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).
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.
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?
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.
- 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.
- 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cliff notes version: I PR’ed and was first in my age group.
The longer but not too long version:
The first half of the race felt great. I ran the first 13.1 in 1:34.
For the last two weeks, I have been dealing with a hamstring soreness/tightness that manifested itself in this race around mile 18. From mile 21-26.2 I felt my hamstring and hip during each and every stride. It was the hardest section of running I’ve done in a while. I fought through (and believe me if I felt anything rip, tear, pop or do something to change my gait I would have stopped). My hamstring caused my stride to shorten and for it to be a miserable last 7 miles.
I’m in a decent amount of pain (not soreness but pain) post race. It’s not sharp but it does feel strained.
I also dealt with 14 hours of traveling and being up for 22 hours on Thursday to Friday. I could feel exhaustion kick in.
I had already planned to rest several days before returning to running but I’m resting until I can figure out what is going on. I’ll be back at you for a much longer blog post sometime soon.
It was a great PR and a good race for me. I know I still have not conquered the marathon distance by any means. I did learn that my fueling was perfect though for this race and I believe that was a huge lesson. The other important thing about typing up this race recap is that I’ve finally learned how to spell “Phoenix”…instead of Pheonix…
For the LOLZ:
Thank you for all the love and support from family and friends. It truly means the world to me.
One of the major reasons I posted so extensively about my first marathon training cycle was so I could eventually go back and reread those posts. I could reread posts and see what worked and what did not work (the internet never forgets). Sure, I could have written in a diary instead but with blogging, I also received a lot of feedback that helped shape my marathon planning for the Phoenix marathon.
Since the New York City Marathon was 18 months ago it’s hard for me to recall exactly what worked and didn’t.
In 2013, I found nutrition to be one of the key factors I flopped during the marathon.
I categorize the changes I needed to make into two main topics (The week before and actual racing nutrition)
The plan for the week before the marathon:
Here is what I did for my first marathon: Carb Depletion Post
Long story short: I think I overdid the carbohydrates. In 2013, I depleted my glycogen stores a few days before and then ate carbs to “top them off” until the marathon. It wasn’t that I went crazy with carbs but my body wasn’t used to that situation. In hindsight, I broke a golden rule of changing something before a race. I think it changed my digestive system.
I understand this method works for some people but I do not think it was the best thing for me. I hadn’t practiced it very well and I don’t think I got the the benefits that were intended.
For this marathon I have continued to eat more normal. I haven’t changed a lot and I haven’t depleted my carbohydrates. Throughout this training cycle, I ate better all around. I ate less fried food as well as less junk food. I didn’t do it to lose weight (I haven’t), I did it because I felt better. My eating is nothing strict or crazy (I did a post about here) but I think I will eat closer to my normal intake. I will do some minor tweaking by adding more carbohydrates towards the end of the week. I’m not going to go for another carb depletion then overload. Instead of eating only carbohydrates the last few days I am going to up my carb intake but still stay more similar to my normal diet and routine.
The race is on Saturday. On Thursday and Friday I will eat more bland, easily digestible food. This will be more difficult since I will be traveling but it will involve planning (and we all know I’m not a planner).
Race Day Nutrition:
For my previous race, I was up 7 hours beforehand and I know I didn’t take in enough calories. I had to wake up at 3:30 am to make the logistics of the race. On a normal day that would be like running a marathon at 1pm. On a normal day at 1pm, I’ve already had 1200 calories, if not more. I only had about 800 calories before the marathon. In hindsight that was a huge mistake.
Phoenix is different because I’ll be able to race about 2 hours after waking up. This is my normal running schedule and it makes it much easier for me. I’m a morning runner and I like to eat about 2 hours before I run. So this race time works out exactly how my training runs normally do.
Race nutrition will be the easier of the two sides to attack. I can eat a normal breakfast and then fuel accordingly with gels.
Breakfast 2 hours before (500 calorie waffle with peanut butter…this is what I eat before most races)
4 Cliff Gels (every 45 mins)
My favorite gels right now are the cliff chocolate cherry. I don’t have a sensitive stomach and have never had issues with gels (unless I mix gel and gatorade). This race I’ll be more fueled prior to the race and take one more gel.
