A month of updates: injuries, lethargy, Peru, and, oh, yeah, a half marathon

Coca tea, delicious and keeps you from passing out while at altitude.

Oh, hello there. You five readers still here? Well, all right then. I suppose we can talk.

When last we left our noble heroine, she was doing some arduous training for the Richmond half marathon that resulted in a dodgy foot, blisters in places people should never blister, and a stabbing hip pain that brought excitement to the easiest of jogs. A ten mile long run in the bag, she took a few days to recover and then…took a few more.

See, the thing is, my hip really fucking hurt when I ran. It was happy as a clam with walking and sitting and lying on my couch for hours while reading about gay crime fighting duos, but the hip had a few choice words to say about this running nonsense. And, because I was kind of exhausted from running so much anyway and everything fucking hurt and I’d been depressed in general, I took an extra long taper for the Richmond half.

Like 3 weeks long.

I did some super casual trainer rides on the bike a few times, but for the most part I just stopped working out. It felt very much like my off season started late October instead of mid-November with the unstructured workouts and all the extra time in the day. Only, oh yeah, there was this half marathon to run on November 10th.

I didn’t think of quitting. For one thing, even with injury, malaise, and a half executed training plan I was way better trained for this half marathon than I was for my March race. And if I could suck it up for 13.1 miles back in March, I could certainly do the same thing in November. So I went down with the Accomplice on Friday and we trotted our way to victory Saturday morning.

How did I fare, you ask, silently wondering why there wasn’t a proper race report posted 3 weeks ago as is your due as readers of my woes.

Let’s start with the good news: I did PR (3:26). I’d been hoping to PR a hell of a lot more considering my goal for the race was to run the entire thing instead of walking large chunks of the back section (didn’t happen), but a PR is still a PR. I also think my nutrition didn’t suck. I could’ve had one more gel earlier in the race, but I didn’t bonk and I didn’t feel sick and those are pretty much my gold standard for nutrition right now.

The bad…well, my hip hurt. And when I say my hip hurt, I mean my hip ached from the first shuffled step I took to the start line all the way through to the stabbing pains it gave me running through the downhill finish. In fact, by the time I’d finished the race, the pain had spread from a single spot on my outer left hip all the way around to the point where my entire pelvic girdle ached. I was distracted by my terrible hip pain when at around mile 10 I started experiencing calf cramps. Did you know you can still run on calf cramps? It feels like you’re slapping useless stumps of flesh onto pavement with the hope that something lands flat, but it can be done. I basically finished the race wanting to cry. I was so very ready to be done. Once I stopped running, there was a half mile hill that you have to hike back up to get to the main road with the hotels and I could barely lift my legs to climb the hill. I made The Accomplice go on ahead of me because I couldn’t do more than shuffle and moan and limp.

The limping, oh, the limping. Once I stopped running and my muscles knew they had finished their main task for the day, that was it. My left hip muscles were finished. They basically ceased to function. I would fall over if I tried to balance on one leg, and I spent the rest of (a lovely) Saturday dragging my left leg behind me and trying to get it to work well enough for walking.

Oh, and then, somewhere in between some good wine, good company, and truly excellent post-race steak I may have agreed to run a marathon in Jan 2014. I KNOW. Feel free to slap me upside the head. The Accomplice made the point that perhaps an intermediary goal should be to do a half marathon without hating it. So that’s probably a 2013 to do list item. Along with preparing for a marathon. I think. JFC.

Longest. train ride. ever.

I spent the week following Richmond half limping around and being pathetic. And then I went to Peru. Where my hip magically got better within 24 hours. Peruvian magic? Or walking for several miles a day in a jungle? We can only speculate.

Mobility restored, I enjoyed several lovely days hiking in the Amazon before I tripped down a flight of stairs while walking toward our departure boat. Scored an awesome sprained ankle for my troubles. I like to think of this as the universe’s payment for giving me a WHOLE WEEK free of injury to see the monkeys.

Sexy cankle with bonus bruising!

After we flew out of the Amazon, I set about hobbling around Cusco in a now familiar grimace-shuffle of patheticness. The ankle,  for all that it was pretty consistently grapefruit shaped, recovered faster than I expected it to. It only took me a day or two to be back to normal walking speed. I even managed to climb around Machu Picchu a few days later.

Machu Picchu, bitches. Better than turkey and football any day.

Now that I’m back home, I’m continuing to wear my ankle brace and stretch it out. It definitely doesn’t feel ready for running, but then again, I don’t feel ready for running either. I sent a date of December 1st for the end of off-season, and I plan to wring every single minute out of it before I jump back on board the triathlon (and perhaps marathon?!?) train.

What’s on deck for 2013? I’ve got some ideas, which I’ll talk about in the next few days, but so far it’s all pretty open. Until December 1st, though, I’m just going to sit back and enjoy the views.

My new boyfriend. Ours is a long distance love, unfortunately. Customs had a few choice words on his coming to America.

5 responses to “A month of updates: injuries, lethargy, Peru, and, oh, yeah, a half marathon

  1. Some advice in regards pain coming from a 60-year-old family I’ve had the hip pointer pain you talk about – it caused me to walk the second half of my first marathon and I’ve had many tendon injuries since then. Over the years I’ve found that pushing through pain is counter-productive. I have gradually worked up to longer distances over 12 years so you have plenty of time. It is good to set goals such as your marathon in 2014 but you may want to hold off on signing so you can pick another one if you are not ready. I planned to run a marathon in November, 2011 to try to qualify for Boston but I wasn’t ready so I picked a different one in December and bagged on that one too. It took me until March of this year before I felt good enough to go and I did succeed in qualifying.
    1) I relied more on biking for training and only ran twice a week separated by three or four days. I used this method for all 6 of my marathons. The running and biking muscles are pretty much the same in the trauma is much less. Look at the Galloway method – it kept me injury free for my last two marathons – and pick up a copy of Chi Running by Danny Glover.
    2) I wouldn’t do anything that causes pain. You look young in your picture and you have decades to these events

    • Hi Gil!! I agree that pushing through in the long term isn’t useful. Also, just really painful in general. It made running pretty much not fun at all when it started up prior to the half. I’m trying to focus on strength training this winter to hopefully address the hip issue. I didn’t have this problem when I started running a couple years ago and I think it was due to some residual strength from doing yoga 5x a week the year prior to running. Of course, I got into triathlon, stopped yoga completely, and never picked up a different strength training habit, and I think this my hips’ way of thanking me for that.

      And congrats on Boston!! That is an awesome accomplishment!!

  2. Hey, you should do the Shamrock 1/2 in March! We’ll be there. Also the swag is good. Also, I want to hear more about Peru, it’s on my bucket list…

    • The swag is EXCELLENT. I still wear my hoodie from last March. Unfortunately, it’s also a super boring half. There’s almost nothing to look at the whole race & it’s all totally flat. You don’t even get to see the beach until the last half mile. If you’re looking to PR, though, it’s a great course, so I wish you luck!

      And I am happy to talk about Peru until your ears fall off. How are you with bugs? And unrelenting humidity? The Amazon was awesome and is highly recommended for those who can stand the bugs and humidity.

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