some minor aches were popping up.  Nothing was unmanageable, but my hip area was giving me a little bit of trouble.  Other than that, I had some very minor foot soreness but nothing that was slowing me down.  For several days before Newport I took it easy.  My long run that week was only 7 miles, and I did a couple short runs during the week.  On the Friday before Newport I headed out for a very slow, easy 3 mile run and that's when I ran into trouble.  My foot bothered me pretty much from the beginning of the run, which was unusual, and then about 2.5 miles into the run, the pain became extreme.  I thought it was just a weird quirky pain that I could run through, but I couldn't.  Running through the pain wasn't an option.  I knew at that moment, on Friday afternoon, that I was out of commission.  I walked back to my house, discouraged and in disbelief at the rotten timing of this injury, although I thanked my lucky stars that it happened close to home and not a couple miles into a race.  When I got home I packed it in ice and popped a few Motrin, and still hoped it was just a fluke pain that would disappear as quickly as it came.  

Friday night, the track girls all got together for a fun night of pre-race festivities.  Marie invited us all to her house for a pasta dinner and even hired a manicurist to do our nails! 

We had tons of fun hanging out, having a couple drinks and some good food, and swapped stories of running, training, races, and injuries.  We all speculated on what was going on with my foot, and I tried to remain positive.  

Saturday when I climbed out of bed, it was clear that my foot was no better.  It was extremely frustrating, and I was definitely losing hope about running Newport.  Still, I packed a bag full of running clothes and headed down to Newport for the night with Deb and Diana.  I hobbled around the race expo and we picked up our packets, then did a little bit of sight seeing near the water.  I never get sick of sunsets in Newport!!

Deb (who had just run the Hartford Marathon earlier in the day, pacing the 4:30 group) and Diana, running her first half marathon!
After packet pickup we headed over to my friend Michael's house, who lives 20 miles outside of Newport.  We made a nice pasta dinner and had a great time chatting for a couple hours  - while I continued icing my foot in a Hail Mary attempt to cure it - before tucking ourselves in for a decent sleep.

Sunday morning I put my feet on the floor, and the pain was instant and intense.  There was no choice, I wasn't going to be running the race.  I was extremely disappointed and it was hard to hide my feelings!  We headed to the race, which turned into a giant fiasco since the traffic was so jammed trying to get into Newport.  It was so bad, in fact, that they hopped out of the car a couple miles away from the start of the race and walked/ran the rest of the way.  I stayed in the car, finally made it to the parking lot, took a shuttle, and got to the race late (8:05) but the race was late starting so I still saw the runners take off.  I was bummed that I wasn't able to catch up with anyone before the race started, and really questioned what the heck I was even doing there.  The only cool thing was that I was able to spot Jackie and Marie as they passed by me at the starting line.  

Once the runners were all on course, I was struck with the realization that I was going to be spending the next 2+ hours here waiting for everyone to come back.  It was freezing, the wind was whipping at 20+ mph, and in my haste to catch the shuttle I didn't bring a coat or any money.  I sat on a barrier for a few minutes with the wind whipping rain into my face and cried.

When everyone started coming in, I heard many stories of the intense, almost unbearable wind.  Everyone ran well, and almost everyone had PR's!  It was great to see my track girls do so well.  All that hard work over the summer really paid off!

Jackie & Marie both got PR's 
After everyone grabbed a bite to eat we headed out.  Back at the car, Diana had a surprise for us!

These are little "cakettes", and are completely decadent.  Isn't this the coolest thing?  There were 4 different flavors, and we snacked on a few of these on the ride home!

That night I was inconsolable.  I just had to sulk and get it out of my system.  It was the first race I had ever entered and didn't start.  For the afternoon I sulked, and then after I started getting my head together realized I needed to make a plan.  That plan was going to have to get me training for Disney one way or another.  If I couldn't do it by running, I was going to have to find another way.  So, in came the bike!

The great thing about having such strong running friends is that they understand my disappointment, and are genuinely just as concerned about my foot as I am.  On Tuesday Marie called and invited me to go swimming with her.  I hate swimming.  I'm terrible at swimming and I avoid water whenever possible.  I've heard of all the amazing benefits of swimming and how it's great cross training for runners, but it kind of freaks me out so I avoid it.  This, I realized, is exactly what I need.  So I popped over to Sports Authority, got myself a swimsuit, cap, and goggles, and prepared for aqua battle!  

Looking a little Smurfy
Marie, Coleen and I ended up having a really good time swimming and it wasn't nearly as bad as I expected.  I did manage to nearly choke to death right when we started but after that I was okay.  I quickly realized that I have no fitness when it comes to swimming, so I had to take constant breaks to catch my breath.  This is probably exactly why I never wanted to swim before, because it seemed so hard.  Coleen insisted that it's just like running, and that over time you can build up speed, distance, and work on form.  It was a great introduction to swimming and I'm proud to say I went back tonight by myself and did pretty well!

In the meantime, I went to the podiatrist yesterday to get to the bottom of my foot problem.  I wasn't thoroughly impressed with the doctor, but I think he's got me going in the right direction.  He's calling this injury joint capsulitis.  The treatment is roughly 4 weeks of no running, keeping the foot immobile (no flexing), ice, Motrin, orthotics, and metartarsal pads under my foot to relieve pressure.  I have a follow up appointment in two weeks, and if by then there's no improvement then we'll probably do an x-ray or MRI.

I'm being surprisingly mature about this injury, diagnosis, and treatment.  I'm not yet worried about Disney, provided that I can get back to running in a few weeks.  This is certainly not ideal, but I'm planning on doing a fair amount of swimming and biking to keep the cardio and leg strength.  I'm looking at this as an opportunity to force myself into more cross-training, which I've never been great at.  And even though I'm bummed about not running, all this free time means time to do a lot more of this...

Some of this...

...and of course a bit more of this...

So I'm not too worried about having down time over the next 4 weeks!