Hopefully this is a better plan of attack for the marathon. Since it is my second marathon I am still very much in the experimenting phrase.
Questions for you:
What do you do for marathon nutrition?
What is your favorite prerace meal?
Do you have a sensitive stomach?
There is less than a week until my second marathon.
To be honest, this race has snuck right up on me. It feels like yesterday when I began debating if I wanted to make this my goal race (in reality that was 4 months ago). Now it’s less than a week away! It’s hard to believe that six months ago I was dealing with a stress fracture.
As I limped into work August 22, I knew my fall racing and marathon schedule were out the door.
Was I done running forever?
No, of course not…but I was done running for at least 2 months. I rested and recovered the entire two months. It was an injury and time that I felt no need to strenuously cross train through. I didn’t want too and I didn’t crave workouts…Looking back I was extremely burnt out and needed the rest. I didn’t feel pressure to cross train because I wasn’t training for anything.
After completely recovering, I took two months to build up some mileage (smartly). It was then (3 months ago), I decided maybe I could run another marathon (Why I chose the Phoenix Full). So here I am now less than a week before the race. I’m still in denial it is coming up so soon. With my previous marathon, it felt like months of preparation and weeks of build up. With Phoenix it feels like…surprise…time to go to this race (although I’ve talked about it a lot).
In less than a week, I toe the line (and bum the line in runderwear) at my first goal race of 2015.
With any race, people ask goals and racing strategy. The answer is I honestly don’t know.
I do know for the Phoenix marathon I want to finish healthy and strong. I have only raced one full marathon and it was 18 months ago. I don’t remember what racing that distance is like. Sure in the last 18 months, I’ve run close to 10 different 20 milers but 20 miles and 26.2 miles aren’t the same. I would know as I rode the pain train at New York. I might dry heave and collapse after mile 20.
The internet never forgets.
Mile 22: Get me out of this place.
My primary goal for any race, especially a marathon is to finish healthy. It always has been my first goal and it always will be. If I can start and finish a race healthy than I consider it a success.
My B goal is to finish under 3:20. A 3:20 puts me around my PR of 3:17. I’m going into Phoenix much less trained. While the course, the race and logistics are different, it doesn’t make up for less training. I wouldn’t have trained any harder or any more and I am running this racing coming from an injury. A big positive is, I won’t have to be up 7 hours before the race. I also won’t have to travel into a large overwhelming city. I will be at peace in the morning and be able to relax.
With any goal race, a PR is always the reach and major goal. I do think it’s a huge reach goal for this time but I’ve remained pretty healthy post stress fracture so I don’t think it’s out of reason. I’ve been smart with my training and rested when I needed too.
In summary, I would like to continue to get comfortable with the full marathon distance. My main goal is to enjoy myself and finish injury free. Any time you can finish a race healthy whether it’s a 55 sprint to a marathon is a good day. I want running to be life long and once race (good or bad) will never define my running.
On any note, I’m coming for you Phoenix with runderwear and racing flats.
If you get the song reference then you win the prize of the day…
With training at high intensity and mileage, there comes a point (and need) to taper and run less. Whether you are tapering for a race or just cutting your mileage, it’s a necessary part of training to stay injury free. Tapering is a topic that many runners struggle with. The goal for taper isn’t to make you go crazy…it’s to rest your body from mileage you have put in during the training cycle.
Tapering can be one of the most important aspects of your training.
Now that you are running less…what do you do with this new found extra time?
To be honest I don’t know what advice to give. I find myself wasting my normal running time on the internet (Honesty is the best policy right?). I’m not even good at sleeping in like most tapering articles recommend.
I don’t have advice about how to deal with “taper crazies” because honestly tapering is a part of racing. If you want to run well at a goal race, tapering is a necessary part of the process. Similar to advice on how to run on the treadmill (you just do it), my advice for cutting mileage is: you just do it.
In my experience there are a few things that can pass the 1-2 hours of extra time you somehow have for a few weeks:
- Blog more frequently! Instead of posting once a day, up your game to 2-3 daily posts. I can even edit my posts for grammar and spelling mistakes! #somuchfreetime
- Go out to eat with friends. Now that you are running less, you have more time to go out to restaurants and eat.
