me running
Running, Training, Training Sub 1:25

Sub 1:25 Files: Back at Square One

Training Log Week 4:

Any runner can tell you coming off an issue or injury is tough. I thought I was in the clear and until right after the four-miler I did, I was 100% pain-free.

Continue reading “Sub 1:25 Files: Back at Square One”

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me running winning 18.12 challenge
Running, Running Reads, Training, Training Sub 1:25

I Got Hurt Running in the Next%

This post is a lot of thinking out loud, rambling, and just sharing my thoughts and experiences. Be Warned. 🙂

I’ve run marathons in questionable shoes. I raced my first marathon in the Nike Waffle. A spikeless version of my cross country spikes. Why? I didn’t know much better. I didn’t get hurt. I probably should have had an issue, but I didn’t.

Several years ago, I raced half marathons in extremely lightweight racing shoes. I loved them.  They weren’t designed to run more than a 5k, but I liked them, they worked, and I ran well.  In fact, I PRed in everything. Could I possibly be more suited to the minimalist running shoes and never know it? Maybe.

me running winning 18.12 challenge

Which leads me here: How on earth did I get injured running in the Next%? Is it the Next%? Am I the only one?

In the last two years, I’ve run, but I haven’t been all in to the sport. The good thing about that is you don’t risk a lot, so you don’t suffer the injury consequences.

I was selected to run the Big Cottonwood Marathon. Throughout the summer, I strung some decent weeks together, and it was enough that I was confident I would be able to run down a mountain without injuring myself. My training cycle wasn’t great, but it was good for where I was in life. I was proud of it. About two weeks before the race, I ran the 18.12 challenge in the Nike Next%.

I won. I ran faster than I thought I had in me. I shocked myself and I felt confident I could run well at Big Cottonwood Marathon. I had run other races in the Next% but nothing above 10 miles and nothing that fast.

Two days later, I found myself with excruciating pain in my hamstring. I had no clue where it came from. It just hurt. I couldn’t sit still. I couldn’t walk, and I couldn’t run. So I DNSed and I was bummed. I had skin in the Big Cottonwood Marathon Game and I felt like I failed.

I also had no idea where my hamstring injury came from and to be honest, I didn’t even think it was a shoe problem. I’m not prone to muscular injuries. In fact, I’ve had maybe 3 muscular injuries in my entire running career and they usually haven’t lasted more than a few days.

I chalked it up to running a long race harder than I had in a while, then privately flying home (a 2 hr, small aircraft flight).

After rest, PT and seeing a sports doctor, I recovered and I was able to use my training to reach my goal of starting and finishing New York City Marathon healthy and strong. 26.2 miles.

Why is that important? I ran in the New Balance Fuel Cell Rebel. One of my favorite shoes to train in, no carbon plate and a lower stack height than the Next%. After that, I recovered and began training for what I called: “get back into shape.” There is no timeline and there is no goal race, but darn it, I’m going to get back into shape. (This is where I am now).

Training in December, January, and some of February went well. Too well. I hit the paces of one of my last workouts perfectly a few weeks ago. I felt amazing. Then I raced the Hilton Head Half Marathon in you guessed it the Nike Next%. While my opinions of the Hilton Head Half are another topic, I ran decently but didn’t feel like I ran to my fitness. I still ran faster and longer than I have in a while.

Two days later, I found myself in excruciating pain. This time in my Achilles. Not just one Achilles, but both Achilles. My left is worse, but the right hurts as well. Two ankles, same spot…that’s when my running store employee hat was put on.

With both feet, it’s probably a shoe problem. Last week, I tooled around running. I knew something was wrong. My body wasn’t thrilled running, but it wasn’t thrilled doing much of anything else either. I didn’t run anything hard or fast. I wasn’t thrilled to put any weight on my ankles that now looked like cankles.

It wasn’t until last weekend, I tried on the Nike Next% again (not to run, just to put on my feet) and I realized my inflammation matched the exact outline of the Nike Next% shoe…in both feet. Will I say, it’s absolutely a shoe problem? No. But will I say, both muscular/tendon injuries happened two days after I ran 13.1 miles in the Next%? Yes, yes, they did.

The amount of stack height and cushion alters anyone who runs in the shoe’s form. For me, I believe it caused me to land more on my heels and harder. Doing that for 20,000 steps caused muscles to work that don’t usually. It caused muscles to irritate that don’t usually. That force probably caused my muscles to develop microtears, which lead to an injury. This is not the most serious running injury and my hope is with proper rehab, PT, and flushing out the inflammation, I’ll be healthy in a few weeks.

