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2016 Racing and Training Updates

April 2016- GO! St. Louis Half-Marathon

This wasn’t exactly a race for me.  I started a group at my school to train high school students to run their first half-marathon.  The program is put on by GO! St. Louis and they have students from 17 area schools train for and complete a half marathon.  It’s a really fantastic program that I’m happy to be a part of.  This race day was all about them.  I ran the race with a few students.  They avoided porta potties by stopping at a McDonald’s along the race route, they didn’t push their pace any beyond what they do for a long run.  But it was their first half marathon!  Along the way I played paparazzi, taking pictures not just of those students I was with, but others that we would see during out and back sections.  After crossing the finish line with those students, I went back and ran/walked in with my remaining students.  At the end of the day, all 18 of my students crossed the finish line with huge smiles on their faces.  It was a fantastic day!

April 2016- Kentucky Derby Half-Marathon

Most of my long runs leading up to this race were done at a very easy pace with my students, so I wasn’t sure how this would go.  I had a really solid training base in, and my swim and bike training were going great at this point too, so I knew I was in the best shape I’d ever been for a half marathon.  Race morning was a little stressful and I got my bib from a friend about 2 minutes before the start!  My heart rate was probably through the roof before the race ever began.  I tucked in with a 1:50 pace group at the start and planned to stay with them until mile 10, then try to pick up the pace from there.  In the first few miles the pace was already challenging, which I knew wasn’t a good sign.  I just kept fighting through, being mindful of nutrition, trying not to overspend my energy, etc.

I definitely had to fight for it and it was harder than I expected, but in the end I was able to break 1:50 so I got a PR by about 4 minutes out of it!

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June 2016- Swim the Sun

This was a 2 mile open water swim, my tri coach was the RD and a number of people from the tri club were participating.  This was a good chance to get used to OWS with no wetsuit because the summer was ultimately too hot to wear a wetsuit for my goal race anyways.

 

July 2016- Muncie 70.3

This was my goal race for 2016!  Unfortunately my run training fell apart in mid-May so I had about 7 weeks leading up to the race that had very little running.

Swim- This was my roughest swim to date.  For whatever reason, I could never get loose from the crowd that you normally only experience at the beginning of the swim.  It just seemed to never thin out.  Lots of bumping into people, swimming around someone, etc.  The return to shore proved especially tough because we were going right into the sun so sighting anything in front of you was impossible.

Bike- The bike course at Muncie is fantastic.  Smooth country roads, a few climbs, but flat overall.  I was in my best bike shape yet and felt really comfortable here.  My watch went crazy and although it was fully charged the morning of the race, it was dead by mile 12 of the bike (this had never happened before and hasn’t happened since…go figure).  So the majority of my race was done by feel.  I focused on my cadence, took nutrition based on mile markers instead of time and just kept working my way through the course.  Ended the bike feeling pretty good, now wonder if I would have done more on the bike if I could have seen the numbers, but oh well.

Run– The run course at Muncie features rolling hills.  Not necessarily any one killer hill, but constant hills.  Immediately upon running I realized my foot was not right.  I convinced myself that the first mile running is always a mess in triathlon and I just needed to get through that and then my body would adjust and I’d be fine.  The hills sent pain through my foot that made me want to scream.  It was bad.  I knew my family was waiting for me on the run course so I decided to just get to them.  They were at about mile 2.  I stopped and talked to them, told them about my foot.  I was basically resigned to dropping out of the race at that point.  I’d had to walk a lot of those first two miles because of my foot pain.  My husband and parents were supportive of whatever I wanted to do but were definitely concerned about my foot.  My 10 year old son however, was not there to see me quit the race.  He just looked at me and said “Mom, you should finish it.”  Gotta love how straight to the point he is!  I sat down, took my shoe off and had my husband pull my foot towards him like my chiropractor does to pop my ankle.  This actually provided some relief.  I got my shoe back on and went out to the run course.

The remaining 11 miles were mostly running, some walking when a hill was really hurting my foot, but I was getting through it.  The finish line has you run down a slight hill on gravel and the downhill and uneven surface truly about did me in, but I couldn’t stop at that point.  End result, a PR by over 20 minutes!

