Monday, November 23, 2015

PRP - Round 2

At the beginning of February I had a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection to heal high hamstring tendonopathy/tendonosis.  (You can read about the procedure here.)  My hamstring had gotten so bad due to overtraining and failure to listen to not only my body but also professionals who were telling me to take a break.  That overtraining and continued running through pain ultimately led to 12 weeks off running, at which point I had the PRP injection, which required another 4 weeks off.  Was all the overtraining worth it?  I think you know the answer.  

Even now, 9 months post-PRP, I am still not fully healed.  I am running stronger and faster, have greater mobility and better form, but I still have a niggling pain in the top of my hamstring.  It has always been there.  I'd say at best I was 95%.  At worst I was probably 20% (pre-PRP) so that was a huge improvement!

Because I never fully healed, there was always the chance I would have a second injection.  Many people have PRP done twice and are very successful after the second time.  The plan was to get through my training, run NYC, and then reassess.  Coach Terra was helping me to make sure I was training smartly, getting massages, activating pre-run, and stretching/foam rolling post-run.  She was keeping tabs on how my hamstring was feeling and adjusting my weekly plans as needed.  The niggling was up and down but it was all manageable.

Then I tripped on a construction sign in the dark 7 weeks pre-marathon and strained my MCL.  KT Tape kept me running without knee pain but gradually the hamstring started to feel worse.  By the time I ran the American Home Fitness 5K it had gone from niggling to painful.  

As for the marathon, I didn't do much to prep for it hill-wise, fearful that I would ruin my hamstring in the training before I even got to the race.  Whether that I was smart or not, I won't know and can't worry about it now.  That course is filled with hills so I might have been underprepared no matter how well I trained here.  What I can say is that by the time I hit the Queensborough Bridge around mile 15, my hamstring was sore.  And by the time I came off that bridge at mile 16, my hamstring was just about done.  But I still had 10 more miles and the rest of the course only got harder.  After the marathon it hurt to sit or bend down to tie my shoes.

Up until this recent marathon, things were going relatively well.  Most of my runs were pain-free or with minimal pain.  However, if there is a chance I can be healed 100% I want to go for it.  If it doesn't work then I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

My procedure is scheduled for tomorrow morning.  I'll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

On the Run: American Home Fitness 5K

It's been a busy few weeks and I'm getting more behind than usual with posts.  I blame work mostly.  It's been one crazy school year - and it's only November!  

So here I am on November 11th, finally sitting down to write my recap of the American Home Fitness 5K from the Detroit Free Press weekend of races October 17-18.  Because the New York City marathon was just two weeks later, I ran the 5K instead of one of the longer races.  This was great for a few reasons.  1) I'd never run this 5K before so it was something a little different. 2) The race was on Saturday so it freed me up to cheer on Sunday for Brian and all the other racers.  3) I still got the same sweet finisher shirt and medal as everyone else and I only had to run 3.1 miles!  (Although 5Ks are my least favorite race distance so I'm not sure this is really a plus.)

Temps were on the chilly side (high 30's) but the blue sky and bright sun made a world of difference.  I couldn't have asked for a better mid-October race day.

I had a really great 5K in early September and was hoping to run faster than that.  My legs, however, had other plans.  My MCL strain still had some healing to do and my hamstring was flaring up a bit.  I got frustrated with my pace early on and wanted to give up before I hit the first mile marker.  It wasn't so much my legs that were slowing me down but my head.  

So I pulled myself together.  I still had two miles left and I certainly wasn't going to have a good race if I was down on myself the whole time.  It might not be the race I wanted but I was going to give it all I had that day.  On a downhill I passed a girl and felt stronger.  I picked up the pace as I raced down Atwater Street, happy to turn onto the Riverwalk by the Renaissance Center. The Detroit Riverwalk is one of my favorite running paths and it seemed especially beautiful today.  Just before coming off the Riverwalk I high-fived a little girl.  I had found my happy.

The final stretch of the race was back on Atwater Street with the Ren Cen in the background.  I love this shot that Brian took before I crossed the finish line outside of the Outdoor Adventure Center.  

After I finished the first person I saw was my friend Leah from Be Bold Crew.  (She works for the Freep Marathon and was there on official business.)  She came running over to hug me and congratulate me.  Brian wasn't far behind.  He and my friend Sarah were my cheering section.  I was grateful to have their support, especially on such a chilly day!  