So Anyway, where does this lead me now?

I saw Dr. Craig with Dr. Kemenosh, who worked some of the inflammation out of my cankles. I’m resting and letting my Achilles cool off. I am bummed because I finally thought I was making good progress, fitness-wise. I am also bummed because a shoe that seemingly “works for everyone” may not work for me. Will I ever get the 4% advantage? I don’t know and honestly, I don’t care as much as to be healthy.  My career isn’t based on being 4% faster. (Nothing I do in life is affected if I’m 4% slower or faster in a running race).

I’m also not bitter but I wanted to share because I cannot possibly be the only one who hasn’t had “the best results ever” in the Nike Next%.

It’s hard for me to admit that I might be in the small population the shoe just doesn’t mesh well for their gait and form. While my Achilles is slowly getting better, my mind is trying to process through an injury and also process why a shoe “made for everyone” may not work for me. Typing out loud seems silly, because I’m the biggest proponent of not everything works for everyone.

Anyway, that’s where at there. It’s not the most serious injury but it has taken me out of running until I feel better.

me running
Running, Training, Training Sub 1:25

Sub 1:25 Files…An Injury

After the Hilton Head Half Marathon, I thought it would jump-start my training. Unfortunately, it jump-started me to a minor injury. My Achilles are inflamed, and I have two cankles instead of ankles. They aren’t broken, but putting weight on them doesn’t feel great (running or walking..or living life).

I hesitate to call it “Achilles tendonitis” because my symptoms aren’t quite that. I’ve stretched my calves, etc. With rest, it doesn’t feel better. Running it doesn’t feel worse. My Achilles feels the worst when I wake up, and they feel better when I stretch them out.

I didn’t do anything fast last week, no long run or workout. I ran a few miles here and there and led a 4-mile group run on Saturday. I don’t foresee myself running fast until I feel better. If I feel the same by the end of this week, I’ll probably just stop running until it feels 100%.

Monday: Easy 6 miles
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Easy 5 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Easy 6 miles
Sunday Easy 6 miles

As far as recovery, I’ve gone to see Dr. Craig with Dr. Kemonosh for Active Release Therapy on my Achilles. Active Release Therapy (Graston) is painful, but I do feel like it’s helping.

The other component is I’ve just been swamped. Sometimes I feel like adulthood is saying: “this is the busiest week ever,” one week after another. Lately, it’s been like that and next week will be just similar. After getting home on Sunday, I spent Tuesday-Saturday out of my house most of the time except to sleep.

I’m just trying to balance life while making time to recover from this injury. Is it an injury? Is it an inflamed bursa? Achilles Tendonitis? I don’t quite know. I have my suspicions of what caused it (somewhere along racing the Hilton Half Marathon and traveling home).

So yes, a boring training log and more or less me talking out loud. Don’t get me wrong; I’m pretty bummed that I finally started to feel like fitness was coming along and now this. Hopefully, it’s not too long of an issue. I’ve doing stretches, eccentric heel drops, and all of the basic Achilles rehab even though I’m not entirely sure that’s the problem.

Posts from the Week:

Saucony Ride ISO 2 Shoe Review

Hilton Head Half Marathon (1:31.13)

Koala Clip Review

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport.

Questions for you:

Do you have any Achilles rehab tips?

How was your week of training? 

Hilton Head Half Marathon
Running, Training, Training Sub 1:25

Hilton Head Half Marathon (1:31.13)

Hilton Head Half Marathon (1:31.13)

Last week, my husband and I took a trip to Hilton Head. I was looking at various winter races and thought the Hilton Head Half Marathon would be fun. We’ve been to the West Coast twice and Arizona twice, so we wanted something different. Typically I like to take a winter vacation to break up January and February. I don’t love the winter, so this gives me a short recoup time. The winter in 2020 hasn’t been winter at all, but we still decided to go down to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

Our flights down to Hilton Head were bumpy but fine. We got one of the last planes out of Charlotte before a tornado hit. We arrived on beautiful Hilton Head Island Thursday morning. We did a short shakeout run where I felt like garbage (10-minute miles were pushing it for me). On Friday, we ran again and felt a little better.

The Hilton Head Island Marathon, Half Marathon, and 8k all started at Jarvis Creek Park at 8 am. The course takes participants through two parks on beautiful Hilton Head Island and is supposedly an overall scenic certified course. To me, it was scenic in some spots, but at least half of the race was on a highway or through narrow windy bike paths.