This was also the first race that I feel like I absolutely nailed my nutrition on, which I’m thrilled about!  Thanks Hammer Nutrition for your continued support and amazing products!

Not quite the race I had hoped for, but considering the circumstances of the run, a result I was very happy with!

Post-Muncie

The days after Muncie had me very worried about my foot.  Even a blanket on my foot when I was sleeping was too much pressure on it.  I took the next 5 weeks completely off of all training.

I’ve had a slew of dr. appointments, tests, treatments done on my foot that I chronicled in another post.

Even if I couldn’t run, I could swim and bike.  Honestly though, I didn’t do much of either of those.  I’ve been crabby about being injured and having no answers and so I’ve just allowed myself to have the time off to recharge.  I’ve gotten to spend extra time with my family.  The fall has been a busy season for my kiddos with cross country and soccer so I’ve just been enjoying mom-duty.

November 2016

After a cortisone shot and starting Physical Therapy, I’m on the road to recovery.  I’m getting back in the swing of things and looking forward to 2017.  I’m waiting to get through PT before I put any races on the calendar but I finally feel like things are looking up!

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Overdue Injury Explanation Post

I’ve neglected blogging in 2016…big time.  I’m working on a few update posts, but will start with this.

In May 2016 I began to have pain on the top of my foot, above the arch.  I noticed it for a week or so, mostly during a run workout.  During a track workout I noticed that the pain was becoming significant enough to change my form and so I quit the workout immediately.  My foot felt better after a couple days rest and I went for a 6 mile run on a Saturday.  No big deal at all at that point in training.  It was an out and back route and for probably the last 4 miles, I felt my foot every step of the way.  When I got home that morning and told my husband about it, he could see looking at my feet that one was really swollen.

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Swelling after a run in June

Long story short, from that point until now I’ve had 2 MRIs, 2 sets of X-Rays, 1 Diagnostic ultrasound and have seen 7 different doctors.  Here’s the part that drives me absolutely insane:

  1. I don’t actually know what caused the injury.  If anything my run training was down at that point, I’d been doing double digit long runs for a year and a half and for the month of May was more in the 6-8 mile long run area.  Shoes- I was on my third model of that exact shoe, mileage was pretty low on the pair of shoes I was on, etc.
  2. I don’t actually know what the injury was.  None of the 7 doctors really had an answer.  It’s an unusual spot and not one they see often.  My answers ranged from stress reaction (pre stress fracture), to lisfranc injury (later ruled out by other doctors and diagnostic tools), calcification on the tendon between the first and second metatarsal, arthritis, arthralgia.

In the 6 months since the injury I’ve had times where I’ve taken over a month off of all training, didn’t really see any improvement.  I’ve had times where I’ve run 4 times in a week (2-3 miles at a time) and not seen any worsening or improving.

In October I saw a new podiatrist who ordered the 2nd set of MRI images, where a stress fracture was again ruled out.  She suggested a cortisone shot to get rid of the inflammation.  Initially I was very against the idea, having heard cortisone shots are bad and should always be avoided.  After doing some research on my own and essentially feeling like I had no other options, I gave it a shot (see what I did there!).

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An image from my most recent MRI, the white areas show where I have swelling going on. 
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Some discoloration from the shot.

I’m now 2.5 weeks post shot and can say that it has definitely helped (although I still have discoloration, luckily sandal season is over!).  I no longer feel the pain walking around that I have for 6 months.  I no longer have one spot on my foot that I can press that makes me jump.  I have had a couple of pain free runs.

But.  I’ve had a couple times where I step on uneven ground and still get a shooting pain that feels like something is very wrong.  And I understand that a cortisone shot is really a band-aid, not addressing why it happened in the first place.

So, I’ve started physical therapy and have just finished week 1.  Twice a week for 90 minutes I am doing all sorts of stuff at my appointments.  Some times I think my PT is crazy when he is explaining the exercise and feel it is far too easy, then by the time I am through the 15 reps my muscles are shaking because it is so challenging.

