Lessons from the Boston Marathon

Photo credit: Charles Krupa/Associated Press

This week was the 122nd running of the Boston Marathon.  And though the weather was miserable, the race was awesome to witness.

I will likely never run the Boston Marathon.  I’m a retired marathoner, and would have to be in my 80’s to even be able to consider making the qualification times (I actually didn’t look up the 80-year-old female qualifying times, so they might still be out of reach, but let me pretend, okay?)  None of that means that I don’t still find it amazing.

This race was cold, wet, and apparently even involved some snow.  And still, so many runners went out and made the most of the day.  They worked so hard to get there, and most of them weren’t going to let a little weather get them down.  I’ve seen so many awesome pictures from before and after the race.  Everyone looks so cold, but so happy to be there.

The stories of the winners of the race are also pretty incredible.  Desi Linden finally, finally won Boston.  She is the example of someone who just keeps going, dealing with injury, less than ideal finishes, and she certainly wasn’t expected to win Boston.  In fact, she said that she considered dropping out, so she decided to just help the other US women hold their spots.  And then found herself in the lead.  Even though she felt miserable, she pushed through.

Sarah Sellers, the second place female, was also not expected to finish as well as she did.  She isn’t a pro – she’s a full time nurse.  She trained while also working 10 hour shifts.  (She’s not a nobody, of course. She has won a marathon and is working towards qualifying for the Olympics, though I saw one report that said this was only her second marathon ever.)  But she too battled the weather, didn’t give up, and found herself on the podium.

The men’s winner, Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi, also isn’t a full-time runner.  He’s a high school administrator.  He’s having a great year, having run and won four marathons so far this year.  He was also not expected to win, but benefited from his cold weather experience and won his first running of the Boston Marathon.

To me the lessons here are clear.  Put in the work and don’t give up.  Every day won’t be your day, but that doesn’t mean you should quit.  Sometimes you will meet your goals, and sometimes you won’t, but there’s always a next time.  Every race might not feel amazing, and you might be miserable, but sometimes pushing through and focusing on the effort will make all the difference.  And never stop dreaming.

Labral Tear Update

So I’m still dealing with this labral tear, and it’s definitely slow going.  Though let’s be honest, when is the last time that healing anything wasn’t slow going?  (Not that the tear itself can be healed, but there are things I can do to reduce pain and prevent issues.)

Let’s look back at where I’ve been –

Mid-November – I go on a six mile taper run and have a bunch of weird pain in my left quad and end up walking most of it.  I shrug it off.

Late November – Space Coast!  I run with Kim and we have a blast until I tweak my right soleus (likely due to a tight piriformis combined with some wicked camber on the course) at mile 12.

Mid-December – I do a 3 mile run, no real issues til the end when my soleus starts to hurt.  Guess that’s not quite healed.

Late December – For the rest of the month, when I try to run, my quad almost immediately starts to hurt.  It is not awesome.  It is super inflamed and painful.  The pain is along the top of my quad and down the outer side. So I stop running.  Only biking and swimming

Early January – Cheer at WDW Marathon.  No running, but tons and tons of walking, and zero issues.

January 16 – Appointment with regenerative orthopedist.  He talks very fast, and while very nice, does not leave me feeling great about the appointment.  He orders an x-ray and an MRI, says it’s probably a labral tear or maybe a stress fracture, but that I can still run (not the best plan, if it’s a stress fracture).  Throws a whole lot of information at me about regenerative therapies and injections, and tells me to come back in a month.

January 17 – I decide to try to get in with another orthopedist, one who does more traditional therapies.  Get an appointment for the following week.

January 19 – X-Ray and MRI.  MRIs remain un-fun for someone who is claustrophobic, but I survive.

January 23 – Appointment with the new orthopedist.  I immediately like him better.  He looks at my scans and the reports, and there is very clearly a labral tear (and no stress fracture) in my left hip.  He gives me a ten day course of prednisone, tells me to wear supportive shoes, prescribes PT, and tells me to come back in three weeks, and that I can try running in two weeks.  So off I go with my happy new plan.

February 6 – I run one mile.  It hurts.

February 8 – I attempt to run another mile, realize that it hurts right away and that this is stupid.  My PT was surprised that the doctor wanted me to try running so soon, and she was right.  I wasn’t ready.

