fitness

Dismal Swamp 5k (19:45)

Sometimes posts get lost in the mix.  During my wedding weekend I also ran an Inaugural 5k at the Dismal Swamp.  The 5k was a straight, out and back course.  Brittany, Heather and I ran the 5k while Laura cheered and ran 10 miles.  It was a lot of fun.  Given any other weekend this recap would have gotten precedence.

My girls

My girls

We got to the race with about half an hour to spare.  We all ran about 20 minutes together and by the time we finished it was time to race.

dismal swamp 5k 1

I was trying to motion #bumbutt but it looks like I just have a wedgie

 

The 5k started at 8:05, while the half marathon started 5 minutes before at 8am.  Once they were off they called us up.  Within a few minutes, we were off.  I was lucky to chat to Marie, a great friend of mine.

I immediately took off, not knowing what to expect. Since my hip is definitely not 100%, if anything hurt I would just stop.

The first mile felt like it took forever.  I went from 3rd woman to 1st by the end of the first mile and found myself alone with no men or women near.  I began passing half marathoners towards the end of the first mile.  At first I thought it was strange to have half marathoners go 5 mins in front of 5kers.  We would catch a lot and it would be crowded but I ended up liking it a lot.  I was able to see some of my local friends like Allie and Jenny!  I hit the first mile in 6:22.  I was excited because it gave me hope to run a sub 20 (which I have not been able to do lately at all).

The second mile was similar to the first.  I saw a lot of friends running the half.  I also saw Laura who was cheering loudly.  The lead cyclist made the u turn and headed back with the leader of the race.  The lead cyclist actually told me to get out of the way.  That irritated me a little bit because there weren’t a lot of places to go.  I wasn’t going to run into the half marathoners on the other side of the road and I wasn’t purposely in the leader’s way.  When I made the turn and headed back I side fived everyone including my dad and two brothers (both of whom were riding the pain train after going to T’s Bachelor party).   I hit the second mile in 6:22 too (hashtag twinning).

During the third mile I thought there was a chance to break 20 minutes.  My hip was a little bit sore but nothing crazy (I do believe if I raced a 10k, it would have been inhibiting).  I began trying to push but similar to most of my 5ks, that is next to impossible.  The last mile of a 5k is always painful whether I’m running a PR or PW.  I hit the third mile in 6:27 so I didn’t slow down too much.

All of a sudden I found myself approaching the finish line and they had a tape for me to break!  That doesn’t happen often so I was really excited.  I threw my hands up (like I think you are supposed to do) and went through.

dismal swamp win

Then to add more perfection to the day, Heather took second woman and Brittany took third.  We actually took a 1,2,3!  This race wasn’t close to a PR for anyone but it is a nice step towards running more short races.  I’m very happy I made the last minute decision to race and have no regrets.

dismal swamp 5k 2

My hip felt the same as if I had run easy so that was a bit of confidence too.  The weather conditions were perfect and the course was flat (probably the main reasons I had a solid race).  This race gave me a bit of confidence that I could begin racing 5ks again…anything more is going to currently bother my hip.  In summary it was a solid race for me and I have no complaints.  I am looking to race a lot more short races for a while.  My hip didn’t bother me during the 5k and I think it’s a logical step.

Questions for you:

What is your 5k strategy?

What was the last race you did with friends?

Where am I running to?

I’ve been talking about my injury and marathon recovery for the last four weeks…I guess I should I consolidate my thoughts and figure out what I’m doing with my running.  I don’t know where I want to take my running in the next month or even the rest of 2015.

Phoenix Marathon

It’s not a secret I’m getting married in a couple of weeks.  While I’m not stressed about it, I’m not planning to “train” for anything before then.  A two week training cycle makes no sense and I’m not going to stick to any set routine or plan before the wedding.  Why on Earth would I rush to train for a race before (or even just after) the wedding?  Plus duh, I’m still working on that small injury.

After the wedding I’ll be going on a honeymoon.  I won’t really be training for anything then either.  I won’t be training, blogging or doing a whole heck of a lot.  Yes I will still run and workout…but will it count?  Anything without internet proof never happened…

In reality, if I’m healthy I won’t begin any plan or routine until early May.  I don’t have an exact plan, routine or schedule since I have a lot going on in the next month,  There is a lot of uncertainty before May.  Will I be healthy?   I would like to think I’ll be healthy before the wedding but that would be a wedding miracle.