This was a great tempo run pre-NYC.  I'm not sure what next year's fall marathon will be but if things work out to run this race I will do it again!


6:40 min/mile
The Innocent / Mayer Hawthorne
Swell Content / Speedy Ortiz
  Strangers / Langhorne Slim & The Law
 50 Ways to Say Good-Bye / Train
Runaway Baby / Bruno Mars
Deceptacon / Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas
Man / Neko Case

I placed 3rd female and will be receiving a cash prize for it.  It hasn't come yet but I've already spent it on a new pair of Saucony Zealots.  And then again on the Kinvaras. Maybe I'll also spend it on a new pair of Sketchers GoRun...

Sunday, October 4, 2015

On the Run: Women Run the D 2015

I swore I would never run this race again after last year.  But when it came down to it, I couldn't turn down a free race entry.  I wasn't exactly looking forward to the race but in the weeks preceding it, I did a few training runs on Belle Isle to mentally prepare for race day.  One was a solo 13-mile tempo run, which was especially good because it gave me the practice of the double loops at race pace.  I've also started to make my peace with running on the island, now that it's become the home of our Be Bold Crew.  

The Be Bold recovery station

Women Run the D is scheduled back-to-back weekends with The Brooksie Way.  A couple days before the race Coach Terra asked me to pick one for my goal race.  Of course that would be Brooksie.  I needed a solid 20-miler the weekend of Women Run the D so we decided I would run that one as an aerobic training run, cross the finish line, and just keep running another 7 miles.  That took off so much pressure for me knowing I was NOT racing this thing but just using it as training!  It would be perfect.  A training run with port-a-potties before and after, water stations, cheering spectators, and a Be Bold recovery station when I was finally done!  

Just the Tuesday prior to the race I had tripped over a construction sign while running before work.  My left knee was scabbed and I had road rash on left thigh.  The real problem, however, was my inner right knee.  It was sore to the touch and a bit painful to walk on.  Somehow running was okay once I got going.  I had taken it easy in the days between the fall and the race with lots of rest, ice, and Ibuprofin the day before.  On race day I took Aleve and got taped up by Coach Stefanie (aka The Dynamic Runner).  I actually felt pretty good.

The race start was moved from the Casino closer to the bridge.  I met up with my RUNdetroit family and the Be Bold Crew.  As usual, the race start was delayed by 15 minutes.  I waited until the last minute to go up to the start line.  After we took off, it was another girl and me at the front behind two lead bikes.  We were side by side until the first turn when the other girl shoved me aside.  She actually pushed me over into the other lane!  I wanted to laugh so hard because A) If you've ever been on Belle Isle you know that the road is very wide.  Certainly wide enough for two small runners to share without the need to push or shove. B) It was just the two of us.  Nobody was even close behind us.  What was she thinking?  C)  I wasn't even racing this thing!  I wanted to shout, "It's all yours!"  She had no idea what a long and lonely race she had ahead of her.  

Instead I thought about what a happy run I was going to have.  20 miles, here I come!  I took it all in.  I waved to everyone on the course.  I thanked all the volunteers.  I said good morning to the spectators and other people out enjoying the day.  Each mile ticked away quickly and easily.  

When I got back near the starting line I saw Coach Terra, Justin and ACE! from RUNdetroit, and some other friends.  I was feeling fantastic!  I continued around to the other side of the island.

Before long I met up with the 5K'ers for the first time.  It's hard because many don't realize that runners are coming.  They are either running slowly or walking, sometime 4-5 across. It makes for quite the obstacle course!  Some of the ladies are more observant than others and I got some cheers and shouts of "You go girl!" along the way when they realized I was a half marathoner.  That was a nice boost.  They made their turn just before my mile 7.

It was at this point I found one of the lead bikers waiting for me.  I was so grateful that she had stayed back.  The next stretch of island was going to be a lonely one, lacking both runners and spectators.  I was grateful for the company!  As she rode she would glance back to make sure her distance was okay and I felt like I needed to keep up.  My own personal pacer!  haha.  When we converged with the 5K runners again she helped get them to move out of my way so I didn't have to weave around them.  Later I saw Justin again and joked that I couldn't get lost in this race!  I even chatted with her here and there but that was hard because it was windy in some spots making it hard to hear each other.