Overall I’m encouraged and feel like I’m on the right track to getting back to doing what I love.

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January and February Check-in

Apparently blogging more regularly should have been a New Year’s Resolution for me.

The year is off to a good start and I’m happy with some of the progress I’m making.

January Totals-

Swim- 13 miles

Bike- 192 miles

Run- 106 miles

February Totals-

Swim- 12 miles

Bike- 353 miles

Run- 70 miles

Highlights:

  1.  Swim– My swim game has improved already this year.  My husband has a pretty strong swim background and worked last year to get some coaching certifications.  For 2016 he has taken over the role of swim coach for our tri club.  What this means is I’m going to structured workouts with other people more often.  It’s been a lot of fun learning new things in a group setting and I find I push myself more on some of those intervals when I’m trying to keep up with the speed demons of the group!
  2. Bike– I’ve been spending a lot more time on my bike the last couple months.  Late 2015 I was hardly on my bike at all.  I’m really loving my new tri bike and especially the bike fit.  All last year was a struggle because I was sore from my saddle/position after every. single. ride.  Although a lot of my rides have been indoors on the trainer, I’ve gotten to sneak in a few outside rides on unseasonably nice days and am quite happy both places.12744443_741642581169_2873564002270685728_n
  3. Run– I ended my run streak in January after battling an angry foot for most of the month.  Back to running 3-4 days/week for me cut down my mileage a bit in February, but I’ve enjoyed lots of great runs.   I also had my longest trail run of 12+ miles at the Little Woods Ultra at the beginning of January.  10653535_736555131459_2555982580535987958_n
  4. Frostbite Series– My family completed the Frostbite Series in Forest Park in St. Louis over the winter.  It is put on by the St. Louis Track Club and was a really fun way to stay active on a few Saturdays where hibernating was really tempting.  My husband and son signed up for the short course option.  My daughter and I did the long course option, her goal was to complete her first half marathon.  We all had some milestone races and paces at the Frostbite Series and really enjoyed it, this will probably be a family tradition each year!   12654260_740194203729_3128985069437251952_n

 Also, Grace rocked her first half marathon.  She ran strong the entire time, never hit                                              “the wall” and finished with an official time of 2:00:56!

5. Tour of Sufferlandria– Last year when I started training for IM Boulder, I discovered Sufferfest videos.  I love to hate them.  Somehow this type of workout kicks my butt.  Every. Single. Time.  I started the 2015 TOS and quit half-way through, not so in 2016.  For all of you non-Sufferlandrians, here’s a brief rundown.  They’re bike videos that show footage of amazing locations and really fast people on bikes.  And they ask more of you than just about any other kind of workout.  The Tour of Sufferlandria is a challenge they do each year with a sick, brutal combination of videos.  Over 9 days, I rode prescribed videos, some days with two videos back to back.  I expected to feel completely beaten down by the end of the challenge, but was feeling stronger with each ride.  Until the last day, that one really just about did me in.  Regardless it was a fun challenge and one I’ll do again!  12717204_740830059469_2123163931385044958_n

6.  High School Students– I’m coaching a group of high school students to run their first half-marathon this April.  From October-April we meet twice a week after school and on Saturdays.  Not gonna lie, it’s been a very big time commitment on my part (and theirs).  There are days where I absolutely love it and am so excited that I’m sharing my love of running with these kids.  There are days where I feel completely beat down because I don’t feel like I’m getting through and don’t feel like they’re challenging themselves at all.  But overall it has been a lot of fun and I can’t wait to see what these kids think of their first race experience and especially their first finish line experience!

7.  My own training and goals.  My 2016 race calendar is shaping up and I’m excited about a it.  I’m working towards some hopefully big PRs and exciting racedays!

April 10- GO! St. Louis Half Marathon with my high school students

April 30- Kentucky Derby Half Marathon

June 5- Legend 70.3 Triathlon

July 9- IM Muncie 70.3 Triathlon

*August 14- IM Steelehead 70.3 Triathlon *Maybe…I’m still debating on this one.

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A fun quote in honor of Dr. Seuss day!

Cheers to goals, improvement and loving life!