So hypothetically after getting back from my honeymoon, I would like to begin running shorter distances in May, June and July.  I haven’t run many 5ks for the last two years.  I had planned to run more last year but after a slight case of plantar fasciitis last summer,  I wasn’t running at all.

I would love to win another piece of log to decorate my house with.  That was my fastest 5k of the year...

I would love to win another piece of log to decorate my house with. That was my fastest 5k of the year…

I’ve been thinking a lot about my training lately.  What I’m doing is no longer working.  I’ve been been on/off injured the last year.

Is that from being inconsistent?

Is it from running high mileage and it wearing on my body? 

Is it from poor recovery or burning the candle on both ends with wedding planning, life, work and running? 

Is it from focusing on longer races versus shorter races?

I’ve always said races are my “speed work” but lately I haven’t been doing a lot of road races.  I went from running 2-3 each month in 2013, to running 1-2 longer races each month.  That is a drastic change.  I’m not sticking to the very core of my original training.

I guess I can say this about my training:

My major goal is to get healthy.  I’m not going to train for anything until I’m 100% healthy.  I would like to focus on shorter distances this summer and improve my turnover.  Perhaps next fall I’ll work on training for a half or even another full marathon.   The cliff notes version is:

1. Get married and get healthy (injury free).

2. Train for shorter races for a few months

3. Run longer races next fall

Questions for you:

How many races do you do each month?

What are your training plans for the spring and summer? 

 

More Recovery Update 3

It has been another week of recovering and running…

To update you I believe I’m slowly getting better from my issues.  This is from a number of factors including aggressively going to a chiropractor, stretching and getting deep tissues massages on my leg.  I’m not going to sit and let my muscles fester with injury.

I’ve been told “just resting” is not going to solely allow me to recover…so I’m not going to “just rest”.  I’m going to actively try and solve the problem. (ETA: I wasn’t told by someone I’m actually getting work done with, so I know they weren’t telling me to overdo deep tissue massages and chiro sessions to pay more…)

If you live in South Jersey and need a chiropractor or deep tissue masseuse, don’t hesitate to send me an email.  I can give you the information of the people I’ve been seeing.  Both are great and without them I would still be hobbling around.

A few updates since last week:

  • I think the slope road has been irritating my hip. I stopped running in that location.
  • I also think my running shoes wore quicker than normal. Both have been replaced and I’m currently running in the Saucony triumphs and the Asics Nimbus 17.  Both I like and both I’ll have reviews on when I have at least 100 miles of running in them.
  • My injury has left my adductor muscle and hamstring. It is now very localized in my hip as well as piriformis muscle.  I feel like it’s very sore at the attachment sites
  • I’ve gone to the chiropractor once since last week. I am really hoping the reason my piriformis is so sore is because she worked a little bit on that muscle.  Only time will tell!

Where is my running headed?

I have no goal races for a while.  With my wedding coming up in 3 weeks, my energy goes towards that.  It will make me a boring running blogger to follow but there are plenty of runners training for Boston if you are in need of a fix…

I’ll still be racing and participating in road races but I’m not actively training for anything.  I am not magically better but I am taking care of underlying issues.  Muscle injuries are the worst because you never know when they will get better.

Questions for you:

How was your week of training?

Have you ever gotten trigger point?  How sore were you afterwards?

Will Hall ever finish another successful marathon?

We might never know why Ryan Hall decided to drop out of the LA marathon.

ryan hall 2

Will he ever finish another marathon?

Will he ever come close to his American Record?

The last few years, Ryan has been under attack by almost everyone.  Since he performance of 2:04.58 in Boston, he has dropped out of several races, or finished disappointed.   He hasn’t had a great distance race (for him, it’s all relative) since his performance at Boston.

To preface this post, Ryan Hall is one of my favorite elite runners.  I also am not (or never will be) an athlete of that caliber.  I don’t rely on running as a source of income and I’m grateful for that.  It would be a very hard job, career and I applaud elite runners who make it work.

For the majority of racers, we don’t rely on running for paychecks.  If we have a bad race we complain for a while then move on.  We don’t worry our sponsors will drop us or that we will be on a strict budget (due to lack of income) for a while.  We have a bad race and move on.