The route was a bit different this year so it wasn't two full loops of the island.  Near the end we made a turn at the Athletic Fields and ran past the old zoo.  This is where Be Bold Mechanics class meets so it felt like home.  As we turned into the final stretch at the finish line, my lead bike pulled off to the side.  I crossed the finish line with the biggest smile on my face.  My friend Jen was handing out medals.  She scooped me up in a huge hug!  Then I ran over to my lead biker and gave her a hug, thanking her for the company. She was wonderful to come back for me!

After that I quick ran to the Be Bold bus where I tossed my water and medal to the Crew and was off and running again.  I maybe stopped running for a minute total.  Then I ran across the bridge, down Jefferson, and picked up the Riverwalk for 3.5 miles before I turned around and came back, completing my 20 miles for the day.

When I got back I got to hear all the happy news from friends who had amazing races.  It was wonderful to celebrate with them!  I was also just in time for the awards ceremony.  I placed 2nd overall.  This year they didn't give free entries again so it will be my last year running it.  I got a cozy blanket, another single medal hanger (I got one last year.  Honestly what do you do with these things?), and a gift card to American Home Fitness.  

Of all my 20-milers, this was by far my best and happiest!  Healthy legs + happy heart = successful training run!  


6:58 min/mile
Turn it Around / Lucius
10th Floor Ghost Girl / Cibo Matto
  Don't Save Me / Haim
 Ex's & Oh's / Elle King
Don't Take My Man to Idaho / Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas
Ship to Wreck / Florence + the Machine 
Birth in Reverse / St. Vincent
Man / Neko Case
Caught Up / Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas
Rattlesnake / St. Vincent
Youth Without Youth / Metric
I Love It / Icona Pop
Hell / Tegan & Sara
Dance Apocalyptic / Janelle Monae
Dead Brains / Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas
Keep Your Head / The Ting Tings
Bulletproof / La Roux
Shake it Off / Taylor Swift
Youth Without Youth / Metric 
Ex-Girlfriend / No Doubt
Shut Up and Drive / Rihanna
Born This Way / Lady Gaga
You've Got Time / Regina Spektor
Kiss With a Fist / Florence + the Machine
Never Go Back / Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
Move Like You Stole It / ZZ Ward
Blood For Poppies / Garbage
All Hands on the Bad One / Sleater Kinney
Water Fountain / tUnE-yArDs

NOTE: This post was about MY run, MY race.  As for the Women's Half Marathon itself, I don't really have a lot of great things to say about it.  
  • Expo - Hard to find and underwhelming.  One of the big products/sponsors at expo was NuStep.  I'm not entirely sure why this was at a race expo.  Anyway, don't plan on spending much time at their expo.  You may even want to just get your stuff on race day so you don't have to pay for parking.
  • Shirts - Usually the shirts are ultra tiny so I order a medium.  This year they went with a different shirt company so even after being in the dryer on high, it's still too big.  Order true to size.
  • Course - While I give them credit for changing up the course a bit, it's still a half marathon on Belle Isle.  That island is good for a 5K or 10K but too small for 13.1 miles.  Some friends had the idea of making it a 15K, which I think would be perfect.
  • Organization - By year 3 a race should be getting their stuff together.  Every year it starts 15 minutes late because not everyone is there on time.  By starting late, however, people think they don't have to get there on time.  It's always a delayed start but there's never a clear announcement about the new start time.  Or if there is you don't know because their speaker system is so bad.
  • Pink - Everything is PINK!  It's women's race but not all women love pink!
  • Port-a-Potties - NOT ENOUGH!  This is a WOMEN'S race.  Women pee.  A LOT.  I'm not sure if this race follows the 1:100 formula but they should probably go with a 1:50 formula.  The lines were super long.  But note that the Casino does have a few restrooms that you can use in a pinch.

One nice thing about the event is free photos.  Race photos can be expensive so it's nice to get them free at this event!  They took them at a few points around the island.

