Finally a Real Runner

Back in July, I made an announcement in this blog post here. I had just begun training for my second half marathon. Over the past three months, I pounded the pavement three mornings a week at 5am (7am on weekends), putting in 168.01 miles of preparation. All those miles added up to one great accomplishment: last Saturday, I ran the 13.1 miles of the Kansas City Half-Marathon in 2:02:02. This was well below my previous time of 2:19:11, as well as my goal time of 2:10:00. However, all those early mornings brought about one more grand feat: I became a runner.

Here I am at mile 13.

My dedcated fan club, always there to cheer me on.

My sweet reward 😉

I don’t just mean that I could run. Clearly, after all that training in 2009 for my first half-marathon I was a runner in the sense that I successfully completed the training and race. This time, something was different. Something about running just clicked this time. I’m pretty sure I experienced my first ever runner’s high (and second, and third, and fourth, and…). I began to cherish that peaceful time in the darkest hours of the morning. I could choose to zone out to my music, become entrenched in an audiobook, or go electronics-free and let my mind wander. Progress was addicting; I ran 3 miles in 23:41. My pace on my 8-miler was 8:45 min/mile. I ran through a cold, a tough week at work, and disagreements with my hubby. I greeted familiar faces on my favorite trail, and even stopped to take pictures of the beautiful fall.

As a matter of fact, I’ve been enjoying the running so much, that I registered for another half-marathon on November 20th.

However, what is that Woody Allen quote? “When you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” Okay, maybe I’m being a little over-dramatic.

But, at about mile 7 of my race last Saturday, I started to feel a dull ache on the outside of my left knee. I was able to run through it, but after the race, it really began giving me issues. Walking back to the car, I was leaning on B pretty hard every time I had to step up a curb. By the time we got back to our apartment, I needed a piggyback up the stairs. I let it rest the remainder of the weekend, and Monday morning when I woke up it was feeling pretty good, so I decided to go out for my regular Monday morning 5-miler. Mistake. I had to call my dad to rescue me along the side of the road, as I was hobbling after 3.5 mi.

After doing some research online, I self-diagnosed myself with ITBS. Apparently, the IT band is a common injury site for some runners. I vaguely remember it being sore after my first half-marathon, but didn’t notice it as much because I wasn’t trying to run anytime soon afterwards (my first half-marathon left me pretty burnt out on running). Unfortunately for my perfectionist self, there seems to be no easy fix for a sore IT band. A physical therapist friend of mine suggested a foam roller and at least a week of rest. An athletic trainer at the gym said I shouldn’t expect to jump right back into high mileage any time soon. And a personal trainer acquaintance basically said that’s what I get for being a runner. (Hey, at least he called me a runner!)

I won’t lie–I’m feeling pretty discouraged. I spent the week cross-training on the stationary bike, and doing core and upper body work. I was able to add in some easy lower body exercises near the end of the week. Every morning and every evening, I spent 20 minutes ironing my muscles with the foam roller, occasionally cursing or shrieking; according to the Youtube video that taught me how to use my foam roller, the more it hurts, the more unhealthy your IT band. This morning, I was able to run about 2.5 miles before I began to feel any pain. Not wanting to push it, I stopped immediately. I’m going to try slowly increasing my mileage over the next few weeks; I’m still hoping to push through the Nov. 20th half, but if I have to drop down to the 5K, I’m telling myself it’s not the end of the world. (Actually, how “runner” is that to have a real injury?)

So, if you have any IT band advice, I’d be happy to hear it. You know where to find me…



6 thoughts on “Finally a Real Runner

  1. Ok, I meant to comment a while back. First, your trainer acquaintance who said to just expect to be hurt b/c you’re a runner annoys me. It is not a given that you are always going to hurt just because you run. I’ve been running for over 14 years, and really my only injury came last year after my 2nd marathon. That being said, it was my knee, and it started hurting after about 2-4 miles every time I ran. I tried everything, but the only thing that really healed it was when I had to take months off during the winter b/c there was too much snow to run. It sucked. I hate advocating resting b/c I always felt like taking 3 days off should be enough rest to recover. It was always so frustrating to take any more time than that off. But, I’ve also heard that if you work on strengthening your hip and quad muscles, it will help to prevent knee pain in the future. But, that’s more preventative. I hope you find something to help you!

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