Was it smart of him to drop out of this marathon?  Should he have just “gutted it out”?  Possibly finishing above 2:20 or even 2:30? 

Ryan Hall has dropped out of several marathons he started since Boston:

In 2012, he DNFed at the London Olympics.

In 2013, he ran no marathons.  He was scheduled to run both Boston and NYCM.

In 2014, he ran a 2:17 at Boston and placed 20th. 

In 2015, he DNFed the LA marathon.

For elite athlete distance runners, it is often smarter to withdraw from a race early.  This allows the body to recover faster and prepare for another marathon sooner.  When an elite athlete knows they are extremely off pace, they withdraw…recover and begin preparing for a race sooner.  I think this is wise and tactical.  Why finish a race they know is not going to get them where they need too? They can recover and live to race another day…sooner.

My question is Ryan has not done this.  He dropped out of one race and doesn’t start another.  He hasn’t saved himself for another great race because he hasn’t run another one. 

Ryan Hall, Meb Keflezighi

Another point to consider is that it was hot at the LA marathon.  When you prepare for a race, train well, appropriately taper and do everything right training wise…it stinks to have the weather not cooperate.  Am I saying this is the reason he dropped out?  No…lots of runners finished the race that day…including his wife.

In my nonelite opinion, Hall needs to take more time and get back to shorter distances. Like a newer runner just work on shorter races for a while before getting back into the marathon.

That being said I’m not elite, not a coach and haven’t had any marathon races I’m particularly proud of.  This is just my opinion…

Ryan Hall said “You can only have one best day of your life”…maybe he has peaked at Boston a few years ago and we are all having a hard time accepting this.

Question for you: What do you think about Hall?

My Start to Running.

Tomorrow is St. Patricks Day!

Since 2010 St. Patricks day has held a much more sentimental reason to me than drinking beer, wearing green and pots of gold.  Although if you would like to send me a pot of gold that is fine too!  Five years ago I ran a 5k in college that would change the path and direction of my life.

You can read my entire running story here or in the tab above.

When I was a college sophomore, I saw a sign at the gym stating if you completed the annual campus 5k you would get a free long sleeve t-shirt.  As a college student you can never have enough things to stuff in your dorm room.  My roommate appreciated my hoarding I guess.  I had plenty of short sleeve shirts but long sleeve shirts were something I was always looking for.  All I had to do was sign up for a 5k and complete it?

Okay sign me up.  Sign me up and I didn’t run an ounce beforehand.

Keep in mind my running history previous to March of 2010 was lackluster.  I failed the mile countless times in both middle and high school…or passed by a couple of seconds (passing was 12:30 and my mile PR was 12:12). Since 10th grade gym class I had avoided running like the plague.  The only two times I had run was to “impress” upper classman on the swim team.  It wasn’t impressive and I made a goober out of myself both times.

During the off season from swimming I went to the gym and used the elliptical or lifted weights.  It was nice to keep cardio and strength when I wasn’t swimming but I didn’t use running as cross training.  Long story short I had no idea what I was getting myself into but the phrase “if it’s free, it’s for me” comes to mind with this race.

merunning1

The race itself is pretty much a blur.  I don’t remember much other than I didn’t really hate it.

A photo of me at the same 5k the next year...

A photo of me at the same 5k the next year…

I finished the 5k is around 24 minutes.  I don’t remember the exact time but I remember not dying, texting my shocked dad that I had run a 5k and picking up my tshirt.  (of course I didn’t tell my parents I was running this 5k…I didn’t want them to ask if I didn’t finish…).  DadLOLZ had a marathon the next weekend and I didn’t want the embarrassment that his daughter couldn’t finish a 5k.

I wore that tshirt all around the following day.  I was going to wear my badge of honor.

After the race, it wasn’t as if I magically became engrossed in running.  I did realize it wasn’t all that bad and ran occasionally when it was nice out.  I ran 10-20 miles a week off and on for the rest of the spring.  When it was sunny I would run the same 5k loop around campus.  When it wasn’t nice out, I wouldn’t run.  I would just go to the gym.

I mark St. Patrick’s Day as the official day I got my running start because after that point I considered myself someone who didn’t hate running anymore.  When you fail the mile test multiple times in grade school, it’s hard to like it.

