Monday, October 24, 2011

Rock n Roll St. Louis Half Marathon Race Recap

Before the race

Sign I've seen many times and always love

Before the race, as my corral approached the starting line

Taken during the race- LOVE THIS!!!
Race morning started with a 5:30am wake up. I had my usual pre-race meal of Diet Dr. Pepper and a Honey Stinger Waffle on my way to the race. We were there in plenty of time to hit porta potties. Twice. One of which I got really lucky because the door was stuck in the locked position so nobody had used it. A guy standing in line yanked it open so only the dude before me used it before it was my turn. Score! Hate stinky porta potties but it's a necessary evil at races. I walked all the way up to corral 5, where I should have started if I was going for my planned sub-2. It was so close to the front. Scary! But instead, I decided to start in corral 21, with an estimated finish time of 2:50-3:00. With my bib I could have started pretty much anywhere, but I decided that it might kill my morale to be passed the entire race. I was really happy with my corral selection. They did a really good job of letting the corrals go every couple of minutes. It was warmer than I'd expected it to be- about 58 degrees at the race start- which made it not too miserable waiting to get started. I didn't take any throw away clothes, but I used some hand warmers and tucked my hands inside my long sleeves for a few miles since my hands get cold so easily. It was tough to not run across the starting line and I almost teared up. At that moment I promised myself I could run across the finish line if I wasn't in terrible pain after the next 13 miles. There were a few other walkers who I saw at the beginning, including one lady carrying a cane. Lots of people were using a run-walk-run strategy, so it didn't take long for me to start passing people and I kept that up the entire race. There were some beautiful areas on the course. I carried my camera, but the photos just don't do it justice. I was also hoping they'd capture the elevation, but they don't. I wouldn't say it was a hilly course as in lots of ups and downs. It was more of a long slow (sometimes several miles) uphill and not much downhill. St. Louis had some great spectators. There were tons of people watching throughout the course. Jake ran from the starting line and met me around mile 5 (he ran a more direct route- not the winding race course). I was ahead of my schedule at that point. He jogged alongside me (I really was walking fast!) for a little while before turning back so he could be at the finish line for me. Half and full marathoners shared the course until about mile 8 when the course split. At our mile 9, the marathoners re-joined, but running on the other side of the median. It was neat to see the really fast marathoners pass. I saw a couple women, including the female winner, I just didn't realize it at the time. My hip really didn't hurt during the race. Everything hurt by the last mile. I'd been doing the math all along to figure out what time I might be able to finish at. I knew I was ahead of my goal pace and I hadn't done any math below that sub-3 mark. I knew I was close to being under 2:45 but I just couldn't keep my pace up for the last 2 miles. I ran the last 20 or so yards to and across the finish line. It felt *SO* good! I thought I stopped my watch but apparently I didn't, so I had to wait until they posted official results to find out my time. I got my medal, picked up some water and snacks in the finisher's area, and went to get my beer. It was kind of nice to not feel like hell after a race. I enjoyed my beer and was starving- I usually don't feel like eating for hours after a race!

My official time was 2:46:02, making my average pace 12:40 (which is 4.73 mph if we're talking treadmill). That's actually my 2nd fastest half marathon (not huge given the fact that my last 2 were so awful), but my 2nd fastest nonetheless. And with a fracture in my pelvis... can't forget that.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Rock n Roll St. Louis Plan

I've had a good few days as far as hip pain. It hurts very little, if at all, during the day. At night, laying in bed, is when it bothers me the most. Work days are a little tough because I'm up and down so much, I guess. I'm optimistically thinking I can walk the half marathon and turn in a time not much slower than my past two half marathons in which I actually ran. It will depend on how comfortably I can walk. If I'm really hurting, I won't push to finish this race. It's obviously not the race I hoped it would be, but if I'm not hurting, I can't turn off my competitive drive. I still want to do my best.

