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.
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…