I began to consider myself a runner:

I didn’t run everyday.

I didn’t run fast.

I didn’t log my mileage.

I didn’t run when it was cold, windy or not perfect weather.

I had no desires to run with anyone or at a certain time…

I didn’t run anymore races until July.

But I ran…and when I did I enjoyed it. 

Questions for you:

When did you get your (workout) start?

What are you up to this St. Patrick’s Day?

A Pain in the Butt

pain in the butt

This week I’ve seen much better improvements with my butt, hips, hamstring and everything else but instead of listing every muscle group I’ll just refer to my leg.  Instead of being stubborn I went to get some to look at it.  It turns, it was nothing that I had originally thought.  While I’m not better, I do have a formal answer.  I used fancy paint and filled in (yellow and blue) the parts of this diagram that are the problems.  (I drew in the blue for the piriformis muscle since it was wasn’t there).

hollie injured chart

In Cliff notes: My piraformis had a few adhesions which caused my adductor muscles to become strained.  Along with that my psoas muscle was extremely tight.  The chiropractor said she hadn’t seen one that tight ever.  (I guess that explains why I couldn’t walk).  Both the psoas and the piriformis being so tight  caused my hips to be knocked out of alignment.

The Longer Version: 

The most important is that I have an answer to why I’m in pain.  I’m glad I got it looked at because I would have continued to think it was my hamstring. Most runners who strain their adductor muscle do so by going to the track and starting speed work. I didn’t do either of these things.

I do have a sneaking suspicion that I might have strained it about 4 weeks ago when I did the Feel the Love 5k.  I distinctly remember that race having a lot of turns (like a track). Since I began tapering the day after, I didn’t feel the effect as if I was running high mileage.  It had began to heal but when I ran the marathon, it obviously restrained and made it much worse (enough that it was hurt when I finished).  There is nothing I can do about it now but hopefully promote healing.

The next issue is my psoas muscle. The psoas muscle is tight and knotted.  This is where the root of my problems stem with my hip.  Someone told me that you don’t know you have a psoas muscle until it begins to hurt.  I think this is 100% true and it took me from running normally to wishing I could lay down. The muscle is so deep the only way to address the tightness is through ART, trigger point or dry needling. It appears as if this has been tight for a while now.  That could be from improper stretching of the hip flexors and psoas. During the marathon I pushed through a threshold and the muscle became too tight to stabilize my pelvis which is why my hips became tight.

But wait…there’s more!

Since my psoas muscle was so tight, it pulled my hip forward. My pelvis, sacrum and hips are noticeably crooked (to the chiro…I look fine In my opinion). That’s a matter of the chiro realigning them and loosening up my psoas. If my psoas is still tight, my hips will just return to be crooked.  That was the easiest part and I feel a lot better (not 100% but noticeably better).

Finally (the injury gift that keeps giving):
My piriformis (butt muscle) has multiple adhesions which is causing everything to also tighten up.

Long story short, half of my butt, hip and upper leg muscles are tight causing my pelvis to tilt forward. It doesn’t sound like it was caused by the marathon but has been building for a long time. The marathon caused it all to manifest into an injury.

The problem with most of these issues is that they will not get better with just resting. There are a lot of tight muscles, knots and adhesions that have to be taken care of. Rest (as my chiro put it) will just allow my muscles to fester but not solve the problem. They won’t feel better until the problems are solved.

Since we talked on Tuesday I have gotten a few more things done as far as recovery goes:

  • Deep Tissue Massage (this is number 2)
  • Stretching my adductor muscles 2-3 times a day as well as foam rolling that targeted area.

How did this happen?

Honestly I don’t exactly know.   I didn’t up my mileage quickly and I stretched, foam rolled and rested when appropriate.  I think it was a combination of running the Feel the Love 5k during a high mileage week as well as running a lot of the same routes which caused me to favor my hip.  I didn’t realize it was bad (because I wasn’t in pain) until I reached a threshold of no return.

Running Plans:

I gave myself two weeks before attempting a run.  I’ve run twice now and both runs have felt decent.  I am still sore but I also haven’t run in two weeks.  I know the deep tissue massage and chiro appointments have been working because I’m beginning to feel half way decent again.  I still have quite a few knots to get worked out but I am beginning to loosen up.