Did you run Women Run the D?  Tell me about your experience!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

On the Run: Run Wild for the Zoo 10K 2015

Run Wild always feels to me like the start of Fall racing season.  Although it's not quite Fall officially, it's mid-September and the weather is usually perfect - 50 degrees and sunny.  The course is tree-lined and leaves are just starting to change colors.  It's hard to believe that just the weekend before it was a muggy 80+ degrees for racing!

As I've said before, this is one of my favorites because it's always my anniversary race.  (8 years!)  I love going back to it year after year with lighter shoes and a faster pace.    Besides the nostalgic aspect of it, it's a beautiful course with some of the friendliest volunteers and course marshals I've seen.  

This year the race was extra special for a couple of reasons.  First of all, my 5th grade nephew Luka ran his first 5K.  He and I ran together over the summer to get ready for it.  It was so exciting to see him cross the finish line with Brian.  Yes with Brian!  For the first time Brian ran this race, too!  This is one of those races that I usually go to by myself but because he ran it with Luka, he was there to see me cross the finish line.  

I actually had a lot of people there to see me finish.  Because Luka ran his 5K, his parents and siblings were there.  The event was also a target race for RUNdetroit Flight Club so there were lots of friends at the end.  Most of them had already finished the 5K so they were there to cheer me on.

Definitely the most special part, however, was that I raced with my friend and RUNdetroit teammate Sarah.  Every step of the way.  

I hadn't planned on doing this race with Sarah.  She texted me the day before, saying she was going to sign up and would pace me for it.  Sarah wanted to help me get a PR.  I'm going to be honest here.  I FREAKED.  All these thoughts went through my head: 

  • I don't need help.  I just want to run my own race.  
  • She's faster than I am!  Why is she slowing down to run with me?!
  • I'm not fast enough.  What if I let her down?
  • I can't run that fast right now.  It's not in my wheelhouse.
  • I can't.  I can't.  I can't.

Thankfully Sarah knows me and knew I was freaking out.  All my crazy texts just rolled off her (at least I hope they did!).  I woke up in the morning with a calm mind and a fresh, positive perspective.  I realized that even though Sarah is faster than I am, pacing me WAS the race she wanted to run.  And the reason I was freaking out is because I was lacking confidence.  I was about to step outside of my comfort zone and that's scary.  It was time to be bold.  But I needed Sarah to help me.

Brian and I got to the race at 7:00 for parking and packet pickup.  There was Sarah.  We hugged and everything was okay.  We had a long time before our race at 9:00!  Plenty of time for multiple port-a-potty stops (which are always clean and have short wait times at this race).  We did a 2-mile warm-up with our friend Leamon and then finally took off our long sleeves and headed over to the start.  

As I said, Sarah and I ran the whole race together.  We chatted (she did more talking than I did) for the first 4.5 miles.  We waved to and thanked all the spectators and volunteers.  It was nice to catch up on life because we haven't seen each other as much lately as in the past.  I'm pretty sure we annoyed the men that we were passing along the way, seeing how easily we were talking and laughing.  But hey, we were having fun!

Around 3.75 miles in, Sarah commented that she really wanted to catch a guy ahead of us.  She could tell he was fading but I didn't think I had it in me to run any faster.  At the 4-mile marker she asked about pace.  I was happily surprised to see and shouted, "That's PR pace!"  It was a nice boost and I realized we'd nearly closed the gap between us and the dude ahead.  We rounded a corner and got closer.  We could hear him breathing.  He was checking his Garmin constantly.  This was it.  Sarah stopped talking, we pushed the pace just a hair, and we chicked him.  

I felt really strong for the rest of that mile but the last mile was harder.  I felt like I was going to puke.  Sarah must have noticed (or maybe I told her) because she started talking again to help keep me going.  At some point she told me that when we got to the finish line she was going to let me go first.  I said no, we needed to finish together.  I couldn't have done it without her.  Whatever happens happens.  So that's what we did.  Photo finish.

We tied.  40:27 for us both.  They gave me first and her second, though I'm not sure how that was decided.  My award was a gift certificate to Massage Envy.  I gave it to Sarah because she deserves it, earned it, and never treats herself to massages.  

Oh, and I got my PR!  I couldn't have done it without Sarah.  It's good to have a friend who believes in you when you don't believe in yourself.  That's what teamwork is all about.



Banana, CLIF Mojo - Peanut Butter Pretzel

And this guy always believes in me.  Thanks, Brian.