Overnight the weather went from being about 45 at the race start to 39. I didn’t have a hat or gloves, so I stopped at a local Walmart and picked up some stuff. Luckily the $3 headband is actually nice and didn’t get any ear chaffing.

The Hilton Head Half Marathon, Marathon and 8k all start at the same spot at 8 am. While the start has plenty of space, the race does funnel into a lot of small bike paths. During the first mile, I didn’t know who was racing what. We went around a turn and I hit the first mile of the Hilton Head Half Marathon at 6:55. I didn’t feel good or bad and just tried to get comfortable.

The second mile started to spread out and felt like I finally got some space. It was uneventful, and I ran in 6:45. I thought I might have the fitness to be below 1:30, but that didn’t happen.

During the third mile, the 8k broke off, so I was able to see who was in front of me. I didn’t know if they were running the full or half, but I estimated I was around 6th female.

The next few miles of the Hilton Head Half Marathon went by without a lot of anything. I kept to myself and was ran alone. There were people about 20 seconds ahead and 20 seconds behind, but no one around.

I ran mile 3 in 6:58, mile 4 in 6:57, mile 5 in 6:58.

It was fun to run under a toll booth and I can’t remember the last time I’ve done that. I knew there were two climbs in the Hilton Head Half Marathon, but I didn’t know what that meant. I hadn’t run the course, nor really researched it.

Then during mile 6, I quickly realized what it meant. We were climbing up and over the bridge. It gained about 100 feet of elevation in about 1/3 of a mile. It was tough, but I just told myself: “2 minutes of your life”. I climbed over the bridge, passed someone and went sailing down the other side. I hit mile 6 at 6:51, which I was pleasantly surprised with.

Mile 6-7 of the Hilton Head Half Marathon was my least favorite part of the race. There were no less than 12 turns on a narrow, windy course. I felt like I couldn’t get any rhythm and it was just one sharp turn after another. Then we headed into a muddy section of the race. That entire mile made me feel like garbage. I started negatively thinking: “well, that’s it,” the race is done. I ran a 7:08 mile.

The next mile went back onto roads and into a headwind. I was running with a young kid who kept me more motivated and engaged in the race. I hit mile 8 of the Hilton Head Half Marathon at 6:59, which I was happy with. Getting back under 7 made me feel like mile 6 was “just a fluke” with the turns.

Mile 8 of the Hilton Head Marathon was spent weaving around marathoners. We caught back up to those running about a 4-hour marathon and between the narrow streets and weaving, I ran a 7:09. I don’t mind when races overlap, but having them overlap on narrow bike paths is unacceptable and dangerous for everyone.

Ater getting back on the road, mile 9 of the Hilton Head Half Marathon went back over the bridge. I was running with marathoners. I just tried to keep to the left to minimize weaving but this also meant I was closer to cars passing by. The bridge went by quickly and before I knew it, I hit mile 10 at 1:09.30. I was happy that it was 30 seconds faster than the ten miler I recently did. Progress, I thought.

Then I told myself just a 5k to go. We went back down into narrow paths, and I weaved around marathoners on the windy roads again. I was just frustrated that we didn’t have more space.

Finally, we got back onto the main road and it opened up. I was happy to just have room to run again. I told myself 2 miles to go. You can run hard, blow up, and pick up the pieces for a mile. So I did. I just ran as hard as my body would allow. It didn’t feel good or bad, but indifferent. My breathing felt fine and I never felt like I was redlining it. I hit mile 11 of the Hilton Head Half Marathon in 6:44, which was my fastest.

During the last mile of the Hilton Head Half Marathon, I was trying to keep the momentum going. I passed a young kid and a few walkers from the 8k. We cut across the grass and went back down to the narrow paths. I thought I could break 1:31 and I desperately wanted too. I just ran as hard as I could.

I ended up crossing the Hilton Head Half Marathon in 1:31.13. I got the race at about 13.15 on GPS and most people got it longer.

Hilton Head Half Marathon Thoughts:

While I feel like I’m in faster shape than a 1:31 half marathon, it was a tough day. The weather was ideal but several spots on the course made it tough to get into a rhythm. I’m not sad or upset about my time, but I am looking to improve it. Sadly, the Hilton Head Half Marathon might be one of the few Half Marathons that I’ve run that doesn’t do race photos? I don’t think the Hilton Head Half Marathon was my least favorite course of any half marathon, but I don’t think I would run it again. The number of turns and congestion on the narrow paths made it less enjoyable than anticipated.

Questions for you:

Have you ever run a half marathon on narrow roads?

Have you been to Hilton Head? Have you run the Hilton Head Half Marathon?