All of this rambling makes my issues sound a lot more severe than they are.  I can walk normally and it’s not hindering my day to day life.  I slowly run but the thought of running fast right now does not sound pleasant.

Questions for you:

Have you ever dealt with any of these issues?

How was your weekend? 

Phoenix Full Marathon (3:14.59)

I don’t know how to start this post.  I ran a marathon, I PR’ed and won my age group. 

I should be pleased (I am).  I do know, however, my fitness was a little bit faster than this race showed.  I also know that I finished this race not healthy.  Not a full blown injury but I did have a major issue in my hips and hamstring that lead to a painful finish.

There are a couple of factors that played a part in the “bitter aftertaste” with this race.

  1. My travel the Thursday night before. It left me not fueling accordingly, up for 22 hours and traveling for 14.  I didn’t know traveling made you sore….but it does.
  2. My hamstring became very aggravated around mile 21…not tired but it was in pain. My pace slowed because my stride shortened (not because I was experiencing the “bonk” like last marathon). While it’s tough to say, I lost around 5 minutes of time because my hamstring and hip were in pain.

Enough whining because despite finishing in pain, I did have a 2 minute PR.  I’m truly grateful for a PR but I would have liked to have shown a slightly faster time.

Incase you don’t want to read 1000 words here are cliff notes or a screenshot of my splits:

finish time hollie phoenix

The recap: 

I woke up at 4 am and made it to the bus drop off right on time.  Tim drove me to the start.  I chatted with people on the bus and got to the race start successfully.  The Phoenix marathon had fireworks at the beginning which was unique. With the exception of long bathroom lines, there was nothing stressful before the race. Sacrifices had to be made and I delayered my pink Avalanche jacket, never to be seen again.  I threw it to the side of the road and bid it farewell (I have too many jackets anyways and I paid 5 dollars for that thing…it lasted 3 years).

Before I knew it the race was off.  Unlike my first marathon, my Garmin actually worked. I made the decision to start with the 3:15 pacer.  My original goal was to stay with the 3:10 pacer but after everything happened, I knew it was best to start less aggressive.  I did not want to have an unenjoyable second half of the race (but I still did).

During the first mile, my shoe came untied.  So I stopped and tied it…Spending an extra 10 seconds tying my shoe was not the end of the world (or any world).  My first mile was 7:17.  I chatted with a few guys training for Boston.

Phoenix Marathon

During miles 2-3, were pretty boring.  I enjoyed talking with the pacer and a few athletes around me.  One thing I enjoy about marathons is the amount of talking people do!  (6:50, 6:55).

During mile 4, I went to get water and just kind of left the pacer. I didn’t mean to but I sped up and then proceeded to go forward.  Despite my finish time, I never saw the pace group again.

I took my first gel at mile 5.  I didn’t feel like I needed it but the (fueling) plan called for 4 gels and I’m a follower.  I ran with a few other runners and we formed a nice pack. We talked for a few miles and by the time I knew it, we were at mile 8.  My legs were feeling good and as a whole my body felt good too.  Each mile between 5-13 ranged from 6:50-7:00. I ran the only uphill mile of the race in 7:44.  I wasn’t too upset and I actually passed a lot of people during that mile.

635610868350750942

During miles 7-10, I found myself running with a really nice man from Colorado.  He had run multiple 100 milers and wanted to run one more marathon.  We had about the same goals in mind.

I took my next gel at 10.5 and started to focus on the half way point.  I hit the half marathon at 1:34.  This was about where I hit the half in NYCM.  My goal originally was to hit around 1:35 so I was on pace with my original goal.  I didn’t feel tired, my hamstring felt okay and I actually felt really good.  I counted my eggs early and thought I might be able to achieve a 3:10.

Everything after the half point increasingly got worse (I think that means I’m doing marathons right?). Miles 14-16 were extremely windy.  With NYCM, my most memorable mile (in a bad way) was mile 15.  It was exhausting mile up the bridge and I felt sore and tired.  For Phoenix, I was worried about this mile too.  During the Phoenix marathon, miles 14, 15 and 16 were all extremely windy and boring.  I had a no mans land clearing of 10 feet in front and behind.  They were mentally challenging miles and once again, I think those miles were the most mentally draining. I took my next gel around mile 16.  I had planned on mile 15 but I wanted to take it with water.