February 13 – I return to the orthopedist for my followup.  He seems surprised I’m not 100% better.  He asks if I want to talk to a surgeon.  I tell him that I’m not ready for that option.  He recommends I consider a cortisone injection, and I take the information.  He basically says that none of these are requirements and I’m not causing harm by continuing to just do PT and waiting to see how things go.

Surgery is definitely not in my plans.  The recovery time is a full 6 months, and it’s not a guaranteed fix.  Additionally, were I to consider surgery, it wouldn’t be until the fall.  We’re doing a Northern European cruise in August, and it’s been planned for years.  I refuse to be hobbling around and dealing with recovery while sight-seeing.

I’m reluctant to try the cortisone right now as well.  I’ve done quite a bit of research and it can have a catabolic effect.  Now, if I were in pain during my normal day-to-day activities, I would absolutely be considering it.  But it also isn’t a permanent fix, and if the biggest issue is that I can’t run, I’m not sure it’s worth it right now.

For now, my plan is to continue with PT.  While my exercises are getting easier, they are far from easy.  I have a lot of strengthening work to do.  I’m certainly hoping to be able to get back to running, but I’m definitely taking the conservative approach right now.  It’s incredibly frustrating, but I’d rather be cautious than jump into bigger treatments that don’t work.

If, after some time has passed, I’m still finding that things aren’t improving (I think they are, it’s just hard to tell), I may consider going back to the regenerative ortho.  Patience is going to be the name of the game here.  Slow and steady.

There is no magical cure

Prawny / Pixabay

So Tuesday was my glorious return to running.

It was not glorious.  At all.

I ran one whole mile.  Well, ran/walked.

It was very slow.

And it hurt.

I think I got a little cocky after my required rest.  Also the prednisone I was on.  It significantly reduced all the inflammation in my leg muscles and suddenly nothing hurt.  It was awesome.

Well, I tapered off of that a few days back, so now some of the inflammation is rearing its ugly head.  And obviously, two weeks of physical therapy isn’t enough to completely rebuild the muscles needed to support the tear in my hip.

The good thing that the pain wasn’t at the point of the tear itself.  It was in the muscles opposite it.  When I run, my leg also seems to naturally want to move at an angle instead of straight.  I can keep it straight, but have to consciously work to keep it there.  I talked to my PT about it, and she agreed that’s an easy fix.  And by easy, I mean a lot of quality PT work, both in the office and at home.  But nothing complicated or particularly hard to do.

This weekend is the first race that I’ve had to officially DNS due to this injury.  I’m definitely disappointed to not be running Donna this year, as it’s always a great race.  This may not be the only race I DNS this year, and that’s definitely a bummer, but I’m much more committed to racing healthy and pain free than I am to actually completing a race.  Right now, biking and swimming are painless (well, free from the bad pain anyway), so worst case, I can do some aquabike races this year.  However, it’s only February, so we’ll see what the next few weeks hold.  Not committing to anything just yet.

 

Turkey Trot

I have to admit, it’s been years since I’ve run a Turkey Trot.  Why? Mostly because I’m in taper for Space Coast.  Also, I have to admit, a big part of it is the unpredictable weather in November.  So I’m not surprised by the data below indicating that most Turkey Trots are happening in relatively warm states.

Do you run a Turkey Trot?  Maybe I should sign up for one next year.

 

 

 

 

Data powered by Athlinks. Visit Athlinks.com to claim your Turkey Trot results and you could win a free 2018 race entry!

Oh, how out of shape I’ve gotten

(A post from 11/5 that got caught in my pending files.  Whoops.  Still counts.)

This weekend, I had a 12 mile run on my training schedule.  Just 12 miles.  No big deal, right?

Wrong.

Seriously, I was not this sore after my last half marathon.  Where I set a PR.

What this tells me is that I’m terribly out of running shape.  Okay, so I did run 12 miles, and the pace wasn’t that bad.  Actually, if I look at the McMillan calculator, my pace was within the recommended training pace if my goal is to race near my PR again.  So maybe it’s not that bad.

But given how I hurt, I can tell that my form was off.  My ribs are sore today, and I think that’s due to poor form (though I’m going to check this with my PT this week).  My glutes are sore.  My quads are sore.  My hip flexors feel good, so I guess the PT is working.

The thing is, I like being sore after a good race, but after a long training run?  I’m out of shape.  And guess what?  I have another 12 mile run next weekend!  Hooray!

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

(And yes, this is a drive by post to get in my NaBloPoMo post.)