Friday, April 1, 2022

100-Miler Training : Update #3

In case you're new around here, I am currently training for my first 100-mile race. And, before you ask, yes, I will be running it. Yes, it is continuous. Yes, there will be plenty of walk breaks (FYI - walking is absolutely a part of running). Yes, you eat along the way. No, we won't be stopping to sleep during the race. Yes, I might be a little off-my-rocker ;) But, with all that said, I am doing my best to try to keep you all up-to-date on how training for this HUGE goal is going. 

If you missed the first few posts and are curious about my progress, grab a snack/ drink, cozy up, and get your read on:

Now that we're all caught up on the journey thus far and on the same page, let's chug right along, okee dokee smokee?!


Well, I guess to move ahead, we need to look backwards... back to fall of last year. You may (or may not) remember, I did a 50-mile bike ride the first weekend in November. The short of it (if you want all the deets, including why I won't be participating in the event in the future, feel free to read the full recap HERE) is we were staying with friends while our new house was getting finished {yet we had already sold and moved out of our condo}, I borrowed a beach cruiser with a couple gears from a friend and decided to push my body to tackle the hills of North County's coastline via bicycle. 

They don't consider it a race - just a ride - so you might as well have fun along the way!

What I didn't really mention in the recap was a couple miles into the ride something felt "off" on my left hand side. My leg felt tighter than usual, but figured it was due to the fact that the biking I had been doing was on a stationary bike and more of a casual pace (while I watched Netflix and tried to keep a habit of waking up early while not running every single day of the week). If you read my weekly workout recaps, you may remember that after the ride I took a couple weeks off to see if the issue would resolve itself. After about a three week break from running, the trunk area (I couldn't pinpoint the issue, but if I had to describe it I would say my left glute/ groin/ hip flexor/ lower back) wasn't feeling any better, but when I tried running, running didn't make it feel any worse so I just went with it. {I know, I know, you are probably going to say that I should have had this issue looked into back in November, and you are absolutely right, but you also have to remember that I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia over 20 years ago so not only do I live with daily pain, I am also very used to going to see medical professionals, only to be told that "everything seems fine" and there's nothing they can do.} I chalked it up to either my fibro or the facts that I wasn't sleeping well (we were sleeping on a futon mattress in the condo once we moved stuff out, on a camp pad on the floor at our friends' place, etc), eating as well as I normally had been (when living without a kitchen you eat out a lot), not to mention all the extra stresses of selling a home/ buying a home/ moving/ etc. 


So, fast forward a couple months and you've reached spring. I had a 50K that I originally registered for back in October of 2019 that had been postponed numerous times and was finally rescheduled for early March 2022. You can read the full recap HERE, but the Clif Notes version of the race was my back seized up around mile 7 of the 31-miler so my pace was greatly impacted (along with the fact that I found a decent chunk of the second half was not super run-able). Seeing as my back was thrown into a tizzy AND I was trying to tackle this HUGE 100-mile goal, I knew I needed professional help. 

Definitely NOT the race I was expecting to have, but I did my best to not get defeated (at least while on the course ;))

First I started with an appointment with a Sports Medicine Doctor. I'll be honest, I wasn't sure which would be worse - him telling me that running was off the table or that "everything appeared fine" and he wasn't sure why I was having this pain. I was very pleased with the doctor I saw (the hubby and I honestly were just looking at whoever was covered by our insurance so it was the luck of the draw). He did a thorough exam and even took x-rays of my hip/ pelvis to make sure there were no stress fractures. He said that I was obviously putting my body through a lot (with all of the mileage, constant pounding, etc), although he was a runner himself so totally understood. (Side note - I was reading Bravey by Alexi Pappas in the waiting room and when I brought it back with me to the exam room he saw it and commented that he was reading it too!) With that said, he confirmed that it was not a stress fracture and that his exam did not find any serious issues (such a muscle tears, etc). He recommended that I see a physical therapist (giving me the details of one close to our house, since he was down in San Diego), but he was not saying that my racing was off the table. I left feeling all the feels. I was glad it wasn't anything "serious", but I was frustrated that I felt like another doctor was telling me it was all in my head. There's a chance I had a minor major break down when I got home and couldn't stop the tears when I was telling the hubby.


Because I'm very serious about getting this figured out, I called up the physical therapist office and scheduled my first visit. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but was secretly hoping they'd have a magic wand pill or some amazing stretch that I could do and I'd be healed immediately... I mean, I know that isn't exactly how PT works, but a girl can dream, right?!


#RealTalk - I was pretty nervous to go to the first appointment. I knew it would be more of an evaluation appointment and nothing to be scared of, but I was worried I'd be told one of two things - either that running was off the table or that they didn't know what the issue was and everything should be fine. And, to be honest, I wasn't sure which I was more afraid of. 


Don't worry, I won't keep you waiting in suspense for too long... Thankfully the news my PT had was NEITHER of those options. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't going to be a magical fix, but at least the news wasn't what I was fearing the most.


I won't get into the nitty gritty (mostly because I don't remember all of the technical terms), but the general idea is that in November I strained my hamstring and since then it has been "scared". I might not do as good of a job as my PT explaining it, but let me try. She said that my body was probably super efficient in the range of motion for running, but once my legs switched to the biking motion (especially with a heavy bike that probably wasn't the proper size or set-up for me that I took up and down hills for 50 miles) I pulled my hammy. At that point, my muscles (including my abductor, glute and hip flexor on my left size) contracted to try and protect themselves from overstretching again in the future - hence why those muscles have been so tight/ painful for the past four months. What my PT is working on with me is to get my body comfortable with efficiently lengthening (through controlled movements and reteaching them it's okay to loosen again). 

Doing my best to get stronger!

My PT wants to see me twice a week and has been giving me stretching sequences and exercises to do. Thus far I've been in a handful of times and every time she is very optimistic. The main point I walked away with from my recent appointment is that if things keep progressing as they currently are, hopefully I will be back to "normal" by mid-April.


Now, I should say that I have not really run since my last 50K. My PT asked me to keep with the stretching and exercises and recommended I do my mileage as WALKS right now. That means, if I have 6 miles or less on the calendar, I go out and walk the miles I have on the schedule. If I have more than 6 miles, I walk the approximate amount of time it would take me to run said mileage. For example, last weekend I had 25 miles on the plan so I walked up and down the coast for four hours. Obviously I'd much rather be running, but I'm hoping time on my feet is doing something towards my 100-miler training. (Not to mention, if I'm "okay" by mid-April that'd give me three months to train and I'm praying train PAIN FREE!)

I may be walking 17 minute miles, but I'm still putting one foot in front of the other!

Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post - this is a JOURNEY! Although I'd love for this issue to be all better with the snap of a finger, I know my body has been in this reactive state for four months now, so a month or so to get it to feeling "normal" again seems fast in the grand scheme of things. I am trying my best to stay positive about the whole situation and tell myself that these stretches/ exercises/ etc will make me a stronger runner in the long run, but some days it just plain sucks not being able to run (and when those days arise, I try to allow myself to feel those feelings and continue to move forward). Here's to hoping the time I'm taking off now is helping to prevent having to take more time off in the future. 


As always, if you have other topics you'd like me to address in these update posts, make sure to let me know! I'm in no way an expert on this subject, but if you're interested in my thoughts on something, leave a comment or send an email.


Have you ever been to physical therapy?

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