All joking aside, I’ve been asked about my tapering plan for Phoenix. This is my second marathon and I am still trying to figure out what works for me.
For NYCM, I peaked at a 100 mile week. For about 4 weeks, I slowly tapered down to 80, 65, 50 and then 30 miles. During that time I also moved 2000 miles which made it easier to run less. I found my legs felt good during the race. I don’t think it was a bad taper at all. That isn’t the taper I will be doing this year though.
This tapering and training is different for many reasons.
- I’m coming off an injury. While my stress fracture was 6 months ago (WOW 6 months), I am still coming off an injury. My highest mileage week was 73 (last week). I had many quality runs but my peak mileage was 30 miles less than last time.
- I completed my last long run 17 days before the race. With NYCM, I ran my last long run a full 3 weeks before the race.
- I’m not driving 2000 miles and moving during taper. I think this is self-explanatory.
My tapering for Phoenix will be reasonable. I plan to cut down my mileage down to 40-50 miles this week and then 30 next week. When I did a mini taper for my 10 mile race in January, I ran a very solid and motivating time of 1:07. I think I will use a similar (but more tapered) version of that for my marathon.
- This week I plan to take 2 rest days and next week I will take 3 complete rest days. For me personally, if I take more rest days my legs will feel stiff.
- I’ll also be getting a deep tissue massage this week.
I’m not an expert on running, marathon training or tapering. Tapering is personal and you must figure out what works the best for you. During the next two weeks I’ll focus on posting about little things I’m doing to work towards my goal race such as perfecting nutrition and tapering (including articles I’ve found helpful and interesting).
Here are some more qualified opinions and articles about tapering though:
Also Amanda just wrote a post about tapering for her marathon the same weekend. A great read!
Questions for you:
How do you taper? What do you spend your time doing?
January was a great month of training for me. As I enter February, I am feeling more confident with my training and for my marathon.
My primary goals for December and January were building base and mileage. I built some strong mileage and maintained staying healthy and injury free (knock on wood). I’m building up mileage for the Phoenix marathon at the end of the month.
Total miles: 265 miles:
Range of Paces: 6:09-10:15-untimed
Shortest run: 1.23 mile warm up
Longest run: 21.17 mile long run
December 31st: Beat the Ball 5k (19:50) This seems like forever ago!
January 1st: Hair of the Dog 5k (19:59)
January 10th: Icicle 10 miler (1:07.35 6:40 pace)
Favorite race: It was definitely the Icicle 10 miler. I felt so strong and I feel like I could have finished a half marathon at that pace. It was a challenging course and it was motivating to see my hard work paying off. In fact the Icicle ten miler was my favorite race since May. It gave me a lot of motivation for where my fitness level is.
Favorite training run: My 21 miler last week. It was my first test of long run speed and I finished feeling satisfied. I ran the first half easy and the second ranging from a 7:30-7:45 pace.
From a whole picture this month could not have gone any better. Each month brings small challenges but I had no major issues. I increased mileage and felt strong throughout the month. It’s nice to start my 2015 injury free and strong.
Injury wise: To answer questions about my metatarsal, I haven’t felt pain or any issue since beginning to ramp up mileage again. My recovery process last fall was a lot slower then I would have liked but it allowed me to be healthy now. I haven’t been having aches and pains with my foot at all (knock on wood).
Next month goals:
February will be different for training. I will spend the first two weeks training and the second two weeks tapering for the Phoenix Marathon (Reasons I chose Phoenix). I’m becoming more excited to race and to be strong.
To be honest, last fall I did not have the same excitement for the Wineglass marathon. For the Phoenix marathon, I’m excited to race. I don’t have a time goal but I do want to finish my marathon injury free and strong. Judging from my training, I stand a chance of running a similar time to my marathon PR (3:17).
I’ve only run one marathon and I already realized its a tricky race to train for and run. Anything can happen during the race but as long as I finish injury free, I’ll be happy.
Questions for you:
How as your first month of 2015?
What is the next race on your schedule?