At mile 17, I saw Adam.  I mumbled something (who knows what?) and high fived him.  I grabbed water.   My hamstring began to feel tight but I choked it up to…oh I’m running a marathon, things should not feel good. I didn’t think the pain would progress like it did.

Waving

By mile 18, my hamstring hurt.  It hurt a lot. I almost stopped and stretched but I knew if I stopped, I would not start again.  The issue was annoying from mile 18-20 but it wasn’t painful.  I hit mile 20 and was overwhelmed that I still had 6.2 miles to go.  Not because I was tired but because my hamstring and hip hurt.

I really thought about dropping out due to the pain escalating.  Did I want to stop at mile 20? Doesn’t everyone ask that? I knew physically I had the energy to get through the last 10k but my hip/hamstring was hurting. It was quickly becoming more of a worry. I began to analyze my situation and figure out what felt the best. I realized turns made the pain worse as did a longer stride.  I shortened my stride and proceeded on.  I wanted to accomplish marathon number 2, PR or not.

I hit 21 and took my gel.  5 miles to go (7:59).  At this point I began calculating how much time I had left to the minute.  45 minutes, 44, 42…

Despite having 5 miles to go, I began to focus on the finish.  I thought to myself “no one drops out of a marathon at mile 21″.  That is inaccurate but it motivated me. My hamstring and hip pain was very much there.  It wasn’t altering my stride but it was a very noticeable pain.  If I had felt a pop, tear or anything alter I would have stopped. A 2 month injury recovery was not worth it to me.  The moment I felt I had to alter my stride I would have stopped.

When I hit mile 22, I blindly assumed just half an hour left.  Somehow dividing the race into half an hour then 2X15 minutes made me feel a little bit better.  My pace was slowing and my hamstring was getting progressively worse.  I decided that I might end up walking the race if needed.  I also knew if I stopped running I would not begin running again (8:04).

During Miles 23-25, I just focused on getting to the end.  We had a brief tail wind during mile 24-25.  I remember silently cheering to myself because at that point my hip and I needed all the help we could get.  I stared at the people running in front of me and noticed they were not getting further away and I was not gaining on them.  We were going the same pace and that made me feel better.  I passed several half marathoners who were walking.  I wanted to say “please walk single file and not 5 across” but decided it was too much energy.

The last mile was a blur.  For mile 26 was just focused on “less than 10 minutes to go”.  I repeated that to myself several times.  I was so mentally checked into finishing the race I was oblivious to anything and everything around me.

Thoughts during mile 26:

Who are these people?  Where is the finish line?  Which way to go?  So close, so close so close…OMG…no there is that .2…now so close.  Here I go..they are announcing my name.  Don’t cry, finish like a woman.  They are taking your photo.  Raise your arms, do something…why aren’t you race photo ready…you had 3 hours to think of a good  finish pose…omg just cross this damn line.

Seriously what am I supposed to do?

I’ll settle for bird pose I guess…I mean a Phoenix is a bird right (Absolutely no thought went into that. but I’ll let you think it was planned)

I crossed the finish line in 3:14.59.

Yes it’s a PR but not a PR I’m satisfied with because I spent the last 5 miles dealing with an issue (hopefully not to turn injury).  After crossing the finish line I found my friends and Tim then sat around.  I do remember repeatedly saying (being very dehydrated) that I must find my checked bag so I can get my pants.

Phoenix marathon finish

The awards ceremony was at 11 so we waited around until then.  I was second in my age group and 21st woman overall.  Since one of the top 3 women was in my age category, she was pulled out.  Therefore I was bumped to first.

Climbing the podium

Climbing the podium

Phoenix marathon

To summarize, it’s hard to complain about a PR.  I’m happy that I’m over my stress fracture hump, but I think I was in better shape than a 3:15.  I didn’t slow down because I was tired, I slowed down because I was in pain.  So far I’ve gotten another deep tissue massage and I’m resting accordingly.  I’m happy with a PR but I am leaving with a little bit of a sour taste in my mouth.  I’m not entirely sure I enjoy the marathon distance yet but I’m sure I’ll try again at some point.

I’ll write a few more posts discussing final thoughts, fueling thoughts and a comparison of both marathons.  As always thank you everyone for your support.  The love I received race day was overwhelming.

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