"Goal" A: 2:59:59 (break 3 hours... *only* 1 hour slower than my original goal for this race)
pace 13:44
4.37 mph

"Goal" B: 3:02:22 (beat my slowest half marathon time- Hottest Half this past August)
pace 13:55
4.31 mph

"Goal" C: 3:14:59 (break 3:15, which really seems pretty do-able)
pace 14:53
4.03 mph

At least I won't need walk breaks, LOL. =)

I've started stalking the weather and thinking about what I'll wear on race day. It looks awfully perfect for a race. Old habits die hard. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The good: My hip isn't broken.
The bad: My superior pubic ramus is.
The ugly: I can't run for 6 pain-free (which ironically might be emotionally painful) weeks.

Things I am thankful for:

The stress fracture is NOT surgical and will not get worse and become surgical. My doctor told me that when I left his office last week, he felt like it was a stress fracture of the femoral head. That can be surgical. Like, pins and a rod down my femur, surgical. Thank God for that not being the case.

I am allowed to walk, swim, bike, use the elliptical trainer, strength train, and do yoga. I can do anything but high impact activity... like run.

My bone density and everything is fine. This is a stress fracture caused by running, although Jake has already joked once that he caused the fracture. =)

I can walk. I can walk 13.1 miles. The course limit for my half marathon in St. Louis is 4 hours. That's over an 18 minute mile. I will take my camera and take pictures along the course. I will make friends with the people around me on the course. I will wear my finisher's medal proudly. 

I'll have another x-ray in 5 weeks and if all goes well I can run Vegas.

I will take care of myself. It's much more important to me that I be able to run for as long as I want for the rest of my life than the next 5 weeks.

Friday, October 7, 2011

It's Been a Long Time

Blogging about running is all unicorns and rainbows when training/running is going well. I haven't seen a rainbow in a long time. I finished another half marathon on September 25th. It was grueling. I ran very little the couple of weeks before that race, trying to rest my left hip/leg. I felt good on race day, ran the first 2 miles with the sub-2 pacer, and then the pain in my hip started. I slowed my pace at first. When that didn't help, I took a very short walk break every half mile. By mile 6 or so, those walk breaks weren't very short anymore. By mile 9 I was walking my half marathon. The pain was excruciating and I wanted badly for somebody to ask me if I needed a ride back to the finish line. I might have accepted. I talked to friends as they passed me. I watched every pace group except the 3:00 pass by. I'd try to pick it up and run slowly, but it hurt so much. My overwhelming thought was that I had a stress fracture (I read too many blogs) and running was doing more damage. It wasn't worth it, and my time was already in the toilet, so I just walked. And walked. And walked. It takes a long time to walk that many miles. Jake ran the 10k (and PR'd!!!), so he was at the race. As my friends finished the half, they told him I was struggling. He ran back out on the course and walked the last mile in with me. I did suck it up and run across the finish line. It's incredibly frustrating that I ran my first half marathon so much better than the next two. Immediately after the race I went into work for an x-ray of my hip. No fractures showed up on the x-ray and the doctor diagnosed me with bursitis. I've been taking ibuprofen and using ice. The pain lessens but never goes away. I try to run, and it hurts again. It's kind of strange because I have pain in my groin when I'm running, but after I run it's the pain in the side of my hip that's really bad.

I've had this pain for about a month, so I made an ortho appointment. I saw the doctor yesterday and I really liked him and agreed with his treatment plan. I was so worried that a doctor would tell me to simply quit running- like it's just my cardio exercise of choice and I can just as easily hop on something with less impact like an elliptical machine. He's not a runner, but he's treated enough runners to understand us. :) He went through the basics like making sure I get fitted properly for shoes and replace them frequently enough. He examined my hip. He pressed on my left hip and I just about came unglued. OUCH! Apparently that's a raging case of bursitis. If that's my only problem, I'm supposed to take Advil 3 times a day, ice, and I can get a steroid shot in my hip the week before my half marathon in St. Louis. That feels so hardcore. Count me in. But... he's concerned that I have pain in the groin. That's where true hip joint pain is felt. Not good. So, I have an MRI at noon today to make sure I don't have a stress fracture. I'll go back to him on Tuesday to discuss results and settle on a treatment plan.